No More Stuff

In the last several months I’ve become hooked on minimalism.

I’ve always loved travelling and having experiences, and whatever stuff I collect have to be unique to those experiences.

However, over the years, I’ve kept a hold of a lot of things for various reasons. Some, for sentimental reasons, some because I believed they would eventually be useful, and others because I would feel bad about throwing them away even if they were broken because I felt it would be wasteful.

Then, it all came to a head.

One morning, I had been especially stressed. I’d had multiple flip outs the past week, I couldn’t seem to make any head way in unpacking and putting together our house. It had been a good six months already and we were still drowning in things without a “home” that just cluttered every surface we had. The stuff was an ever present mental trigger for me, and it would send me into spirals of anxiety attacks and freak outs.

So on this particular day, I was tired, frustrated, and so incredibly done with working hard all day and accomplishing nothing but shifting piles of belongings from one space to another. That was when I came to the realization… I didn’t need all of it. I didn’t have to keep the stuff. If I wasn’t able to clean my house in one day and have everything put away in that time, I had too much stuff.

I didn’t broach this new discovery with my husband until we were in the car the next day. He agreed with me right away, and I grabbed a hold of this new found plan we agreed upon to half our possessions and began what I do best when hooked on a new project or goal. I researched it.

I looked up videos on youtube, documentaries on Netflix, books at the library. I dove in with an absolute passion. This idea of not owning a lot, and what we would own would only be things we truly loved or used on a regular basis, was inspiring to me.

I was not raised to have an obsessive need for stuff, I did not grow up with a “if I want it I need it so I’ll buy it” mentality. I was raised with a buy secondhand, recognize a good deal, and waste not want not mentality. But I found that I hadn’t come to a balancing point between spending little, saving what’s useful, and being able to recognize when things are no longer useful, will never be useful, or that it’s not a good deal if you don’t need it.

I especially struggle with this because my husband and I are in a constant struggle of making enough. We have variable incomes, both going to school, so it’s really tight almost constantly, and it’s so hard not to splurge on some things we “need” for the house on a month we make a decent amount. Especially if it’s also on sale.

You may recognize the term minimalism from all the hype and hoopla lately. Between Marie Kondo, The Minimalists, and the Tiny House movement, the term has gained a lot of attention in a very short amount of time.

The first thing to realize about minimalism is it has a lot of different meanings, and therefore is a very personal term that means something different to everyone.

For some, it is white walls, three chairs, a table, and not much else.

For others, it’s replacing cluttered space full of heavy curtains and Knick knacks with open concept and shelves, and green living plants in the corners.

For some it’s about focusing on the hobbies and not the supplies, for others coming closer to nature and experiences versus collecting.

For me and my husband, it’s first and foremost a survival thing I think.

We got to this point because the amount of stuff we had and were trying to house in our small two bedroom (technically three, but third bedroom is an office, so…) was in-housable and giving me mental fits and anxiety attacks.

It started as survival because the stuff that was supposed to help us survive was destroying me mentally, and this had a range of negative impacts on the rest of our lives.

So I told my husband one day,

“If I spend an entire day cleaning, and by the end it’s not clean, than we have too much stuff.”

He readily agreed.

Since that day, we’ve made at least 5 full car trips to salvation army, pitched an extra 6 bags of trash not including our everyday kitchen/bathroom trash, and have finally gotten to a manageable amount of belongings.

I don’t dare to dream this is it. Just this week I’ve once again purged my makeup and such to half its size. This will most certainly be an on going thing.

However, it no longer has to be an everyday thing. Now I can enjoy my home, and enjoy tweaking the “homes” of my belongings, playing with décor, and just enjoying actually being home without the weight of stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

What To Do

So my attempt at keeping a regular posting schedule died an inglorious death of rotting away and falling deep into the floorboard cracks of my forgotten little online home.

Oh well

Today I realized I have no idea in hell what I want to do.

I have a ridiculously long list of things I SHOULD do.

