I’ve re-typed the intro to this post at least a dozen times, and I’m still not happy with it. I’ve decided to abandon it altogether, and just jump into this post with both feet.
One… two… THREE!
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about the life I’d like to live, compared to the one I am. I’ve also been feeling especially nostalgic, which I figure means one of three things:
1. I have caught up with a lot of old friends on Facebook,
2. Worrying about making ends meet makes me long for my carefree childhood, or
3. My spirit is trying to tell me something.
As I’ve pondered these feelings, I’ve decided that I have too much “stuff” in my life. Too many things. Too many distractions. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in stuff, and it’s killing me. (How is that for dramatic?) It’s not just household clutter, although there is plenty of that. It’s the outside stuff that steals my time and my focus, and makes me shake my head at the end of the day and wonder why I didn’t get more done.
Computer, I am talking to you.
I am going to lose Hannah to Kindergarten next year, and as I look back on the past five years, I wonder if I have failed her somehow. Should I have spent more time with her? Yes. Read to her more? Yes. Worked on art projects and taken walks and gone to story time at the library? Yes, yes, and yes. I did all of that with Alex and Kendra. When Kindergarten came, I was sad to see them go, but confident that we had spent a lot of quality time together. I’m sure it had something to do with their closeness in age, and the gap between Hannah and Kendra that allowed us to do so many fun things. I’m sure Hannah has some good memories of us too, but it still makes me sad to think that there aren’t more. Or better.
I used to read to my kids all the time. We went to the library every week. Alex and Kendra accompanied me on every errand, and they were perfectly behaved. We used to meet Kenny for lunch and play at the park. Even after Hannah was born, we continued with our routines. When we moved out of the teeny, tiny duplex and into our house, we made new routines. We played outside, we read stories and played Little People, and we took walks every night after dinner. I loved our “new” life.
Over the next four years, Kenny lost his day job and got one working nights, which threw a major kink in our daily routine. We added a new baby, who was an angel until his first birthday, and then became a flailing, wailing tantrum monster. Desperate to improve our financial situation, I started a Mary Kay business, and found that for a company that preached family first, they sure expected me to spend a lot of time away from my babies. (I still feel incredible amounts of guilt for being brainwashed so easily. I also wonder if part of Anthony’s behavior stems from a lack of quality attention from his mother for his first two years, and it kills me that I might have prevented it had I not been so caught up with my business.) There was more television (them) and more computer (me), since both were in the family room and I could “monitor” my kids as they played. I was so used to spending all my time on the computer or phone, it became my new routine.
And the stuff piled up. House stuff, life stuff, guilt stuff… and it’s been suffocating me ever since.
I’ve decided that now is the time to reclaim my life. It may not ever be as simple or easy as it was when I was 10, but if I can recall the happiest times in my life and take good mental notes about what I was doing then, it will be a step in the right direction. I think I will be happier in general if I can streamline my life and make it more simple.
I like simple. Simple makes me happy. I want to get back to doing the simple things with my family, like craft projects, taking walks after dinner, reading stories and playing games. I’m thinking about quality activities that don’t take a lot of planning, but yield great results. I want to be able to spend some time doing the things I love, like needlework and reading and gardening and baking, and not have so much time sucked away by Facebook or Twitter or my Google Reader. I know better than to cut those things out altogether, because I really do enjoy them, but I need to do them in moderation, and free up more time to the other simple activities I enjoy, that I’ve neglected.
And the house… oh, my house… be ready. We’re going all FlyLady again. (Trust me– you’ll love it.)
This post is not the post I imagined in my mind. There is so much I feel like I didn’t say, it almost seems unfinished. However, in the interest of simplicity, I am going to call it good.