Heritage locations that showcase how life used to be lived can be a great reminder of just how far we have come. It’s also a reminder of how much simpler life used to be. People didn’t have computers, smart phones, or even robotics to help do their jobs. They used good old muscle power.
I spent the day at one of these such sites this week. I like to visit places like this alone and truly immerse myself in the sense of what it was truly like at that time. Why? Because I hope that the reminder will help me to appreciate what we have now. Also, to remind me that we don’t need everything we have in this modern life we live. It helps reinforce my minimalistic lifestyle and appreciate what I have and use daily even more.
We live a good life. We don’t plow the fields with a horse drawn plow anymore. Most of us don’t even have a need to grow our own food, so if we do, it is more of a hobby than a necessity. Imagine the wonder that our ancestors would have had if they were told that growing food would become a hobby!
We are beyond fortunate. We are spoiled with having immediate gratification. Taking time to remember this perspective is grounding. I am grateful for the reminder.
We all get into a funk from time to time, don’t we? I did this week. I had some changes occur in my life and I know I wasn’t responding to them in the most positive way. I knew they were coming, it wasn’t as if I was blindsided. I knew. I was just…sad. Sad for the changes because it wasn’t what I was wanting or looking for or even hoping on.
But it happened anyway.
Sometimes change can be difficult, particularly when we do not embrace it. It is ok. We are all allowed to be a little sad, or a little depressed, or in that funk. I think the most important thing to remember is that when we do, we should acknowledge those feelings. Let them be present. Sit with them for a while, then let them pass on their merry way. Without sadness, we do not know happiness. Without the storm, we can’t recognize the calm.
Don’t be sad that it’s over, smile because it happened. Who said that? Dr. Seuss perhaps. It is a good mantra. I will try to not be sad that it is over. I am smiling because it happened. I am pleased to have experienced it all and created the connections I did. Some things are in our lives for a purpose, no matter how short the period is. They are all significant in creating us who we are.
Onwards and upwards.
There are days where I have so many topics that I want to write about, and there are others where I sit at my computer with white page syndrome. I have nothing. Nothing wants to come out. Nothing wants to be told. Nothing is tearing at the seams, dying to be sent out to the world.
Today, there is much that I could tell you. So many things have happened this week. It’s been a week of trials. Of endings and of beginnings. It has been a week of reconnections and of goodbyes. Tears and smiles.
But at the end, sitting here on a Sunday morning with my coffee and keyboard, it has been a week ending in peace.
There are times where that roller coaster of life takes you up and down at immeasurable speed. It can flip you upside down when you’re not prepared for it, and it can take you through corners where you feel like you just might fall off the rails. But at the end, it always gently coasts you to a stop at the end of the ride.
That has been my week this week. Sometimes it feels like the whole month or maybe the year has been that way. Maybe life in general is a roller coaster ride. What it does for me is it helps me to reset. It helps me to see that even if at one moment, I am in that seat, upside down and hanging onto the harness for dear life, that it will come back to being right side up, and I will gently roll back to the point where I need to be before the ride starts all over again.
The other day I went to visit my doctor. As usual, he asked how I was doing and if I was seeing anyone. My doctor likes to keep tabs on me since he knew the issues that occurred before and during the divorce. He always asks how my children are coping as well.
Am I seeing anyone? No, not really. But do I want to be? Well, that got me to thinking. Then the next day I read a brief article on the benefits of being single. That got me thinking even more. There are a lot of benefits to being single. You are the only one spending your income, so you choose where it goes. You decide if you use a credit card for a high-cost item or if you decide to save up before purchasing it. You decide how to pay off debt (like divorce debt), and how you allot your dollars. You decide how to decorate your home. Are you a minimalist or do you like to fill your home with things? Your choice. You decide if you want a pet, and if so, what kind? Do you want to travel? Where do you want to go?
Here’s the best one. You become utterly and solely you. When in a relationship, partners tend to pick up on certain pieces of the other partner’s personality. Quirks, sayings, behaviours. These things tend to blend. The dominant personality tends to overshadow the less dominant personality. You essentially become the same person. However, when you choose a life of being single, you know that who you are is simply you. And that is a good feeling.
Spring is here, relatively speaking. There is still snow melting, but the days are longer, and the sun is feeling warmer as it peeks through my windows. It’s a time for regeneration. Spring cleaning has already begun in my house, although I find it rather unfair to call it spring cleaning since I attempt a deep clean every season, and often get ahead of myself when I am waiting for spring to arrive.
Spring is that time of year where I feel like second chances are possible. Perhaps it is a time to rekindle a friendship that didn’t weather through the winter very well. Or it can be a time to reinvent my style at home, redecorate or rearrange the furniture. Maybe a time to reinvent myself just a little bit.
Spring brings me happiness. I love the green grasses that start peeking out. My first tulips that seem to be in a hurry to show their faces to the world. I love the Easter feel of renewal; the pastel colors and fresh beginnings. I love that the bikes can come out of storage and wake up from their sleepy six months of snow inhibiting activity. There are more people out walking their dogs, and you can see neighbors that have been hibernating for months just as we have.
In just a few short days, April will be here. With April brings a concentrated writing camp that I am looking forward to participating in. This is just another piece of my personal growth, and I am very much looking forward to it. It is one more way I plan to grow this year. I hope you will enjoy your spring as much as I intend to enjoy mine, and I hope you find ways to grow yourself.
