in which I want a great deal less

One Stone Farm, NH

One Stone Farm, NH

September has been good- a time to rest, clear my head. There’s been less travel- a trip to north for Parents’ Weekend (already, really?), but other than that, it’s been quiet. I’m grateful for the break, the lull before the madness of October- Boston, Rhinebeck (OMG, RHINEBECK!!!), all of it. October promises to be a joyful, colorful, but busy month.

I’m focused, all of a sudden. Well, not completely focused— let’s not lie, I’m never completely focused, anyone who knows me knows organization isn’t my strongest suit. But I’m coming to the end of the year, and that always brings me to thinking about renewal, about change. It’s a Thing, the new year- silly, all of it, but I Do The Thing, every year, despite secretly laughing at it behind my hand.

And so I’m looking at changes I can make, where I can apply myself, what I need to do, in which areas I can really work hard and get things done, and where there is no work for me. I’ve been putting so much of myself into certain areas that have no real space for me, and that is both silly and painful: I will stop doing that. I haven’t been putting enough of myself elsewhere, and I need to re- orient, beginning right now. I have work to do. There are places where I am needed: I will be there, and I will stop working so hard to be wanted and needed where there is no room for me. That seems like a recipe for disaster, or at least self- harm, and that isn’t how I roll. I’m smarter than that; it’s time I acted that way.

I’m clearing out everything, actually. We cleared out the back room to make a guest space for my in- laws; that was super- important, obviously. I’m clearing out my literal closets; no more waiting and wondering if the weight will come back, I’m pretty sure this is the size I’m sticking to, at least for the foreseeable future, so off to Dress For Success and Goodwill they go. I’m even donating books, because if it isn’t a reference book, or something I loan out or re- read, it’s taking up physical room in my home, and that sort of thing makes me feel weird and anxious lately. I want space, room, air, lightness. I want less.

Less. Less. Less of everything. I want a life that is free of stuff, and by stuff, I mean anything that isn’t actively used to enhance how we live.

Impossible, right? I mean, you can’t just not have things that drag you down. Some things are inescapable. There will always be taxes. People will always cut you off in traffic. Some folks will always be jerks in the grocery store. 105 degree days will occasionally happen. Those things are inevitable, and out of our control. Cool. I’m okay with the things I can’t control. I don’t like them, but I can accept them.

But I’m taking back what I can control. I don’t have to have things I need to dust. I don’t need to archive clothing that reminds me that my body is sometimes out of my control. I don’t need to eat up wall space holding on to books I have already read. I don’t need to wash or tend or worry over belongings I hardly see or use. I don’t need to be close to people who who don’t treat me with respect or who actively hurt me. I don’t need my CD collection from the early 2000s, for crying out loud, and it sort of smells vaguely of cat: I think that needed to go away a long, long time ago, guys. I don’t need to worry about attending events that bore me just to make people who bore me mutually bored while we talk about boring things. Those people are very nice, but they are not my people; I bore them, too. It’s okay that we bore each other and we really don’t need to go on boring each other perpetually just because it’s boringly pleasant to bore each other when we meet. We should pleasantly move on.

Here’s the thing: I only get so many hours. I don’t know how many I’ll have, but the clock is ticking. And I have so, so many good things going on. Amazing things, happy things, awesome things. Things I really only imagined I might ever have. These other things are all just distractions- and they aren’t good. They are major, unpleasant, frequently very stupid distractions. Sometimes, I just sit around and look at some of these things, being unhappy about them- but not doing anything about them, mind you, just… man, I sure gotta do something about those boxes in the shed, or I really, really don’t want to deal with x situation with x person any more, and I’m not sure what I’m getting out of this in the first place. It consumes time, and energy. It eats up Sam’s time and energy too, because he has to hear me talking about it.

Waste, waste, waste.

I can remove these things. I can refocus, re- orient myself. Hell, I can take the empty spaces that these distractions leave and fill it up with even more awesome things, or just leave myself space (imagine that, space!), or whatever- but whatever I do, I’ll be replacing something very negative, something bothersome or even distressing with something brighter, better, enriching. And that’s the point— to cull the distractions and to make room for things that actively make our lives better, because goddamnit, I know in a very real, very honest way that there are only so many days, hours, minutes, and I don’t want to waste this beautiful life. It’s just too much fun.

I can’t cut all the chaff. It’s just not possible- life gets in the way. But I can start, again, fresh, clean, with this little burst of energy- this momentum. While there hasn’t been a single inspiration for this return to purpose, I’m grateful, in a hurting way, for the multiple reasons behind the shift. I wouldn’t ask for those moments back again, but clarity is a never a bad thing.

So hey, October. I’m always glad to see the tenth month, but I’m looking forward to waking up in what’s always seemed like the most autumnal of months tomorrow. I intend to quietly, slowly, gently begin to sort though, and in part, tear up my life, beginning tomorrow morning.

That seems terribly exciting.

  One thought on “in which I want a great deal less

  1. Mel
    September 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    This speaks to my heart on so many levels. I’ve been hanging on too hard to some situations that just aren’t working in favor of other things, work that is calling me. And I’m having that anticipation too – that giggling anxiety, so excited, so terrified (which tends to cycle through right before the crippling doubt) – so I take advantage of the spark and build it up as best as I can in these moments. Thinking of you. Doing a little tearing up of things here with you in spirit.

  2. September 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    You are a wise woman. Your posts are thought-provoking for me, and I look forward to them. I wish you the best with the tearing up of things.

  3. October 1, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I understand the need to pare down and simplify. We moved last winter into a new house – actually, we moved into the farm where my husband grew up. It’s actually a bigger space than our last place, but we cleaned out so dramatically for the move that we donated 8 truckloads to Value Village and managed to fill a small dumpster with a lot of garbage (unfortunately). I have to admit that I love living clutter and storage free. My new attitude is that if it needs to be stored, it probably isn’t necessary (except for maybe Christmas tree decorations and clothes to be passed down from the big kid to the small kid). We do still have some extra chairs that we keep in the basement for when we have a large crowd for parties or large dinners, but other than that we are so much more uncluttered.

  4. October 25, 2013 at 11:49 am

    October is my clean out month. I love the transition from the heat of summer to the ice cold of winter. This month is my favorite. The leaves come down like rain, the angle of the sun changes which means the light in my studio changes. The children are gone during the day and it’s quiet but then in the afternoon there is a burst of joy and noise (and trombones and trumpets from the girls across the street).

    Four huge tubs of art supplies just went to a local charter school and I think I may ask if they have a home ec department and give them a wad of kitchen appliances. I keep my cooking far simpler now and these things take up space.

    Even thought my waking hours have shrunk I am finding that fine tuning my activities means that I still can fit in the absolute necessities. I have had to shed some activities but that’s okay. Adapt and overcome.

    With only 900 s.f. and it is both home and work? clutter kills *lol*

  5. December 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and that’s why I have nominated you for The Versatilve Blogger Award. No obligation to accept but you are deserving!!

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