A Resolution to Keep!

It’s that time again! As we welcome the new year, most of us are probably thinking about how to make this coming year better than the last. There are so many goals waiting to be achieved! Maybe you’d like to buy a house. Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you plan to go back to school. Maybe you’re finally going to write “that book”. Whatever your goals are for 2017, I’d like to suggest one more:

SIMPLIFY.

When I use this word, I use it broadly. Only you know what that means for your life, so do with it what you will – but do something.

– Some of you should clean out your closet, your garage, your pantry, your file cabinet.

– Some of you should focus less on making money and more on making memories with your friends and family.

– Some of you should scale back on all the junk (Junk food, junk TV, anything that brings temporary satisfaction and long-term damage.)

– Some of you need to clear out the toxic relationships in your life, and surround yourself with more positivity, even if that means fewer people.

– Some of you need to make a change that will make your life richer (not in a monetary way.) 

There are so many ways to simplify.  When it comes to my own personal life, here’s what I plan to do in 2017:

  • I plan to simplify our belongings (again.) Since Fox received a good number of new toys and books for Christmas, I plan to go through his older toys and books to see which ones are ripe for donation. I’ve already set up a Toy/Book Swap Party with my local mom group. These things are a huge hit! I probably won’t take much (if anything) from the swap unless I really feel like we could benefit from it, but it’ll be nice to see some of our gently used items go home with friends. 🙂 Anything that’s leftover from the event will be donated to charity.  

MORE ABOUT TOYS: I’m a firm believer in keeping the toys and books situation in our house MANAGEABLE. I’ve found this to mean that Fox doesn’t have as much as most kids. (That’s okay with us.) Miraculously, I’ve also discovered that I can successfully babysit my friends’ kids without them feeling bored. In fact, all the kids I’ve watched love coming over to play at our tiny little apartment. Happiness isn’t about how much you have. Even children know that.  

  • I plan to simplify my expectations. What I mean by this is I plan to let stress have LESS power over my mind. So often I find myself in cahoots about something that is, at the end of the day, pretty trivial, and I allow my stress levels to increase, which results in me having to spend precious minutes of my day dealing with unnecessary disappointment and anger. This is a very wordy way of saying I need to take a chill pill, and realize that the world will not crumble if things don’t go my way… If the dishes go undone… If the laundry piles up (yes, even though I’ve done a few purges, we can somehow still create piles of laundry. That’s a blog for another day.) I’m the kind of person who is always working on something, and as much as I thrive on keeping busy and productive, I realize that I could stand to put less pressure on myself.  

I want 2017 to be a year of Inner Tranquility. I want to be okay with the fact that things always seem to be unfinished. After all, we are all works in progress. Here are my commitments for 2017, feel free to claim them as yours too!

    1. I will embrace the loose ends of life this year.
    2. I will laugh at times that would normally make me grit my teeth.
    3. I will exhale negativity and inhale the goodness that surrounds me.  
    4. I will show more grace and mercy to myself and others.
    5. I will remember that we only have so much time.

    I wish you all a fantastic 2017. May it be a year that fills your life with simple joys, your heart with gratitude, and your eyes with happy tears.  

    XOXO,

    Val

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    Social Media vs. Your Life

    Every once in a while, I see a post on Facebook or another online platform announcing that someone’s taking a break from social media.  You’ve probably seen these too.  I always thought it was funny or strange.  Why would anyone want to take a break?  It’s not a big deal to be a part of these communities, I would find myself thinking… In fact, it’s really fun and now, you’re going to miss out!

    Then I did it myself.  In March, I went off the grid for 7 days, and was amazed by the revelations that the process uncovered for me.  It was all pretty standard textbook stuff… Stepping back, reassessing priorities, and finding a sense of self once removed from the constant buzz.

    I was at a point where social media was consuming me.  It wasn’t a PART of my life.  It was the entire basis around which I conducted each day.   Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat were my main addictions, and there was an inescapable pressure to keep up with it all… Scroll. Like.  Follow. Post. Snap. Laugh all the laughs. Feel all the feels.  Rinse and repeat.

