In the half a year (or more) that I’ve been away from here, things have slowly started to move in my life. For years I’ve been aiming halfheartedly and haphazardly at simplifying my life. This morning (while cleaning out a bookcase!), I had to laugh when I saw the collection of books on simplicity. There are more stashed in other locations. I can’t even remember what most of them are like. Were they helpful? I guess not particularly. If they had been I would have it all sorted by now….
About six months ago I came across a little mantra – Live the life you want to lead – and somehow it struck a chord and it stuck with me. Since then, with that in the forefront of my mind, I’ve been taking steps – some baby, some a little bigger – in the direction I want to go.
And it’s working.
I’ve taken a long hard look at my life and thought about what I really want and more importantly, what I don’t want:
- I love my job at the university, but would I rather work 60% than 80% and have a bit more time for me? Yes? I asked for it and got it.
- Do I want to get back to running regularly even though my betablockers make it really hard and give me a wee bit of asthma. Yes. I’m suffering but I’m getting out there 2-3 times a week and feeling proud of myself for trying, even if my running is rubbish!
- Do I really want to be church treasurer. NO!!! (did you hear how loud that one was?) I resigned, amazingly someone else volunteered to take over and my last day is Sunday with the Annual General Meeting. (Did I tell you how happy I am about this?)
- Do I want to have less clutter? Yes! Every day I do a tiny bit of sorting out. Even if it’s only recycling old magazines that I probably won’t ever look at again. I haven’t had any really major purges anywhere, but just slowly and steadily reduced. OK, so no-one else in the family has noticed the difference. But I have. And with it has come a feeling of lightness and freedom.
- Was I happy about being a helicopter mom and always worrying about my children and interfering in their lives – did I achieve anything? No! So I am slowly learning to let go, let them fly (they are grown-up after all), make their own mistakes….I think our relationships are better and nothing too horrible has gone wrong so far.
- Did I need help with managing my mother and her dementia from a distance? Yes. Did she want help? No? Does she like help now she has it? Yup, she loves it! And I get a whole lot less worked up about things!
I suppose I realised that nothing would change on its own. I had to start to take steps to make it the way I wanted it. Even if they are little steps and it takes forever, I’m going in the right direction.
I’m taking time to stop. To read, to sit outside and soak up some sunshine when there is some. I’m enjoying a nice coffee and a walk in the old town. I’m going to see films and meeting friends. I’m doing a lot of yoga and feeling all the better for it. I’m slowing down, walking instead of taking the tram, watching TV and knitting in the evenings sometimes instead of always being busy.
It isn’t a life that will set the world on fire. I’m not going to run a marathon or write a best-selling novel. I have nothing to prove to anybody. I’m happy in my own skin and my little life is nice. It’s simple and it’s really nice. And that’s OK.