First off, I want to say that I am really pumped about the elliptical we bought.
With that being said, I made a mistake...well, several mistakes actually, and I have no one to blame but myself. I haven't felt this frustrated in a long time, and I let my frustration get to me.
If you can't tell, this elliptical is a beast, and I mean that in the most positive way possible. However, I didn't anticipate its size with the size of our home. I figured it would be no problem to fit it into our basement. That was my first error. Not only could it not make it down the stairs, but our ceilings are low in the basement and I didn't even account for that. Error number two.
My third error was thinking that it would look okay in our living room. And that was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Here I am, someone who loves living a more simple life and I caused a colossal complication. It was an overwhelming fail, and I did what I always do when I feel completely overwhelmed.
I didn't cry out of regret for buying the elliptical, because I know it will add value to my life. When I think about making a purchase, I somehow end up with Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists) inside my head saying, "Will this add value to your life?"
I cried, because as I continue to pare down what I don't want and need, I added a large piece of workout equipment that really didn't have a physical place in our home.
But then my husband and I talked it through and we found a place, a place that is definitely a good spot for it. Unfortunately for him, he now has to share his man cave in the new garage to make room for my workout space. Good thing we like to hang out together, because it appears as if I will be hanging out in the man cave a lot more.
All mistakes have a silver lining, thankfully.
I feel conflicted when it comes to the post-Christmas clean up.
I feel a little sad that the holidays are over in the sense of time. The decorations go up just after Thanksgiving and spread holiday cheer throughout the house for just over a month. The house is filled with bright lights and the scents of evergreen candles and baked goodies.
Our adult children are around more. We aren't in a rush. We enjoy hanging out together playing games that make me laugh until I cry. We drink wine and beer. We toast our wonderfully amazing lives.
And then Christmas is over, and it's time to get back on track with work and the routine of life.
While I feel somewhat nostalgic as I pack away the essence of the holidays for another 11 months, I also begin to feel a surge of anticipation. After I pack totes and put them safely into storage, I dust and clean. I move some items around the house to give it a fresh appearance. I get rid of some things that are no longer used or needed.
It's a shedding of the old to make room for the new. New doesn't mean buying more stuff. It means reshaping the stuff we already have. We can move it into a different room or simply shift items from one area of a room to another. We can also shift furniture around to give a room a facelift. We can get rid of stuff that is cluttering our space.
So even though I felt a sense of sadness as the outward appearance of the holidays left, there was a tremendous sense of excitement as well. And I think that's completely okay.
We all need an area to call our own. It doesn't have to be spacious. It just needs to be our own.
Some of it has to do with our identity. When people come into my area, they instantly know it's mine because it represents my personality.
I have a desk that I repainted as a project in my favorite color blue with chalkboard paint on top. There are two art blocks: one that says, "13.1 been there run that" and the other, "Let it snow." I'm a runner and I love winter. There's also a canister with pens and highlighters, my planner, and a writing book to get my creativity flowing that I got from my son. I also have business cards for Get To It.
The space practically screams my name.
And I use this it for a different purposes
1. I journal both paper/pen and using 750words.com. Sometimes I listen to music, and other times I enjoy the silence.
2. I organize and pay bills.
3. I sort out what my goals are for the week for Get To It.
4. Sometimes I sit in silence and practice mindfulness as the Spa Mist machine nearby puts out a lavender scent and trickling water to provide a calm environment.
5. I use it as a study space to read and take notes. I'm a little slow to the party, but I'm finally reading Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Workweek. I'm doing a lot of underlining and notetaking, and I'm only on page 42. This one is going to be a game-changer, I can already tell.
6. I write notes and cards to loved ones for special occasions or just because I want to let them know they are on my mind.
Sometimes we need to be able to get away to do our own thing, to create, to think, to dream. I call it a sanity saver. When the craziness of the outside world gets overwhelming, having my space reminds me that this is what I can control. There is so much outside of me that I have no power over, but this space is mine.
We all need that little corner of the world that we control, that is ours and ours alone.
I am well aware that I have already hit the lottery. Not in the "I just won millions of dollars" sense, but in the sense of the life I have been fortunate to have lived so far.
I won the lottery the minute I was born in this country, and I've been winning it everyday since that moment 49 years ago. I live where there is overwhelming peace compared to other countries. I live where I have freedom to express myself. I live where I can choose my occupation.
The United States is far from perfect, but there is so much to be thankful for and I know I take it for granted.
All I have to do to be grounded when I'm feeling "woe is me" is to take a look at a picture that was taken in 2003. It was the mission trip to El Salvador where we built a home for a family who had lost theirs in an earthquake in 2001. Their home for two years was basically living in a tentlike home that was little more than a tarp. The home we built for them was made of cinder blocks with no actual windows, a dirt floor, and no electricity or indoor plumbing. However, it was a major improvement from what they had.
Christmas gives me such a tremendous opportunity to reflect on all that I have: an amazing family, incredibly great health, a job I enjoy going to everyday, a wonderful home in a cozy village, a car to drive, food in the cabinets and refrigerator.
I can't think of a single thing I would want at this point in my life.
And in some ways I'm a little embarrassed by that. I have all my needs and wants covered. Yes, I'm trying to scale back on what I own, and even though I have made strides it has merely been a dent in what I want to get rid of. There's so much stuff that I have that I don't need and that someone else does need. That's the embarrassing part.
For me simplifying means living with less and being happier as a result. It means enjoying experiences, like working in the El Salvador heat and enjoying fresh pineapple during our lunch break. That was our dessert. The funny thing is, as a self-proclaimed sweet tooth, I don't remember missing sweets while I was gone. We didn't have them available, so they weren't there to miss. Funny how that works.
So, as I prepare to enjoy the holidays with our family over the next few days, I'm going to make a conscious effort to simply enjoy the experience of having time together. As the saying goes, it doesn't matter what is under the tree but more importantly who is around it.
The sound of trickling water, rotating lights illuminating the space, while a mist of lavender essential oil fills the air.
Talk about relaxing.
I've added this little spa mist to my writing workspace, and I can already tell a change that is taking place.
I feel more calm and relaxed. I'm able to write more freely and to think more clearly.
You wouldn't think that such a little gadget like this would have such a profound effect, but it does. I think it helps, because I believe in the power of simplicity, of quieting the daily noise, and of immersing myself in the enjoyment of this moment.
It's allowing me the chance to sit in quiet reflection without giving thought of what might be next. Right now there is no next, there is only now.
I think that's really hard to take in, because we live in such a rushed, on the clock society. So, when someone is relaxed without a care in the world, it might seem almost irritating. Until you personally try it, and then you get it. You get what it means to not rush from one thing to the next. To simply be in the present.
I get that it's a challenge. I used to be a charter member of the proverbial "rat race," but I'm changing that a little at a time. For me, a positive start has been a little spa mist that helps create the environment I want for myself. It's only a start, but it feels amazing.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.