My focus word this year is simplicity, and somehow the year is halfway over. I want to take an assessment as the second half of the year starts to see what the first half looked like and if I truly kept a focus on living simply. I will also still be blogging monthly about how we're seeking simplicity in food, fashion, home maintenance, electronic use, and the like. I am also looking at what simple means to me as I make new goals for the last six months of the year.
Ways We've Done Simple
We Learned to Hygge
The Danish concept of hygge is all about simplicity, and I devoured books about this concept and wrote an article on it that was published here. Whenever I feel myself veering off course when it comes to simplicity, I think hygge. That means coffee, getting outside, unplugging from electronics, or grabbing a book to read. It means simple food and long conversations. Hygge helps me define my idea of simplicity in real terms, and just like it does the Danes, it makes me happier.
We Made Positive, Scary Changes
I had to do a bit of soul searching when it came to what simplicity meant for me as it relates to change. D and I both felt, without talking about it to each other, that we might not keep living where we are forever, and when we finally both confessed to these feelings, the realization floored me.
In the past, I've had no trouble with the idea of picking up and going somewhere else. I love change that I initiate. But being a parent suddenly made this idea seem impossible. What about security and friends and all the things? What if we ruined everyone's lives?
We're not planning on moving anytime soon, but conversations about leaving led to some realities that I had to face about control issues and about my own problems with displacement, something I've struggled with since my teen years. It also pointed out some areas we needed to change where we're at right now. We needed to get out of a situation, and we both knew it, but that fear of what would happen hung over our heads and damn near paralyzed me. However, we did it, and it's great. Maybe this is one small step and the bigger ones are coming.
I Sort of Learned to Sleep
Plagued with insomnia since birth if my parents are to be believed, I finally made the leap from an overtired, up-too-late person to someone who is getting around six to seven hours of sleep a night. All it took was the flu leveling all six of us for two and half weeks to knock me down so hard that I had no choice but to prioritize sleep.
It's still hard for me. However, I have streamlined my life to the point that I don't have to be up all night working, and when I get that urge to just sit up and listen to the quiet house until two am while still consuming coffee, I just say no.
Simple Plans for the Future
One thing that is not easy but is simple is the idea that we need to challenge ourselves to grow. I used to be great at pushing myself, but that was before I had four kids and my brain and body felt like mush by the end of the day. Yes, I still read a lot and write daily, but I am feeling the simple urge to push out of my comfort zone and see where that leads.
When it Comes to God
I don't think we ever really stop journeying when it comes to spiritual issues, and D and I have recently made some decisions about our journey that give us peace. We're going to keep pushing in the direction we're going, the one God is opening for us. I'm also keeping a journal of all the places I see God amidst this crazy, ugly world. Turns out that if you look for Him daily, He's not that hard to find.
When it Comes to Books
I read a lot, and it's one of my favorite hobbies. I don't discriminate against pretty much any type of writing, though I prefer certain types over others. However, there are some classics I missed out on in high school, and I want to go back and read them. I read Anna Karenina a couple of years ago because I loved my Russian Lit class in college, and it was amazing. Now I'm tackling War and Peace. The problem is that book is a behemoth, and I want to savor it while still not missing out on reading other, newer books.
My goal is to read at least one classic a month, and I hope to still throw some new books in there as well.
When it Comes to Writing
My writing has been going well, but one place where I have fallen back is fiction. I love writing fiction, but having fiction published is a beast. Because I am successfully having non-fiction published regularly, I've stopped working on fiction as much. This isn't how I want things to be.
I'm going to make sure my time is organized in a way that I can work on fiction every day, even it's just a little. Whether it gets published or not isn't the point. I have some words that need to be written, and so I have to write them.
When it Comes to Movement
Truth be told, I have never fully recovered from my pregnancy with the twins, and it's starting to show. I'm not yet 40, but my endurance is awful, and I don't feel like this is totally normal. After carrying the girls for 37 weeks, I breastfed for another 17 months. Just when all of that came to an end, I developed symptoms that a year later would finally be diagnosed as Meniere's disease. Basically, every time I thought I was getting back up, I got knocked back down.
I am going to push myself to sweat and hurt daily. This is something I used to do without thought, but I used to overexercise due to an eating disorder, so it wasn't exactly a good thing. I'm looking for normal/challenging, something where I will see that I am getting stronger. Right now, I don't feel strong.
When it Comes to People
I fully embrace the part of me that can't deal with people all the time, the introvert side that needs quiet to survive. However, I've started embracing the extrovert side as well, the part of me that loves those intimate relationships that lead to hours of conversation. Catching the flu and all of us being quarantined for weeks left me aching for time with the people I usually see on a regular basis. I want to keep feeding those relationships since I care for them so much.