Can you believe it is already the middle of August? It seems like I was justgetting excited about the summer starting! You’ll have to forgive me for being a little MIA lately; even on social media I’ve been a little quiet. I’ve been taking some much needed time to unwind, unplug and decompress.
This past weekend Mike and I decided to get out of town and head north to the Kawartha lakes for some peace and quiet. For two and a half days, we did nothing but sit by the lake, go fishing, and enjoy the lakeside views. It often feels strange to do nothing when you’re used to being on-the-go, but slowing down gives you the chance to quiet all the noise around you and listen to what naturally comes up – which was exactly what I needed.
What came up was the same thing that had been popping up in my mind for the past few weeks. It started out small, but day-by-day it has been growing. I wasn’t really sure what it all meant, or how I felt about it, but this tiny, little idea started consuming my daily thoughts and actions. Everywhere I went and everything I did kept coming back to this one word: simplicity.
It didn’t come on all of a sudden, but rather it was something that I’ve felt drawn to little-by-little for the past few months. Trying to rationalize why I’ve been feeling this pull to lead a more simplified lifestyle has been a little bit confusing to me, but if I had to say when it began, I’d say it all started with new bedroom furniture. More specifically, a dresser.
A few months ago, Mike and I needed to get a new mattress. We decided that it was finally time to upgrade to a bigger size, so we needed to buy a new bedframe as well. Finding the bed and mattress was easy, but then we realized that a larger bed meant our oversized nightstands which were actually small dressers needed to go. Finally, our dresser – the one that we had been wanting to replace for so long, but never managed to get around to it – didn’t match any of our new pieces so it was time to let it go. Pretty soon, our simple mattress upgrade turned into a full-on bedroom makeover (darn, right?). If we were making over our room, I wanted to make it a place that I enjoyed spending time. I wanted it to feel light, calm, airy and comforting.
It took me a while to find the right dresser. I had a pretty specific look in my mind and combining that with the idea that it still had to be functional proved to be a time consuming project. Finally, I found what I was looking for. When our new furniture arrived, I was so excited, but started to realize with smaller nightstands and a smaller dresser – where was I going to put all of my stuff?? Between the dresser, the nightstands, an overflowing walk-in closet and several Rubbermaid bins of clothes in our basement we were bursting at the seams. I thought I was pretty good at purging clothes every now and then, but apparently I had been replenishing my stock.
Trying to fit all our clothes from the dressers into the new one caused a full-on internal war: Where would we put our clothes? It took me forever to find a dresser I loved and now I needed to find something bigger? But I don’t want something big and clunky. I wanted our bedroom to feel open and airy, with lots of space. And I love this new furniture. But what about my clothes?? I was in a tailspin. I was crying, turning red and getting angry.
I went from not having enough drawer space for some workout clothes to not having a big enough bedroom, or kitchen – to all of a sudden feeling like every room in our house was too small and crammed with “things”. Our home office had become a catch-all room. And what would we do in the future, would we outgrow our house before we found somewhere else to go? We needed a bigger house NOW!
Then, it hit me. I was being ridiculous. With just the two of us in a house with more than 2300 square feet of livable space, we had more than enough room for now and the future. Yet somehow, in three years, we managed to fill up so much space that I was starting to feel suffocated.
While looking at the piles of clothes spread out across the floor of my bedroom and living room, and realizing I was getting upset (borderline hysterical) over where I was going to put it all, I decided then and there that I’d had enough. I was done with things. I grabbed a handful of garbage bags from the kitchen and started going through everything. I tossed white camisoles that were no longer white, t-shirts with stains or holes, items that I kept holding onto for that “one day” when I might actually want it. Ten garbage bags later, I felt it: Lighter. Calmer. Free.
I thought that was it, but since that day there’s been this nagging feeling eating away at me that I wasn’t able to figure out. It was a feeling like I was forgetting something, or waiting for the other shoe to drop. Spending time looking inward, focusing on what’s most important to me and allowing myself to “get quiet” showed me that my life was craving simplicity. I wanted less “stuff” so I could have more space for creativity, connection and usefulness. There were so many things in my life that had been forgotten about or cast aside, but yet it was still taking up both physical and mental space. I realized that I needed to create a life that was simpler and less crowded so I could welcome so many more wonderful experiences into my life. I didn’t want my life to be defined by the things I had, but rather the things I did and the experiences and connections I had with others. The idea of simplified living looks different to everyone, but at this moment in my life, it means having fewer things in my life that get in the way of having more: More time. More energy. More freedom. More experiences. More memories.
Where does this leave me now? Currently, it leaves me surrounded by jars and cans from my pantry cleanout. It’s a work in progress, but the goal for me is very clear: I want to lead a simpler life to make room for what’s really meaningful. It won’t happen overnight; I’ll start small and work my way through everything, but I know that in the end, I’ll never regret having experiences over material possessions.
I’ll be sure to share my journey with you every step of the way and hopefully I can inspire some of you to do the same.