    6907415I realized I had a genuine fear when it came to the idea of disconnecting.  Maybe part of it was due to the fact that we moved to another state where we have no family, and making friends has been a slow process.  Maybe I was just addicted like everyone else.  I can’t say I’m totally recovered, but I’m trying.

    I do have to say that being a work-from-home mom, social media truly helps me feel connected to people.  I enjoy catching glimpses of everyone’s lives, as well as keeping people up to date on mine.   As a first time mom, I’m notoriously posting photos of our son in that #SorryNotSorry way.  What it all comes down to is that I don’t want to miss out, and I don’t want our family and friends to feel like they’re missing out either.  Time passes so quickly.

    That being said, I lacked balance in my life.  I felt in a way enslaved to social media – like it was a job that I had to attend every day, and if I didn’t show up, I’d not only be missing out, I’d also be letting someone down.  Such a weird, twisted way to feel.  I’m pretty embarrassed to even write about it, but I want to be honest because I think it’s important to realize that many of us are in that same spot.  Too many of us.

    This blog started off with a focus on decluttering and simplifying my home.  I wanted to minimize all the ‘stuff’ and focus on what matters. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I can apply that same mission to other areas of my life.

    offline

    After my 7 day “detox”, I decided to get rid of Snapchat, which was not an easy decision, as silly as that sounds.  Several of my friends told me my Snapchat account was their favorite one to follow (What?!), and if I went a few days without posting, they would notice and ask about it.  So there was this weird pressure I felt to not stop.  Admittedly, it was really fun to snap and post the smallest moments of my life – and to feel like I had friends joining my journey.  Even the mundane came to life with Snapchat.  It was awesome, but something had to give.  Do I miss it?  Yes, but missing something is okay, I discovered.  The more important thing is feeling a balance in life which is so elusive these days.

    I’m still on Facebook and Instagram, and don’t anticipate deactivating those accounts, but I am working on how often I check those sites, and how much time I spend scrolling.  I don’t want it to consume me.  I have other things I want to accomplish.  Books to read.  Art projects to finish.  Stories to write.  A family to love. New friends to meet.  Memories to make.  Life is so precious. Every passing moment is one that we’ll never revisit again, except in our memories.

    Whether it’s scaling back on social media or something else (TV? Games?), only you know exactly what your life needs…

    Simplify.

    Expand your mind.

    Try something new.  Heck, try something OLD.

    The opportunities are endless.  Don’t you come back telling me you’re bored.   😉

    “Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind. And the same method can be applied to the other senses. Hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you.” – Helen Keller

    full-engagement

    “Every Little Thing” by Peter Doran

    I hereby declare this the official 20mugs theme song.  (Lyrics are below the video.)

    Every little thing, you think that you need
    Every little thing, you think that you need
    Every little thing that’s just feeding your greed
    Oh, I bet that you’d be fine without it

    Every little thing that you’ve gotta have
    Every little thing that you’ve gotta have
    That you’ve got to reach for and you’ve got to grab
    Oh, I bet that you’d be fine without it

    So tear your eyes away, oh tear your eyes away

    Every little thing that sparkles and shines
    Every little thing that sparkles and shines
    It’s driving you sweetly out of your mind
    But I bet that you’d be fine without it

    So tear your eyes away, oh tear your eyes away

    Every little thing that you’re lusting for
    Every little thing that you’re lusting for
    How did you ever get along before
    Oh, I bet that you were fine without it

    So tear your eyes away, oh tear your eyes away

    Before you’re tripping over junk that’s lying scattered on your floor
    The dusty and discarded toys that don’t shine any more
    Every one you had to have, every one you swore
    Would satisfy your greedy heart for now and evermore

    Every little thing that catches your eye
    Every little thing that catches your eye
    Gets under your skin and it won’t be denied
    Oh, I bet that you’d be fine without it

    Oh, I bet that you’d be fine without it