I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing about the past couple of years this week. Monkey is turning one next week. When Bug was his age, this time 2 1/2 years ago, we were about to close on our house 1500 miles away and begin a new life adventure. We had no clue what was in store for the next 2 years. Things were crazy. We lived in a couple different places, there was a lot of time of being unsettled, marital problems, and throw into the mix this perfect little guy that we created along the way. It hasn’t been easy. But when I think back on it, I think that all of those things, as I think all things, happen for a reason.
Having my family nearly broken, raising my kids alone for some time, living with a lot of discomfort and difficulty for a while – well, all of that has made me change how I think about a lot of my life. It’s made me slow down and appreciate things more. It’s made me take a good hard look at what my values are, what my needs really are, and in the process figure out what my wants are as well. And the results have been surprising. Mostly, I feel eternally grateful that what was hopefully rock bottom in my life happened when I was young. I got to have a change of heart and vision while having plenty of time left to make changes and really live the simple and fulfilling life that I deserve.
I don’t need a lot of stuff. Or a lot of friends. Or an elaborate social life. I just need my perfect little family to be together. I need my kids to have a comfortable and stable home. I need friends who add value to my life. Size and number of things doesn’t matter.
I know a lot of people, myself included, think of *things* when they think of simplifying. Get rid of unneeded stuff. Sure, that helps. It’s a great start. It’s even on my list of 10 ways to simplify your life. When it comes to things, well, that can be a battle. It’s hard to let go of stuff. Stuff we have attachments to. Stuff we have that signify people and places and events. But when you have memories, well why have the stuff too? I admit, I have held onto some things that have value to me simply because they came from a departed loved one. But I’ve let go of a lot of other things that just in reality didn’t need to be physically in my life in order to represent a person, place or time in my life. I have those things in my head and heart and that’s what matters.
But it doesn’t end there. I find that the hugest drains on my life aren’t things at all. People have deterred me from simplicity. Situations have deterred me from it as well. I just have to take baby steps toward eliminating those things that create stress, make things harder and most of all just less fun for me. This can be distancing myself from friends or family and situations that take much and give little in return. A big part of that is learning to and then continuing to just say no when something doesn’t work for me. I find myself trying to please too many people too often and in the process lose sight of my own needs. When my number one job in this world right now is wife and mother, I need to be happy and comfortable and as stress-free as possible so I can do that job best and be for my kids and husband what they need.
When I put it in those terms for myself, it’s easy to let go of everything else. Because they are surely worth it.