Thursday, March 03, 2011
Minimalism and Simplicity
For those of you that check in here only to read about my triathlon lifestyle you can skip this post... all the rest of you... hey, WHAT'S UP!? Let's talk about another dimension of life... because contrary to popular belief I do have a life beyond, triathlon and the gym. :)
I've been working to clean out our house. Okay this has been a YEARS long process, but since moving to CT I've really started hitting it hard. I'm not sure what finally stoked this fire. Maybe I'm actually awake enough to notice the mess, maybe it's the fact that we spend a lot more time at home here than we did in Madison, maybe it's the looming hours of training and wanting to free up as much time as I can to be able to train then concentrate on my family and that's it, maybe it's the size of this house and the volume of stuff. I don't know exactly what the tipping point was, but it's time!
I've made more trips to the Goodwill in the last year than I can count on both my hands. I just did our taxes for 2010 and itemized... all told in 2010 we donated over $1000 worth of stuff... and most of the big donations (furniture, wedding dress - yes I dropped that thing at Goodwill bc it was easy, etc) were made after the New Year. In all honesty I couldn't really tell you what was in the $1000+ of things we donated. I don't miss it one bit, but it feels good to have some more space in the house.. space for thoughts and play and creativity. It's wonderful.
I'm really overwhelmed by both the size of our space here and the volume of CRAP we have. Crap that I am constantly tripping over and moving to clean (cause we all know I clean all the time - I DON'T. Just ask my mom.) Toys that the kids don't play with, but throw on the floor to get to the few that they do. Clothes they don't wear that also end up on the floor to get to the few things they like. And it's not just the kids stuff. Tom and I have plenty (or had) of stuff that we weren't using. I even got Tom to clean out all the clothes he hasn't worn pretty much since I've known him. HUGE accomplishment.
Right now I'm obsessed with finding a smaller space to live in. I know this part will take time (perhaps a long time), but it's what I want. We had 1600 sq ft in Wisconsin and it was perfect. We used every ounce of that space.
Along with all the stuff we're downsizing I'm trying to dumb down other areas of my life... meals, training, our daily schedules. Meals have become really simplified. Breakfast is usually oatmeal and/or eggs or toast, fruit and yogurt (for all of us), lunch is kinda like a picnic every day. Finger foods.. protein, carbs, fats.. easy peasy. Mine is usually dumped in a bowl in the form of a salad. Dinners are dumbed way down too.. veggies, protein, carbs (rice, potatoes, grains). You want a snack you say. Well you know where the fruit is or you can have a yogurt or nuts. All accessible to the kids and all only had w/ permission. No more "I'll prepare you a snack"... less time in the kitchen is good. Got a chicken in the crock pot for dinner... all I had to do was season it and put in that bad boy. Have sweet potatoes made and will steam or stir fry some veggies. I recently read an amazingly good 'parenting book' (I hesitate to call it that bc those words cause me to recoil and run for the hills as most parenting books do nothing more than make me feel inadequate and offer only complicated solutions that I know we won't follow through on) called The Blessing of the Skinned Knee (I need to write a whole blog post about this book.. it was that good). It's based on Jewish teachings (we are not Jewish), but is useful for non-Jewish families. One of the things they talk about is their weekly meal - I forget what it's called - and that they all pitch in to plan and execute the meal. We started this last week and it's great. We all do something to decide what we have (kids pick out our weekly dessert) and we all pitch in to prepare the meal and the table. This is when we can get more elaborate in our meals. We do this on Saturday so it can be nice and leisurely. And since I'm not tearing around trying to clean up all our crap I can help with everything and be calm.
I've been trying to figure out exactly what my strength routine is going to look like and I've decided that I'm dumbing it way down for now. Gotta start somewhere. Basically I'm going to do 2 to 3 rounds of the following to failure: push-ups, pull-ups (assisted when I need to which will be after approximately two pull ups), lunges, squats, plyometric jumps, plank and side plank. I'm sure I'll play around with other stuff here and there just bc I like to lift, but nothing crazy, nothing formatted and only for fun. And of course I'll follow whatever training plan coach comes up with once I get back to training. One more week... I'm ready for some structure!
All this said I was thinking today (while driving to Goodwill) about how getting rid of things sometimes makes me panic a bit. Why? Why do I panic a bit about getting rid of these things that suck me of energy, stress me out and generally just get in the way? And it popped into my head. FEAR! What? FEAR you heard me...
1. Fear that I won't have anything to fill the void with. That I'm just that boring and uninspired.
2. Fear that I WILL have time to spend with my kids. YES! I said it. What oh what would I do if I didn't have all my little 'jobs' to do? Will I fail at just hanging w/ my kids?
3. Fear that the promise that the space will open up in my mind as well letting great things come out. What if NOTHING comes out. What if I have nothing to give to the world? Could my life just be about the mundane bullshit I do to acquire and maintain all this crap?
I know all these things are just silly and unfounded... but it's what I was feeling at the moment.
Here are some great sites I've been checking out for inspiration and motivation:
Three New Leaves - I'm reading his free eBook right now and it's got some good stuff in it!
So my future contains way less stuff and hopefully way more memories and good times! :) What about you? Do you think you could stand to give up some things and open up some space in your world for great things to happen?