Call my new parish about registering as parishioners, call my marriage prep councilor, plan wedding, make hair appointments.

But guess what, surprise surprise, I don’t want to do any of it.

Which makes me wonder how do we distinguish what we have to do, what’s actually worth doing especially when we don’t want to do it, from what we just think we have to do.

Now, the majority of my list is actually pretty important stuff with a fast approaching deadline. But, it’s not an IMMEDIATE deadline…

I know, this is just sounding like a lazy 20 year old trying to justify her procrastination right?

Well guess what, my procrastination in the past has worked fairly well. Whether or not this is because of an over exhausted angel that probably would like to strangle my stupid neck for being, well, stupid if they weren’t so angelic., or perhaps a time set by God that I was supposed to being doing exactly that, I suppose I’ll never know.

But that is my question today.

When is it lazy procrastination, and when is it God simply trying to let you know “Hey, this isn’t meant for you right now. Do something else with your time, this will come later.”

I mean there is a precedence.

Remember Abraham?

God promised him that he would be the father of nations. And then made him wait for decades until he was very much an old man before bringing that about.

It was so long after this promise had been given that Sarah his wife laughed when she heard the angels who came to Abraham tell him she would bear a son. She laughed at God’s message because, quite frankly, it was coming very late and sounded down right ridiculous at that point in time.

Before all this though, Abraham tried to fulfill God’s prophecy of fathering nations himself, and had a son with his wife’s handmaid. Of course, this was Sarah’s idea, one she’d later regret as I remember the story. That all went very badly very quickly. God clearly had a set time in mind at which Abraham would have Isaac, and that was not a near future plan.

So what if when we feel really anxious or stressed about something, it’s not us that’s the problem? I’m not saying this is true for all times that are stressful. Some you do have to push through, but what if occasionally that little whisper we think is temptation telling us to put things off, is actually a gentle message from God saying “Wait for me”?

Is there a way we can tell the difference?

I haven’t the faintest clue, but boy I wish I did.

Today I am going to take it as a message from God that I’m supposed to relax, tomorrow I’ll work.

There’s an old saying that everything has its season.

I get a feeling today wedding planning is not my number one priority.

But now that makes me wonder what is.

What am I supposed to be doing?

 

 

 

 

 

Me First

This has been a really hard and new year for me. To be honest it been the year of “new”.

New life goals, new life, new home… lots of new.

Though some things seem to have fallen perfectly into place, others have been a series of trials and error.

In this time of experimentation and learning, I’ve learned a very important lesson.

Me. First.

I was recently working a really crappy job for less then minimum wage, on top of wedding planning, school, and a special physical condition.

I thought I could handle it, I needed money so I was convinced that working was my only option as I tried to juggle all these other commitments.

I was constantly stressed. wedding planning wasn’t getting done, I couldn’t concentrate on school, I felt like an outsider at work most days. My fiancé and my mother were constantly telling me to rest, and not to stress. They even tried to get me approval for a medical leave my health was suffering so much from this one stupid job.

In the end, I quit.

And it wasn’t until after that I realized I was a whole lot happier.

I was still busy with school and finals, and I still had an entire wedding to plan.

But I was a lot less stressed.

More importantly, I was happy.

I am so much happier.

And so I learned, with all the ups and downs my life has taken, I need to be happy.

I don’t have to rely on someone else or for the right circumstances, I need to make myself happy.

Even if it means giving up the extra $400 a month I was making, the money we’ll probably save on medications, both mental and physical, and just how much easier and nicer life is now that I can enjoy it again I think will make up the difference…

So this is my advice.

Put you first. Your health and your happiness.

Sometimes that may not be completely feasible, I know… but just find something, some small thing to make the days brighter and life a little more pleasant.

I Just Don’t Know…

As I’ve said I don’t know how many times in the past blog posts I hate not having control.

There is nothing more vile to me then having to utter with some genuine heartbreak, “I don’t know”.

And yet I know nothing.

