Historically, I’ve found the end of a year to be very depressing. I look back and realize how little I’ve accomplished when compared to what I planned to get done. I didn’t hit my goal weight. I didn’t pay off that debt. I didn’t read all the books or knit all the projects. I didn’t PR that lift. Another year and I didn’t magically become happy.
This year is different. I am looking forward to 2018. I have a renewed sense of purpose. I even have a theme for the year, a concept I’ve always found rather silly. I have a lot of changes planned for the coming year. Big changes. Scary changes. The kind of changes that would normally have me coming up with myriad excuses to avoid them. My theme, though, is going to help me conquer the fear and make the changes that need to happen.
This year, I am going to focus on simplicity.
I work six days a week. Right now, it’s necessary for a few reasons. One is that I don’t make enough money at my full time job to pay for the lifestyle I’ve created for myself (translation: debt). Another reason is that I love teaching. I would miss my students and the fulfillment I get from them. I’m tired. I hate dragging myself out of bed on Saturday morning to get to the studio, but once I’m there, everything changes. The day usually goes by quickly and I end up having a good time with my kiddos (and adults).
But then I come home and realize I have one day to clean my apartment, prep my meals for the week, do laundry, get to the gym, and do something I enjoy like knitting or reading. What usually ends up suffering are the chores. The laundry and cleaning don’t get done. Then I spend the next week stressed about how messy my apartment is and how I don’t have enough clean clothes to last the week.
A couple of weeks ago, I made the decision to change that. I am going to get rid of “stuff.” I didn’t know exactly what that meant. I just didn’t want to look around at the pile of bills on the desk, the pile of dishes in the sink, and the piles of laundry on the closet floor.
Enter Kay and The Minimalists. My friend Kay introduced me to The Minimalists. I read a few of their essays online. A lightbulb went off. This is what I want. I only want what I truly need and what adds value to my life. I planned to start small. I have all year, after all.
But then I started. I started with the linen closet. I got rid of excess towels. (Why does a single woman who lives alone need so many towels?!) Those sheets that were faded and stained from when the cat was sick? Gone. Yes, they were cute as hell, but cute flannel sheets will be on sale at the end of winter and I can replace them. (As a pet owner, I feel that two sets of flannel sheets and two sets of summer sheets are a necessity, at least until I have my own washer and dryer.) The nail polish. The 50+ bottles of nail polish. Mostly gone. I kept about 20 bottles of colors that I absolutely love. If they are not used over the next year, they are gone as well. The broken humidifier is gone. A new, smaller one has replaced it. The hair and cosmetic products I didn’t use are gone as are the expired medications.
A monster has been unleashed. “Start small” has morphed into “go big or go home.”
Stay tuned. It’s going to be a great year.