My approach to life this month has had a definite theme – let it go.
As someone with perfectionist tendencies, June was both a challenge and a triumph. There was a lot to do and it wasn’t going to get done to my usual high standards.
At home, that meant accidentally leaving things off the shopping list and lunch boxes without the usual homemade goodies. At work, it meant submitting messy first drafts that actually read like messy first drafts. In the end, nobody starved and all deadlines were met. But that wasn’t the triumph.
Some of you may have picked up that I’ve been a bit absent around here lately. I decided to take a bit of a rest.
We had some very sad times as our dear wee kitten Lenny passed away. He was a very special young cat who became a big part of our family so quickly. For a few weeks, the only post I could have written was a whole page of “I miss Lenny”.
At the same time, I took on a big piece of work in a new subject area. My brain hurt. With the new work came a new, more demanding schedule and I needed to recalibrate my usual routines. I just didn’t have the bandwidth for blogging.
I took a different approach than I would of a couple of years ago. Rather than letting the words “do blog” languish unchecked on my to-do list and feel guilty about it, I got real. I looked at the time and energy I had available and made a choice to hit pause. Instead of feeling bad about not blogging for six weeks, I’ve been looking forward to getting back to it for six weeks. Big difference.
And just like that, summer exits and chilly autumn mornings arrive. While I enjoy a slow summer, the season ahead it shaping up to be more of a test of my slow-living principles.
Last month, I mentioned my intent to do more to lessen my environmental impact. So as not to feel overwhelmed, each month I plan to set myself one small action to incorporate into my life.
A big thank you to all the readers who said they’d like to join me in giving this a go. I’ve set up a Facebook group – Small action, Big difference – where we can support each other and share our progress. The idea is, we each pick our own action for the month, but you’re welcome to use mine as inspiration.
My action for March is one that’s been on my list to investigate for a while – buying packaging-free meat. I’m looking forward to getting started.
School is back and all of a sudden, it’s stifling hot – it must be the end of January. I’ve had a very chilled-out month, enjoying the school holidays and opportunity to forgo my usual routines.
After Christmas, we welcomed two new members to our family: Lenny (he’s black and white) and Holly (she’s the tabby). We’re enjoying getting to know them and watching them get up to all sorts of mischief. It’s like having a toddler in the house again.
The summer holidays were one epic staycation. We took advantage of the beach being only a stroll away. The wee guy went on a little holiday of this own to my parent’s farm. Mr More Time and I had three nights at home by ourselves. It was quite a shock to the system.
The only big “it’s easier without the wee guy” task we embarked on was clothes shopping. It confirmed that wandering around the shops is not a pastime I miss, not that I was ever a great shopper.
Looking back, 2018 turned out a lot differently than I expected. This time last year, I had just completed my first freelance project. From there, the work snowballed and I’ve had as much work as I’ve wanted. Sometimes more.
It’s been a great test for my slow-not-lazy approach. I went from working 10 hours per week to 30 and the wheels didn’t fall off. All year, I was nervous about taking on too much, scared I’d end up back on the hamster wheel – endless rushing, getting nowhere. There were occasional blips of busyness, but, for the most part, I remained calm and had time to enjoy life.
Wow, we’ve reached the end of November. I can’t say this is my favourite time of the year. As we move into December, everything happens at once, plus I do a lot more shopping than usual.
A year or two ago, we simplified our household finances. We now have two joint bank accounts – one for day-to-day transactions and one for savings. We have debit cards hooked up to the transaction account. It works well, but theee’s one downside to this simple set-up that comes into focus at this time of year – it’s hard to buy a present and keep it a surprise, especially if you buy online!
Summer is on the way. I can tell because I want to scratch my eyes out from all the pollen around at the moment. I’m pretty excited that the days are getting longer and I’m looking forward to getting back into regular evening walks.
September marks one year since my son started school. The time’s flown by, well apart from the first day. That first day seemed like the longest day of my life. Waiting and waiting to pick him up and find out how it went. I climbed up a bank so I could sneak a peek through his classroom window. I still love it when I arrive early for pick up and get to watch him doing his thing when he doesn’t know I’m there.
I am a bit bleary-eyed as I write this as I’ve just returned from Chicago. I took a short, impromtu trip to help out a family member. While the trip focused on practical matters, we also had plenty of fun.
I’ve visited Chicago before, so this trip was more about hanging out and appreciating everyday local gems than seeing the sights. I discovered Jeni’s ice cream and Dovetail brewery. I tried horchata and root beer for the first time. I ate at Chicago Diner and could do so every day and be very happy. But, the highlight was going to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, a smashing introduction to baseball … plus hotdogs!
What I like about the whole sparking joy thing is the acknowledgement that our attachment to stuff isn’t purely rational. What I don’t like is some of the practices I’ve seen it lead to – what I categorise as rampant updatism. Like getting rid of all your towels, which, until yesterday, were perfectly functional, but now no longer spark joy and must be immediately updated to something more joy sparking.
Well, this month I did some updating of my own and it sparked a ridiculous amount of joy. We have new bar stools and every time I glimpse them I smile. I’m now considering updating something else. Is this the beginning of the end?