Sure, I can do long division. I know the history of the American revolution. I know how Star Wars Episode 5 ends.

But I don’t know how to have the perfect life, how to have a life of no regrets and complete happiness. I don’t know… and that’s ok.

Recently I confessed to my mother something I’m still not comfortable discussing with others, even anonymously.

I thought she’d be mad and horrified that I’ve thrown my life away, or at least I’ve thought of it like that for months.

It turns out, even if she is mad, she can be very helpful sometimes.

Who knew a mom could actually be helpful huh?

I’m still trying to learn how to be happy again with a complete 180 happening on my life’s apart direction. It’s a struggle, constant and warlike in nature. Some days are harder than others, while once in a while I can actually find the strength to smile through.

I still have a long way to go.

But as it turns out I can get excited, even if briefly, about what lies ahead.

Sometimes giving up on one distinct course of life, even if it is solid, sensible, and safe, can set you up for a world of possibility. You just have to see the forest for the trees, and have the patience to find the one that whispers dreams and pleasant thoughts to you.

🙂

My Life So far

My life so far has been full of mishaps, misturns, mistakes, and missed chances.

But at the same time, it’s been full of joy, success, learning, growing, and change.

Still trying to cope with that last one, lol.

Today, after giving you a week to adjust to me, my writing style, and the things I like to talk about, I want to give you a closer look at my life.

It’s not all glam and joy believe me.

Once upon a time a little girl decided she going to fly fighter planes.

Or, more correctly, a high school sophomore realized in a panic she had no way of paying for college, no useful skill set, and no idea what she wanted to do with her life. So she decided to try to get into the Air Force Academy, then figure things out as she went.

After a summer vacation convinced her it was time to buckle down to work, especially if she wanted to get into one of the top engineering schools in the nation, she returned her home to her darling mother and told she wanted to go to a school that would put her in the military.

To my mother’s credit, she neither fainted, nor screamed, nor dropped anything breakable.

So, immediately after this the young girl joined this neat little organization called Civil Air Patrol. There, she learned she did have some interesting skills. She was good at military drill, at learning historical facts, studying leadership, making friends, and was the greatest perfectionist to ever join CAP.

Yup, the military lifestyle suited her just fine.

But after a long and arduous journey, nothing happened.

Ok, not true, a lot happened.

She met her best friend at a military prep school she got into when she didn’t get into the actual academy right after high school.

Then she had her heart crushed when she didn’t get in.

She tried to enlist in the Air Force, but couldn’t meet weight standards, so she gave the prep school another go.

And got her heart broken again.

So here she is trying something completely different instead.

She’s getting married.

That’s right, somewhere in between a college breaking my heart and trying not to flunk Calculus I started a long distance relationship with a guy I met through Civil Air Patrol (funny how those things go).

It’s been two years since we’ve met and now he’s moving out to live with me and my family.

I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, and I’ve by no means told you everything, but It’s kind of exciting to see where things will go.

In the mean time though, I’m going to enjoy this very sparkly engagement ring on my finger and keep hoping and praying for the best, while trying not to stress about the worst.

“You will be secure because there is hope; you will look about you, and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.” Job 11:18-19

 

 

 

 

Childhood Memories

Cappuccinos.

Homemade Cappuccinos.

Well, I suppose the way my mother made them they were more like mochas. She always put extra sugar and chocolate syrup in for us little kids.

I would feel so grown up on Sunday mornings as I sipped my espresso beverage from my tiny mug that matched my Mother’s tea set.

I learned to count to twenty those Sunday mornings while one of my parents ground the coffee beans for the cappuccinos.

It was as much a part of our routine as church services.

Though admittedly a tastier one.

Now that I’m old enough to make my own, I always get a warm feeling inside recalling how this love bordering on an unhealthy addiction started.

I can’t wait to have my own kids so that I can continue this ritual of the Cappuccino with them.

Including the tiny mugs.

🙂

What childhood memories have come to define your life, and how you will or do raise your kids?