Bringing Vacation Home

Vacation. Just that word sounds wonderful. And it was. So many good things, family and adventure and good food. Sleep and photo taking and theatre. Subways and Central Park. Lush greenness of Omega.

But then it ends. I am back at work, back at home, back smack dab in the middle of my life. House overrun with clutter, groceries needing to be bought, traveling things still to be put away. But also, a nice walk last night with my podcasts. An adorable set of flannel pajamas Chloe and I made for her new American Girl doll that came out looking quite marvelous, amazingly. Chloe and Mia curled up asleep on opposite ends of the sofa under blankets, worn out from their sleepover last night. My basil plant grown huge and lush while I was away. A slideshow put together of our vacation photos.

So there are good things, definitely. But I so much want to find a way to integrate some of that vacation feeling into my life here. Driving to work yesterday I found my stomach clenched and the stress climbing right back into my body. And with good reason apparently because the day was quite difficult. I was right back into my hunger mode too; while at Omega I barely thought about food, other than when it was time for a meal. And then, I just piled a nice mix of healthy things on my plate, enjoyed it, and was finished. No overly full feeling, no worries about if I was eating too much or how many calories I'd consumed, no screaming hunger pangs between meals. 

Then there is the clutter issue here at home. I know the answer to that one...less stuff. Time to get back working on that--systematically going through things and purging again. I feel like grocery shopping will be a good start. The fridge is pretty empty; a chance to plan the week and just buy what we will use. I opened the bottom of the freezer looking for something this morning (that I never did find) and there must be ten kinds of ice cream and frozen treats in there. Now those I didn't buy, but it's an example. Makes me crazy. Don't even get me started on Chloe's room. That one is my fault as I've contributed just as much as anyone to the volume of toys.

I long for a simpler life. I think that will be my goal for now...to find ways to simplify. Ask myself before any decision or purchase, is this complicating or simplifying? And act accordingly. I also want to spend less money as that, too, complicates things. The credit card bills to categorize and pay. The money that we need to make in order to cover it all. I read about a good exercise in Martha Beck's column. Figure out exactly how much you make an hour, after taxes, and then ask yourself before buying anything, is this worth x amount of my time? Some money has been spent on wonderful experiences, like Hawaii and New York. But how much of it has been on things that we don't even remember? How many mediocre dinners out? How many pieces of clothing that I don't even wear? How much on the phone, the cable tv, the xm radio, the onstar, the newspaper and magazine subscriptions? Which of those things do we really value?

And then, work. How to simplify that? Part of it we've already committed to and that's having a smaller, more focused agency. Taking lunch breaks would help too...just taking a blanket and eating in the park, or taking a walk. Something to get up from the desk for a bit each day. Lasering our attention on what is most important, letting some other things go. Being mindful of doing the core things first, the tasks that lead to growth, and leaving the huge list of other demands for after. I may not be able to remove the big stressors (audits come to mind!) but certainly I can attack the day to day things that drain me. 

My task, then, is to simplify. To find what really matters and excavate that and let the rest go. To spend time on things that fill my soul and that nourish all of us. To stop and smell the basil.

Central Park Loveliness


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  2. We do our best to simplify. We put on the brakes and try to slow life down. To 'stop and smell the roses'.

    Sometimes we succeed in simplification. Sometimes we don't. There is no point in time when we can say 'life is simple'. It's a process. Sometimes sleepovers and husbands office parties and drycleaning and sick dogs get in the way.

    But we never really fail.

    Each moment, stressed and complicated or not, are the facets of our life. Sometimes they are fiery. Sometimes they are duller. But we are constantly creating our future, and carving out new facets. For me, every once in awhile, out of the chaos and messiness comes a 'big bang'. These big bangs are often special moments to remember and treasure or even a thought that changes my course. Those are the golden phoenix that arise from the ash of being tired or stressed or overworked.

    If there is any reason for stress to exist, it is for those moments that make your life's mission clearer, your wants and needs bolder. Without the bad, tired overworked moments, could we appreciate the beauty of childrens laughter at sunset? The smell of the jasmine in the heat?

    I use lists a lot to help simplify things. Stealing a few moments out in the garden when everyone else is asleep. Growing things. Having a cup of fresh sage tea (there's a reason it's called sage). Baking.

    But whatever tactics work for you, just remember that it's about nourishment. For you and your soul.

  3. Heather, I love everything about your comment. Especially the "big bang" idea. At the end of each day I review the best moments I've collected and that is a wonderful way to go off to sleep. Thank you for reading, and for responding so eloquently.

  4. Ah, simplification!

    There's nothing like moving all of one's stuff to realize just how much there is - way back in every cupboard, on every wall, in the yard, and the toy box, and ...

    I so appreciate your thoughtful look at where it starts, with buying. Taking a moment to decide what value something will bring and whether or not it's worth "committing" to. Knowing that there is no "away," that we can't throw anything away because it lingers forever in some space on the planet. Biodegradable, compostable, natural goods return value to the soil. Just about everything else pollutes in some way or other either in its creation or after its usage is through.

    While I am far from the eco-groovy hipsters at Humboldt State University's CCAT who use bike power to wash their clothes, grey water to irrigate their garden, and solar power to turn on the lights, I do strive to buy things that have optimum usage to dumpster ratios and, hey, maybe solar power will be next.

    For now, cheers to simplification, and as Heather so beautifully wrote, a Golden Phoenix to light up our way!

    1. Great to hear from you. Love the "cheers to simplification." I'm trying; a little each day.

  5. There are so many annoying things in the Taps UK, do not let the Bathtub Taps to chaos! Smoothly with the leader, often people do not feel it's there, but mainly with its spool, Pull Out Kitchen Taps, switch the way.


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