I have been dreaming of a smaller house and a smaller car. Wanting to “thin out” my closet, my kitchen, and my whole house. Stirring for more ‘want-to’s’ in my life, and less ‘have-to’s.’ I have a yearning to throw a lasso around everything, and corral it into a smaller, simple life.
I think a psychoanalyst would say these are signs my life is getting too big, too out of control. And that’s probably a fair assessment.
Although many New Year’s articles will talk about eating healthier, losing weight, spending more time with family, and many other personal improvements—I am not going that route this year. Truth be told, I am facing a hectic, cluttered life—both personally and professionally. I need to trim it and tone it down.
My resolutions, or my want-to’s, are strong, but turning them into new habits–a simple life– is daunting. It means something has to give. Or be re-tuned.
My yearning for simplicity has been growing and strengthening all year. As I mentioned above, I am now, literally dreaming, and fantasizing about it. What would my life be like if there was no Facebook or Twitter to update? If my kids were home every night for dinner? If I de-cluttered my kitchen counter every night before bed? If I exercised almost every day? If I streamlined my work to stop at a certain time every day?
I want many things that I don’t have.
I want to cook more. The truth is my family isn’t around to eat it together. My kids are playing sports, involved in theater, or working during the dinner hour. And that makes me a frustrated, and sometimes sad, cook. I miss those days of simpler schedules and a guaranteed family meal.
I want to exercise more. Time is my obstacle. Yes, I can get up earlier, schedule it on my calendar, and all the other things experts say work. The truth is, my job of writing is undoubtedly a sit-down job, and my career married with my large family often pushes exercise to the back burner. My struggle has always been how do I get it all done? I want to find a way to resurrect the athlete in me.
I want to spend more time having fun. The kind of fun that involves friends, activity and laughter, like playing more golf, being part of a book club, and entertaining. Yes, work is fun—I personally feel work is not worth doing if it’s not fun, so I try to make it fun. But it’s not the same fun as school girl giggly fun. That’s what I want more of.
Not unlike many of you, my life is complicated. And busy. And big.
For a long time I have enjoyed this “hectic-ness.” I have welcomed and relished the comings and goings of kids in my house. Our crazy day-to-day schedules. The unpredictable twists and last minute changes throwing off the daily plan. Exciting, brand new business opportunities landing on my desk. The thrill of getting a long list of personal tasks and professional deadlines crossed off the list. My mantras have been “Yes, I can do that.” and “Pile it on.”
I have thrived on a crazy, big, demanding life.
But this fast, complicated life brings stress, fatigue, and many sacrifices.
While I want to simplify my life, especially my work life, I am steering away from more personal sacrifices. Taking a birds-eye view, I realize that many of the sacrifices I have made over the years have been personal ones.
I don’t want to sacrifice the athlete in me anymore.
I don’t want to skip out on adventurous cooking, or entertaining friends, or playing golf in a league, or any other social activity because I have a work deadline. I don’t want to miss a trip because I have “too much work.”
Bottom line: I don’t want to sacrifice my ‘want-to’s’ for my ‘have-to’s’ anymore.
I am looking for simple. I can feel it from my tippy-toes to my brain, and all the bones in between.
It’s time for a shift to simplicity. What that will look like, I am not sure.
But this I know–It’s my new ‘have-to.’
What are you focusing on in the New Year?
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: December 31, 2014
Updated on: December 10, 2018