There is something spiritual about having friends who are like-minded. Ones that can finish your sentences just because they know exactly what you want to say, or ones that can read you in an instance and just know that all you need at that exact moment is a hug. Until I experienced it, I did not know it existed just like that, and it amazes me how quickly that bond can develop. It’s as if something was lined up in the stars to make it all happen. Sometimes it makes me miss my beautiful, dearest soul sister even more because we have that same bond even with two thousand miles between us, but to feel it almost every day is a blessing.
There is something to be said in sharing each others joys and sorrows. The pains and celebrations. The unspoken words and language that can be said only with that look in one’s eyes. This is the joy I had been missing all of my married life. I am grateful for my new beginning. My freedom from that controlling, manipulative man I now call my ex. My free spirit that was once just a ghost in a dream has been given permission to come out to play, and she has found more soul sisters to be with.
And I am, for the first time in a truly long time, happy.
I have had a week where I was able to spend time doing the things I enjoy. There were still things that needed to get done, like take the little ones to school and make dinner, but I did these things in a way that I preferred.
We walked to school, which is a convenient 5 minute walk. We brought the dog both ways. We didn’t need to use before and after school care this week, and that made a huge difference in how much time we had to do things together and the free time they had without having homework or meal time. Our days suddenly gained a lot of time.
We made meals that were fun and delicious with organic whole foods that were deliciously vegetarian. Dinner became a joy instead of a chore.
It’s amazing how the simple things take on more enjoyment when you have time. Less stuff means less to clean. Less to own means less to owe. This gives way to freedom. The less you need to work to pay the bills for the stuff you need to clean. Seems pretty straightforward, no? With less, you can do more of what you love.
How do you decide who is worthy of a second chance in life? How do you deem the worth of one’s value?
I know this is far too broad a topic, and extenuating circumstances will change the outcome for many people, depending on what the situation looks like. But in general, are we programmed to cut people off or to continue to give them chances to succeed? Where do we draw the line for our own mental or physical security?
This has nothing to do with past relationships that are creeping back in, although I know that is often where people tend to consider the second chances coming into play. I am taking this as a much broader topic. Think about reformed drug addicted individuals, gamblers who no longer gamble, military personnel who have come back from deployment with severe PTSD, or the teenager who has tried to take his/her own life.
It seems to me that the majority of the topics that I have considered have a mental health component attached to them. Whether it is an addiction, or there is something else happening that causes mental unwellness, the bottom line to me is that it is an illness. There are so many stigmas attached to mental illness, and that in itself is a hurdle to conquer. Mental illness needs the same care and attention as physical illness.
Do people suffer the same lingering prejudices if they had pneumonia, broken bones or even cancer as those who have ADHD, bipolar disease or schizophrenia? Generally, no. Why? Because if it is a physical ailment, people can visually see that the individual is better. But with mental illness, it takes trust and a leap of faith to believe that the individual has healed or is under control.
Trust. Faith. Support.
Everybody is worthy of a second chance. Particularly those who have realized their need for help and sought it out. Why should they be shunned for this higher level thinking? Because they have identified their own need? It could happen to every one of us in some form or another. Life is full of second chances. You may be that second chance for someone who needs it.
Is there such a thing as just an ordinary girl? As I observed the women’s marches that had occurred yesterday and viewed the posts in social media, I realized just how diverse we are. So what is ordinary anyway? I feel like there is some 1950s-eque stereotype that is attached to the words ordinary girl. You know, the type who has the house clean, dinner ready, and standing at the door waiting for her dear husband with pipe and slippers in hand.
Those days are gone.
What I see now is everything but ordinary. I see women working as welders and carpenters. Artists, doctors, dentists, marine biologists, paleontologists, corrections officers. I see body builders and make up artists.
The only common thread I see is that we are all different. We all dance to the beat of our own drummers. I believe the ordinary girl is no longer. We are all uniquely individual, and I think it’s wonderful. We are all strong in our own right, just as it should be.
There is a lot of discussion about Minimialism, particularly since the documentary about Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (http://www.theminimalists.com) came out. It really isn’t anything new, but perhaps new to the masses who are caught up in commercialization.
I have been on my in and out journey through minimalism for years and years. I know that I do feel better when my life is uncluttered. I feel stress and anxiety when there is too much stuff in my house and in my life. And I could suspect that you feel the same too, whether you recognize it at this moment or not.
I look at minimalism as a component of simplification of one’s life. I think simplification truly is an art to achieve these days, what with all the social media and marketing proclaiming how we need this and we must have that. Why you’re just not important if you don’t have x, y, and z. I call bullshit. We don’t need any of that stuff. The big corporations need us to want that stuff. The CEOs who make six, maybe even seven figures a year because they have convinced the masses that all this stuff is necessary in our lives.
They’re wrong. So very very wrong. We don’t need all that crap. We don’t need to have the latest and greatest phone or computer. We don’t need to spend a million dollars on a house just because that is what is expected.
What we need is to live within our means. What we need is to be comfortable saying no to consumerism. What we need is to spend more time with family and loved ones. To spend time enjoying life without worrying about debt or clutter or how popular we are or how many friends we have and how we compare financially. We need to get back to basics. To live simply in all aspects of our lives. To find joy everyday in the little things and be thankful for the chance to be here…the chance to wake up in the morning. Not everyone has that same luxury.
Life in its simplicity is finding joy in the small things. Recall that motto I posted a while back? Life is lived in the mundane. Let’s live.