Friday, August 21, 2009

Simply Happy

“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”- Charles Dudley Warner
We've survived our first week back from vacation, and boy, was it a doozy. Not only did I have to tackle all the work waiting when I returned (in addition, of course, to this weeks work as well), but we had to get the kids ready to start back to school. You all know what that entails-- new clothes, new shoes, school supplies, haircuts, robbing a bank to pay for it all (I kid, I kid!). I had planned on doing this all the weekend before we left, but due to Jalyn coming down with strep, we were confined to the house and unable to take care of these chores. I'm proud to say that we made it-the kids got to school, my work got all caught up, and I'm still standing.
But if I must be honest, I am feeling very nostalgic. Bittersweet even. Sad, to an extent. I miss vacation. I miss the 24/7 with the ones I love, doing whatever we want to do. I miss watching my husband grill delicious food every night, never having to worry about what to make for dinner, or getting everyone into bed at a decent hour. I miss the way my kids were insanely happy to not only be doing fun things, but to be doing them with Mom and Dad. I know those days won't last forever, and I'm struggling daily to remember to live in the moment and enjoy them. When I tried to nail down in my brain why I've been feeling this way, one word jumped to the front of the pack, lit up like a theatre marquee, followed by many exclamation points:

Vacation life was so simple. We had just enough clothes to get through the week. We had four plates, four cups, four sets of silverware. Two heavy blankets for each bed. Four bottles of water that we just kept
refilling. I think the only thing we had more than four of was towels. I was able to relax in this environment in a way that I haven't relaxed in a long, long while. I believe the last time I felt that way was during our honeymoon, when, you guessed it, we stayed at a cabin, where our lifestyle was very basic as well.
Although I like to consider myself an eternal optimist, I'm also a realist. I know that I can't escape responsibilities such as work, bills, school, etc. But I also know that I don't need all these possessions in my life to get me through the day. Every time I walk through our house, I just stall out. I get exhausted just thinking of everything that needs to be done. I can't even remember the last time I fully relaxed. What a sad thing to say about my own home. There's just too much. Too much paper. Too much furniture. Too many clothes everywhere. Too much...well... for lack of a better word, shit. The realist side of me fully comprehends that living in a home with two children is never going to be perfectly uncluttered or clean. But the older I get, the more my need for less clutter, aesthetically pleasing items, organization and calming scents increases.
In my search for help in obtaining this simplicity I crave, I ran across a wonderful blog called Zen Habits. THIS article in particular, Simple Living Manifesto, really spoke to me. It is chock full of wonderful ideas, many of which I plan to implement in an effort to get my life, my home, myself in order. To give myself, and my family, the gift of simplicity. Because I know, in the deepest depths of my being, that a little simplicity would go a looooong way to making me a better wife, a better mother, a better me.
What about you? Does anyone have any words of wisdom, nuggets of advice, pearls of ideas to share? And while I wait for your ideas, and contemplate my own, I'll stare at this photo and try to inspire myself to get off this computer and start simplifying!

white sheets Pictures, Images and Photos


shortmama said...

First...thanks for going to my guest post today and commenting, I really appreciate it.

Secondly, I know exactly what you mean. This is the exact reason that I started doing my home redo thing. I felt like there was so much to do around my house all the time and it was never getting fully done. I thought it would be fun to include other bloggers but really it was all for me...the motivation I needed to get shit done. Instead of holding on to things that I might use "someday" I got rid of it. If someone I know couldnt use it then I donated it to Goodwill. I also shopped at Goodwill spending low amounts of cash but buying things I love. I have reorganized cabinets, pulling stuff out or moving them to more logical places. When my bedroom gets done I will feel an amazing sense of peace. Too see less clutter around my house has given me that sense of ahhhhhhhhh.

chelle said...

If you feel like you have too much get rid of it! Have a garage sale, have the kids challenge each other who can purge the most and donate the toys/clothes/etc to a homeless shelter ... Sometimes less is more in life.

Cyndi said...

Ok, I fell in love with Zen Habits and that article in particular. Thank you so much for posting it.

I don't have any ideas or words of wisdom, unfortunately. My life could be a poster child for "too much" sometimes. I also feel overwhelmed in my own house sometimes. I feel much MORE overwhelmed out in the world though.

Jessica said...

Amanda: I'm almost too embarssed to do the Home Redo, LOL. I don't want anyone to see this place. It's horrible! I'm not kidding when I say I have three kids-- my husband does NOT know how to pick up after himself at ALL. It's really frustrating. Of course, I have way too much of some stuff too. I'm not going to place all the blame on him...just most of it, lol.

Chelle: I love the idea of a challenge for the kids. I'll see how that works out.

Cyndi: Glad you liked Zen Habits too! I plan on going back to it often to inspire myself.

Anonymous said...

That photo? A perfect study in simplicity.

Your post could have been typed at my house, except for the strep. It's amazing how much work it takes to recover from a vacation!

Three years ago, I chose a Word For The Year. It was "Simple." For a whole year, I stopped myself, took a breath and simplified wherever I could. I threw stuff out if I know I didn't need it, but I took photos first if there was *any* sentimental attachment. I simplified meal prep and cooking to fresh, easy ingredients. I tried to pick the important battles to fight and leave the rest to sort themselves out. We ate on paper plates every once in awhile. I made lists of things I wanted to accomplish for a week. If I went above and beyond, I added it to the list so I could cross it off! Made me feel productive. If I didn't cross everything off, I chose 2 or 3 to move to the next week and worked from there. I gave myself permission not to be perfect-too much pressure.

After a year, I wasn't perfect at living simply. But it was a habit that made me happy. It also made the splurges and grand events all that more special.

I can't wait to read about your journey as you define and find simplicity for yourself.