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Thursday, April 30, 2015

To live simply is to live clear.



One of the many benefits of moving such a far distance is having to be mindful of exactly what you choose to take with you. It quickly becomes a lesson in simplifying. One that can be kind of hard at first, but yet insanely freeing.

When you've got two small 8'x5x7' storage containers to ship everything you think you'll need to start your life over, you think about everything. Will this benefit me there? Will I be annoyed when I open this box to see I wasted time and space to ship this? Does it serve a purpose to help our life? 

Our home in Pennsylvania wasn't large by most people's standards back East--but somehow, in that townhome we managed to accumulate a whole lot of junk over the years. Every single closet, every single drawer must be opened when you move. There is no more secret-keeping and hiding the 'dirty laundry' behind door #1. Those leftover Christmas boxes that would be perfect for the cookie-making I never did shoved back in the depths of the closet had to be uncovered. The cheap purses and beach bags I'd collected over the last 10 years filled with old receipts were found. The old boxes upon boxes of my things from my teaching days I held onto "just in case" were just collecting dust.

If moving revealed anything to me it's that even if I didn't think so, I had excess. I had excess of most everything and moving revealed all our dirty little secrets about what we really had. What we held onto. What kind of junk was lurking behind drawers and closet doors.

I wish I had kept count, because I can't even tell you how many bags of clothes I gave away. How many baby toys, swaddles, jumpers, all the stuff you keep 'in case' that we got rid of. Endless amounts of things that ended up by curb, things that went to donation, were given to friends and family, and things that got sold.

Every single thing that came with us to this side of the country was a conscious decision as we put it into a box because, mostly, we needed it.

I cannot even tell you how relieving it was when we packed up those two u-boxes knowing full well that everything we were taking had a purpose. There wasn't much excess. There was no room for that.

Unpacking on this side was wonderful and dare I say--easy. When you aren't looking for closets and drawers to tuck things away you 'may' need one day--it's funny, but, you end up with lots of free drawers in your kitchen and open closet space. And it's NICE.

It's refreshing.

I've always talked about simplifying. I WANT TO LIVE LIKE A MINIMALIST! I live in a small'ish house, so clearly back in Pennnsylvania I was "living simply", as my sign boasted on the wall.

But no. We weren't. I wasn't.

To live simply is to live clear, to live easily, with what you need and not too much more.

Do I still have too many clothes? Yes. Are there far too many little girl shoes thrown around the living room? Yes. Have I perfected this simplifying thing? No. 

But did we make a huge, giant leap in the process? Absolutely.

sim·pli·fy

  (sĭm′plə-fī′)
tr.v. sim·pli·fiedsim·pli·fy·ingsim·pli·fies
To make simple or simpler, as:
a. To reduce in complexity or extent.
b. To reduce to fundamental parts.
c. To make easier to understand.

I don't know about you, but reducing complexity is always welcomed in my life.

We may have a long ways to go, but hitting the refresh button certainly helped us reevaluate all that stuff.


***




Thursday, April 9, 2015

When you feel unsure-press in.

I was the first one to preach that it didn't matter where we were, it was just that we'd be together. If we had one another, it didn't matter that we were leaving the home we brought our babies home to, the one we poured so much love and care.

It wasn't about the place we lived. The physical walls of the place we called home. Home is wherever we were together. I preached that over and over and over to myself.

And then that very first night, two+ months ago, after traveling thousands of miles by plane and being extremely sleep deprived--we turned the key into what would be our new home for the year. Just like that all my prior self talk flew right out the window. 

I'm not sure if it was just seeing a place so stark, so empty, so cold. It held no memories for us. It was dark outside, so no hope of sunlight was beaming through the windows to touch my shoulder and tell me it was ok. It was...just not home. We walked room to room, faking smiles for the kids but shooting looks of what did we do back and forth to one another. We'd seen it in photos. It felt ok. But that night, over exhausted from all the traveling, I felt worried that I could not make this place feel like home. No matter how 'together' we were. I was forgetting to practice what I preached all this time.

That night we went back to the hotel and I sunk into the bed with a face full of tears. I said things out of pure exhaustion like, I think we made a mistake. What did we do? We took our babies away from everything they knew. Should we go back?

I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure we had made the right decision. 

In those moments Declan held me and he promised me--he promised that we would tackle making this place feel more like home tomorrow, with fresh eyes, and sleep. That we could do it--that we could pretty much do anything if we were together. 

He was right. That next morning our boxes were delivered, we had hired two moving helpers, and as I saw some of our familiar things come into this place it did start feeling more and more like home. People commented that "wow-I can't believe you settled so fast". But you don't understand, we had no choice but to make this place feel as warm as we could, as fast as can be. 

Moving so far was our choice, yes--but it doesn't mean that we didn't cling to some sense of what we felt back home in Pennyslvania. We needed to feel settled, see the things that felt familiar. 

It brought us comfort.

I can safely say that although this little rental place is just that--a rental. It really feels like home to us. We're all here, we all feel settled, we're all together. 










It's the place that holds our laughter, our tears, our fights, all our crap, and the buckets of sand we drag in on our feet from the beach. It's the place we feel we can breathe and just be us. 

**

It's hard for me to share the story of what a struggle that first day or two was for me. I know that on the outside it can look so perfect and glamorous and oh so fun. But those initial feelings of shock, worry, feeling like an alien in a new place--yea, those were all really real to me. While I'm grateful I don't feel that way anymore, it was part of the growing and learning process.

Grow and learn. grow and learn...