It’s 104 degrees outside and it’s barely 10 am. Even by Palm Spring’s standards, this is a heat wave for late spring.
I like this deep, dry heat. You’d think it would singe my nostrils when I breathe in, but it feels intensely purifying. Like it burns away all the excess stress and distractions weighing my mind down, leaving me to see and think clearly. I feel unexpectedly free, present, and grounded (something that is rare these days when I combine two kids, sleepless nights, and ever-present technology).
I needed this desert detox to counter the persistent feeling of overstimulation, or what I imagine little kids feel when they are overwhelmed with color, noise, and fatigue. It’s like an inner vibration that I can’t turn off, which has made it difficult to communicate/compute anything of importance lately. And it’s forcing me to examine my role documenting our lives versus living it without some sort of permanent online record. Consequently, I have a major case of writer’s block, er, paralysis.
Somehow the heat exposed this gnawing inner voice, allowing me to really pay attention and hear it. Right now, I need to teach swim lessons, not photograph them. I need to hold hands under the covers instead of thinking about an inbox that is always full. I need to make inspired dinners instead of pinning them. I need to read real books. Call old friends. Write with pen and paper. And I need to entertain these inner desires when they surface, not just on the weekends.
I am going to work really hard to keep this promise to myself. Any tips?
~ The Other Sarah
I did what I never said I would do. I held a joint birthday party.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Sunday afternoon our yard was filled with friends of all ages, a GIANT bouncy house, and lots of little ninjas. Fun was had by all!
I designed the invites myself.
We had a Ninjago birthday cake to match which was VERY cute before Amos put his finger in it. (@#$*&!) We also had a martial arts instructor come and teach a quick lesson after the kids designed their own karate headband.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland
Three years ago, I wrote a post sharing the tasks I don’t do as a mom. I was relieving myself of the guilt by announcing to the world “I don’t do these things and I don’t feel bad about it!” At the time, my list included cleaning my kitchen floors (because really that is a Sisyphean task if there ever was one), gardening, cooking, playing with my kids, and scrapbooking.
The list has largely remained the same. I still don’t clean my floors. I still don’t scrapbook or cook. I still don’t play with my kids. I have taken up yard work AND composting thanks to the generous help of family friends and a partnership with Ryobi (posts on that to come!). However, overall, I continue to NOT do those things and have added to the list since adding another kid and a growing business to my life.
So, here’s my UPDATED things I don’t do list.
When Nicholas lost his job, we cancelled our cable. We have a Roku box through which we can stream content on Netflix, Amazon, and HBO Go. We also get broadcast television and whatever content we can access on online, but no more cable.
Gone are long afternoons spent watching whatever the heck happened to be on TLC or HGTV. No more Real Housewives or Sister Wives or wives of any sort. It’s just too much work to hunt down crappy reality shows for a few moments of vegging out.
Now, do I still veg out by binge-watching series (Come back Orange is the New Black!)? HECK YEAH! But at least now there’s an end in sight with every binge.
I also still watch one to two shows live. Right now, I’m watching Mad Men and Game of Thrones. That’s it.
I went from watching several hours of television a DAY to one or two hours a WEEK.
It’s become my newest obsession. What else can I eliminate from my daily (or weekly or monthly routine) to save time and money?
Pedicures were the first to go. Last summer, I just decided my toes were going bare. No more finding time for an appointment. No more arguing with Nicholas over why it was money well spent. My friend suggested I paint my own but here’s what I discovered. I don’t care that much.
The sand felt just as good between my toes without polish.
Next up? Eyebrow maintenance. I’d already moved past waxing but had been going every couple weeks to have my eyebrows threaded. It was another item on my to do list. Another thing to spend money on.
So, I just stopped. I pluck occasionally but overall I’ve just let them grow. Amazingly, my husband still finds me attractive and no one has thrown rotten food at my face in disgust.
My latest elimination was blow-drying. I haven’t blown dry my hair in two years. Now, this is thanks in part to the bangs. And let me clear, the bangs get blow dried, but that takes 45 seconds not 30 minutes. My hair gets braided while it air dries during both winter and summer.
Do I get more compliments after getting my hair cut, when it is styled to the max? Yep. Do I care enough to add back in another half an hour to my routine? NOPE.
The best part is taking some things off the list has made room for others.
In the previous post, I talked about things I’d like to do in the future and I’ve actually made some progress! Sure, I haven’t learned to sew or bought a bicycle but we have camped (once but it counts!).
More importantly, I’ve joined the Charity League of Paducah and the board of the Oscar Cross Boys and Girls Club of Paducah. Volunteering my time with these two organizations has been immensely rewarding on so many levels and made me miss the reality shows and pedicures even less!
What have you eliminated from your life recently? What DON'T you do?