I watched a documentary on HBO about minimalism and was truly inspired. It wasn’t so much the idea of living with bare minimal but the idea that we are mistaken when we feel an abundance of material things will somehow bring us more happiness.
I set out the next day and cleaned out the clutter, the excess. I still have a ton in true minimalist terms, don’t get me wrong. But getting rid of that little bit of extra really did change me. It’s been about a month and I truly do feel liberated. My home is more organized. There is less wasted time looking for things. And I can just focus on being happy.
So now I’ve started to think about how I can mentally become a minimalist. How can I not clutter my mind with wasted worries? How can I train myself to only fill myself with ideas and thoughts I value? This is much more difficult than cleaning a closet!
Time will tell, but I already know making this change is something that needs to be done and that I value.
The zoo inside my brain has opened and the animals are running loose.
The boa found his way to my heart and is wrapped around it firmly.
The gorilla sends vibrations through my head as he beats his chest so loudly.
I tell the alligator to keep my jaw clenched tight, for if he doesn’t I fear who I may bite.
And just when I think the whale will spout his tidal wave of tears.
They all decide to simmer down and suddenly disappear.
I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud of the progress women have made over the generations. I also cannot wait to see what is in store for my daughter who at a mere age of two has so much more progress and experiences to have as she grows into a woman. But I also feel conflicted about it all.
I feel conflicted on a daily basis on how to give the best of myself both at home and in my career because I am passionate about both of these roles. But no matter how much passion and devotion I give, I continuously feel as though one must take the back seat for the other on any given day. How do I justify coming home to that beautiful baby girl and telling her mommy needs to do more work after I’ve been gone all day, and she’ll be asleep in 3 hours? But if I don’t research that reading practice how do I tell the teacher it’ll be one more day before we can discuss the struggling student in her class? And the reality is I need my sleep. God bless the people who don’t, but I do so at some point I can’t do it all.
It all just seems so overwhelming at times. Exciting-yes, but almost unachievable. I do believe that as women were given more respect and rights in the work realm, we never did lighten our load of expectations for the home front.
Home-cooked meals (organic of course)-check.
Laundry done, folded, and returned to drawers-check.
Pinterest-themed birthday party with bells and whistles planned-check.
Pay the bills, sweep the floors, plant the flowers….check.
Shower myself?….I guess that’ll have to wait….
I sit back at night feeling accomplished but sometimes I wonder where does my true happiness lie? Will it be in landing that administrative job I aspire to get someday? Or will I be content never reaching the top of the ladder, but being home to attend to my family as much as possible? Will my daughter reach her own adulthood aspiring to be just like me or taking the other road I chose not to travel?
There’s something inviting about the calm of five a.m. I enjoy noticing every creak of the floorboards as I tip toe my way to the kitchen. I enjoy turning on just enough light to measure out the heaps of coffee grinds to start the day. There’s something so peaceful about the whirring of the dryer as I turn it on to release the last few waiting wrinkles. I plop myself onto the soft cushions of the sofa in the back room and take a deep breathe, hold it in for a moment and slowly exhale.
My breathe is new and warm and full. I sit as still as I can, legs crisscrossed, and taking another large inhale, close my eyes and strain my ears to listen. Listen for what the quiet sounds like. Listen for the steam rising from the freshly made coffee. The rumble of the furnace starting its day. The chipmunks rustling through the bushes for their breakfast munch. And at last the sound of “mama” through the adjoining wall beckoning me. I smile softly and begin the bustle of the rest of the day.
The world swirled in waves of green, yellow, blue and white as I spun like a top around the summer lawn. My arms splayed out to each side and something about this place welcomed me to stay. Around and around I spun. The light glimmered through the trees. Around and around. The birds seemed to be singing a tune just for me. All my senses seemed so alive and the energy buzzed through every limb of my small body. Yet, as I tumbled to the earth below I had never felt more at peace. The day was normal and special in all the right ways.
This is my second year participating in the SOL Challenge, and this year more than last, I’m appreciating and reflecting on the fact that it starts the day after my birthday. It somehow feels cleansing and more meaningful to start the first day of a new year of life reinventing myself through daily writing. I feel empowered and excited and definitely a little less nervous this time around.
Over this past month I’ve found myself prepping for my writing entries and realizing how I need a notebook to jot down my thoughts at any given moment. Without the challenge even starting yet, I’ve realized that as a teacher I’ve told my students that writing ideas can strike you at any moment, but unless you really integrate the idea of being a writer into your daily lives, you can’t appreciate that it really is true! On my way to work, walking down the hall, making dinner, awake at two o’clock in the morning have all become times where a thought, idea or phrase strikes me as a great kick off to a potential writing piece. Most importantly, I’ve learned that if I don’t write it down often times it becomes a vague, meaningless thought that doesn’t hold the original passion and vigor as it originally did, and the momentum is gone.
So I am excited to start up this challenge and continue to grow as a writer and as a teacher through my reflections about the writing process. Here goes nothing!
As I start to write after far too long of a hiatus, I’m reminded of my closet door this morning and how it ached and complained each time I pressed open its hinges and it fought against the breeze of the ceiling fan. It begged time and time again to be left alone, closed and undisturbed.
And as much as I love writing, after the siesta of summer and endless other excuses of a busy life, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m feeling very much like my closet door. The insecurities are seeping back to the surface, and I’m struggling against this internal conflict-to write or not to write. So here I am, pushing against the uncomfortable coolness of my thoughts and writing-something, anything. And with each stroke of the computer keys I’m feeling a little more comfortable with being open and beginning this process again. I love writing.