Lately, I have been so full. SO FULL. My mind. My days. My emotions. My life.
Full. Full. Full.
So full that I keep meaning to blog but there is just so much to say. Lately, I start to write and I just don’t know how to organize my thoughts on this page. My thoughts jump from the past, the present, and the future at a furious pace. Please bear with me…this could get bumpy.
I think about the kids – the choices we’ve made about their schooling, how we raise them, and their overall well-being. I think about how I tend to shrink my world to only encompass my immediate family and then a natural disaster will wreak havoc in another part of the world which then forces my world (and my perspective) to expand. I think about this year and all the adventures I would like to embark upon personally and as a family. I think about expressing myself creatively and how wonderful it feels when I am free to do so. I think about breathing and then I actually do it. I think about the process of simplification – simplifying my surroundings, my schedule, my commitments, my decisions. I think about time and the priceless nature of it and how best I would like to spend it. I think about the delicacy of life and how fleeting it can be.
I think about the present which inevitably leads me to the past. For example, as I make difficult decisions, I think a lot about the origins of my moral compass and I keep going back to my grandmother and how she played a large part in shaping it. I miss her value judgments that were largely based on her absolute faith in a religion which I have spent my childhood worshiping blindly and most of my adult life questioning unrelentingly. I have come to the conclusion that her undying faith, albeit in a Church I have turned my back on, has inspired the manner in which I make decisions. I have faith that everything happens for a reason. I have faith that every challenge is an opportunity to learn something new about myself and that even seemingly wrong decisions are the ones that I need to make at that specific point in time. I have faith in the way I choose to parent. I have faith that I can achieve the goals that I have set for myself and my family.
I think about the weather. I think about how the seasons and more specifically the daily weather closely correlate to my overall psychological state. For instance, we are experiencing the transition into spring. Though it’s not quite time to put away winter coats and enjoy T-Shirt weather, I can honestly say that the longer days are having a wondrous effect on my mood (not to mention that all my kids are finally healthy!).
This time of year always reminds me of my grandfather, Lolo Harv. I can’t count the number of times I have heard the following spring story: After immigrating to Canada and experiencing his first Canadian winter including seeing snow for the first time, he says this, “I remember hearing the call of the robin red-breast and thinking that was the sweetest sound I’d ever heard, finally announcing the arrival of spring.” I refer to this story because I always think about it especially when I start to take the seasonal changes for granted and it makes me stop and take note of the first signs of spring. For example, the kids are getting up earlier with the sun, the air smells different, and they have trouble adhering to their normal bedtime routine because the sun is still up when it’s time for bed.
I think about the choices I’ve made. I OWN every single choice I’ve made. Choosing to live in a smaller home in the city has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. It has allowed me to stay home and focus on less. Our house does not have the capacity to hold a lot of “things” so we are on a constant journey to simplify. We have surrounded our kids with diversity. They have seen different family structures. Just the other day, the kids were playing house. #4 says (as usual), “I’m the mom.” #3 says without a second thought, “I’m the mom too because sometimes there are 2 moms in a family.” Choosing to marry my best friend and to have a big family has been by far the best decision I have made. I may get tired. I may feel overwhelmed when they’re sick. However, I have never once regretted having 5 children before the age of 32. Years ago, I discarded the “poor me” and “bad things just happen to me” attitude in exchange for the “I am accountable for all that I am, feel, and have” attitude. Although I tend to self-flagellate overzealously if an “I should of…” even enters my mind. Still need to work on that.
I am DONE with comparisons. Present to past to future. Economic/financial status. Lifestyles. DONE. It is a time and energy wasting past time and I refuse to participate in this destructive habit anymore. Everything is relative. Realistically I only have enough to dwell on my own situation. The grass is not necessarily greener.
The month of March has opened our eyes to what money means and what it doesn’t mean to us as a family. It has made us more conscious from prepping snacks and bottle of water before we go out to making homemade gifts to finally using gift cards that have been collecting dust. It was the best wake-up call for us with respect to the insidiousness of the prevalent addiction to instant gratification. As a family, we have decided to save our money for one large expense – a month long family vacation. However, #3 was willing to give up any future travel including vacationing in her most favourite city on Earth – New York City – in exchange for purchasing a $200 inflatable jumping castle which she saw in a flyer. We flat out said “No” to her request.
Life then became an exciting game of how to repurpose and reinvent clothes, existing toys, found objects in nature, and just things we already had. We’ve decided to sell our second car to save even more money and to continue to try to simplify our life. We have barely used it in the last 3 weeks in preparation for our life without it.
This brings us to April’s adventure: DECLUTTER. Our family has officially waged a war on all unnecessary “things.” Room by room, cupboard by cupboard, closet by closet, we will eliminate the excess and pare it down to the very minimal. Each day, a box of stuff will leave the house. We will detach and discard. We will reclaim our counters and the rest of our surfaces.
No more stuff. I am full. I have enough and I have everything I will ever need.