2019, A New Year of Possibilities
It has been a beautiful quiet morning. Sunny and breezy, April-like. Cuddled up and cozy, with my yellow labs by my side, I find the sound of their snoring soothing. The older I get, the more I treasure sacred morning time. I’m contemplating new possibilities.
I’ve become consciously aware of my innate need to clear away the clutter. Not just the clutter of objects at home, but also old emails, notes and photos on my phone. Facebook posts, constant notifications, and group threads have felt excessive too. It’s time to simplify life, to purge all that no longer serves, and create space for new possibilities.
2018 was a year of introspection. I followed through on my resolution for some much-needed downtime. I reduced my office hours. The workaholic within felt somewhat restless, as if I were skipping school. Often, I found myself feeling guilty instead of savoring my new found peace. In hindsight, the quiet moments allowed new ideas to incubate.
In the midst of solitude, I began to notice the numerous distractions and constant pulls I’d become lackadaisical about and how I had allowed them to deplete my energy. There was way too much going with the flow — saying yes to things too quickly, then dreading the events when they appeared on my calendar.
Free time is sacred. No more scheduling lunch dates only for friends to cancel the night before. This year, I’ll make myself available to folks who consistently do the same. We all have things come up and renege on commitments but when it becomes the norm, pay attention. Time is precious and I’m using mine wisely. Solitude is imperative in order to do the work God intends!
Dave Matthews sings a song, “Funny the Way it is” and I relate in this way;
In past decades I despised being alone. I’ve always been an extrovert and a social butterfly. I can recall sobbing as the loneliness of being single in my thirties often felt unbearable. Now, at 52, I long for solitude. Physiologically, my mind and body seem to require it. I’m glad I’ve made this shift!
How do we manage it all?
Work, children, being part of the sandwich generation — caring for aging parents, meal prepping, exercising, date nights, laundry, grocery shopping, the never-ending To Do lists, paying bills, chauffeuring kids to activities, assisting them with their homework, seeing extended family and friends. Just writing it feels exhausting!
Technology has isolated, consumed and demanded our free time. It has made us more accessible and aware of the circumstances in the lives of others. Sometimes a gift, yet often stressful as we simply are unable to be everything to everyone.
I reflect on my grandparent's simple lives. My grandmother preparing a meal. My grandfather arriving home from work at 5 pm, singing in the kitchen while he awaited a delicious homemade meal with his family. After dinner, we’d do the dishes, then take a long walk around the block. Seems easy enough, yet, life is so different. It’s a struggle to share a meal let alone remove phones from the dinner table.
I’m not a fan of being so accessible and visualize implementing a simpler way of life. We have choices and can decide on our own tipping point. Are we accessible and available as there’s some unspoken etiquette imposed in responding to every Facebook, Instagram post, Snap or text?
We can declutter our homes and our lives. Organize your time. Tend to your basic needs first, then consciously pick and choose what you bring into your life. Notice the invitations you’re accepting. Yes, you can edit the settings of your social media profiles and edit the terms of your life.
Be mindful, ask yourself if the behavior you engage in or choices you make will cause unnecessary stress down the road. Oftentimes we’re eager to please with the best of intentions yet we take on too much. In the midst of the self-imposed stress, we often neglect our own basic needs. Notice where your time and energy is directed. Ask yourself why you’re committing to things and better yet, implement the 48-hour rule and give thought to commitments as opposed to impulsively saying yes.
Less is More
- Marla 😊