I value quality time with those I love. Spending time together is worth more than any store bought gift, in my opinion.
This weekend was one of those weekends where we didn’t have anything pressing to do. Being a long weekend on top of it, we decided rather last minute to take a trip to the zoo. Since it is a three hour drive each way, we made sure to get up nice and early. We packed up the cameras, water bottles and music for the drive and away we went. We always stop for coffee and breakfast before leaving town. It’s just what we do. The kids eat while I drive, and I have my caffeine fix. Sometimes they fall asleep on the drive, sometimes we all sing along to whatever song is playing. Sometimes they read. It’s always enjoyable no matter what.
I’ve come to crave these little day trips. The adventure of getting away, of taking a trip unplanned. Just drop everything and go. Sometimes these are solo trips if the kids are not home that week, but I love the ones where they come along the most. It’s good quality time well spent. On top of that, my eldest had a chance to continue developing his photography skills in a different setting. He’s getting very good at it, and I am very proud of him. But there’s something to be said for getting away from home for just a little while. A change of scenery. A little excitement. Spending time outdoors, and believe me, we were out there walking around and enjoying the sun and the setting for a good five hours at least. These are the little things that they will remember as they grow into adults. These are the things I will remember as they grow up and move on to live their own lives. I will know that they will have those happy memories to draw upon. They will have that influence for how they might like to live their lives, and should they have children, to do what they enjoyed as kids for their own.
Quality time. I read somewhere that you have 18 summers with your children before they are grown. This is what I’m doing with my 18.
Creativity is a huge part of my world. I see my world through the lens of a photographer, remember things with a writer’s pen, and dream with a painter’s brush. My soul breathes creativity, and it warms my heart to know that my children have inherited that gene from me. While it sometimes breeds frustration when we cannot achieve the product that we have dreamed of in our mind’s eye, the process is still very important. As I watched my younger one crochet his own creations at the tender age of ten years old, he can see what he wants to create. He has taken my guidance and moved beyond what I have given him and created more…turned it into his.
What comes with this territory is frustration, upset, sometimes a couple tears, but then it ends in pure joy. The joy that you don’t get from buying an item, but one of soulful satisfaction for doing it yourself. It may not be perfect. It may not be the product envisioned, but it is a unique, one of a kind item that was created with love, determination, creativity, positive reinforcement, and joy.
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.
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.
With the days getting longer, I can feel spring is just around the corner. The sun is almost cresting the horizon as my alarm calls me to wake in the mornings, which makes it easier and more pleasant when I start my day. I am sure that many others feel the same way.
Winter can take a hold on us. Seasonal Affective Disorder makes it harder and harder to get through the day for many living in the northern hemisphere. I have discovered how it truly can affect our mood and outlook. It’s like a seasonal depression that you can feel being lifted with the longer days and warmer temperatures slowly returning to us. I have also found that taking the time for self care and physical exercise also helps quite a bit. It gives me a bit more energy even when I think I’m tapped out.
I take that as a reminder that looking out for our physical health is a key factor in our mental health also. It is a natural anti-depressant that helps me to keep going. So do what works for you. Go for a run, take a class, lift some weights, join a yoga studio. Meditate. Breathe. Accept yourself and carry forward.
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.
I have been fortunate enough to allow my heart to open and find people who seem to resonate at the same frequency as I do. It’s interesting how when life seems to be working against you, that truly, the Universe is aligning things for you.
Less than a year ago, I was competing for a position that I was certain I wanted. I worked endless hours, focused so intently on what I was doing to make that job happen. Even those I knew thought I was the best candidate for the position, yet it didn’t happen. I decided for extra insurance, I would apply for another position that came available at a different institution. Just in case. It was a similar job, but I still felt that this was maybe not as good as the original one I was vying for.
I succeeded in landing the second job. I can see now, in retrospect, how this was always the better choice for me. This is where I am happy. I feel my work is meaningful. I have the ability to celebrate accomplishments in a way the other institution didn’t accommodate for. I have met some incredibly amazing people that I would never have met before. These people have become a part of my tribe. I feel that I have been given permission, in a way, from the universe to be myself. To allow the true me to shine through. I hid behind the persona that I thought I needed to have. But in the end, it did nothing for me. I kept searching for the thing that was supposed to make me happy, yet I could never seem to find it. It wasn’t until I allowed myself to shed that protective layer and truly allow my own inner self to bare its soul that I found happiness, and others that share similarities with me.
So, thank you, Universe. I have never felt happier in my life.
This past week I spent a fair amount of time going back and forth to the library. I have discovered that you can borrow movies for free! Now, this isn’t something new, but I have never actually done it myself. I decided it was a good time to give it a try, what with my decluttering and minimalist outlook. Plus, I decided that in order to watch the movies, I have to spend at least an hour on my spin bike while watching one. So not only do I get to watch movies I wanted to see without having to pay for them, I am doing myself some good in the process.
I also borrowed some books for my bedtime reading. One book I borrowed was a “self-help” book called Unsingle. Honestly, not worthy of the time it took to read it. It is basically one girl’s experience of imagining having a boyfriend until one actually showed up. There’s your cole’s notes version. One out of five stars. However, this book is contrary to one of the movies I rented: How to be Single. Now, this movie starring Rebel Wilson, was hilariously funny at so many times. It showed the downside of being single when you so desperately want to be in a relationship. It also showed all the great things about being single as the main character came to terms with her unattached status.
I pondered both sides of things, but in the end, for me I am most decidedly single. At least unless the right guy comes along. I’ve had my share of users and abusers. The narcissist, the self-absorbed, the desperate. They have all taught me that there is some good in these experiences. Surely they have shown me what I want to steer clear of if nothing else!
Being single doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time alone either, ladies. I have developed some wonderful friendships that provide so much happiness! I have the freedom to be friends with other women and with men…something my ex-husband absolutely would not have “tolerated”. And I have to say, I love it! There is no expectation of putting out after an evening out. No commitment to have to get together every Friday night. I can do what I want. Sure, Valentine’s day is coming up. Guess what? I have a date and I will be going out. One of my single girl friends and I have a date with each other, and it will very likely be the best Valentine’s day I will ever have!
So, to those who are sad or feeling depressed because you’re single with the upcoming so-called most romantic day of the year, try and take a look at it from the other side. You have everything you need inside yourself already. Take yourself out on a date! Buy yourself flowers and candy if you like. Happiness comes from within, never allow someone else to be the reason for your happiness.
Be happily single.
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.
In the aftermath of the holiday season, I find myself pleased with the quiet. Comfortable with the clean and open space once the decorations are put away for the year, I find this is the time of year where I start looking at and resetting my goals for the year. This is the time of year when we look at where we have been, where we should be going, and how are we going to get there. It isn’t always an easy answer either.
I have a few goals for this year, none of which I plan to post publicly. Each of these goals has a plan of how I hope to achieve them. I have plans for accountability to myself, and follow up lists to ensure I stay on task. January is a time of renewal for me, and this is part of the process that I tend to go through.
Who else does this? What is your January like?