The Road So Far

Cue up “Carry On My Wayward Son”… because that’s how you end the season

Yeah, I know. Everyone and their dog is doing a year end wrap up/review kind of post.

This isn’t one of them. Especially since it’s January 6th (or whenever it is you’re reading this).

Since this blog is mainly for me to keep myself accountable, to make notes of what’s working and what isn’t, and maybe help someone along the way, I’m just gonna share what sticks out in my brain from the last month or two. And being perfectly honest, That’s about as much as I can remember – darn leaky memory center.

Anywho, these last two months have basically been consumed with our house and our stuff. Specifically, packing up nearly all of our stuff, moving it out of the house, then moving back it back in. Not only that, I was looking for a way to keep the house tidy once we started bringing things back in. The Pack Up and Unpacking was a project, but we were still living here day to day and have a tendency to pile things on any flat surface.

A small bit of backstory that I touched on in a previous post: I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I was all in. I even printed the amazing, detailed list that was put together by Laura at HowtoGYST (sign up for her newsletter and get access to lots of great printables and content). I plowed through the first bit – clothes, books and papers. Then I stalled – the Komono category is huge and I was exhausted, so we put it off until we were forced back into it.

So here’s 5 things that I learned along the way:

  1. It gets easier. Really. Decluttering is really, really difficult for those of us who never learned that it was ok (or necessary) to let go of things. I was raised with an abundance of stuff, and things we held on to Just In Case. I struggled a lot when I first got going. There were a lot of efforts, but nothing really stuck. I don’t know what changed this time, but I know I was really ready to make a shift, and I sought out ways to help me accomplish it. I first thought that Marie Kondo was smoking something when she said that you need to discard things in the right order. Now I realize tackling things with minimal emotional attachment first, and then working your way up to things that have more emotional meaning helps you strengthen the decluttering muscle. At first I really wasn’t ready to face some of the sentimental items that cropped up in the random piles of stuff. Now I’m (mostly) able to recognize if something will truly bring me joy, and I can keep it and find a way to treasure it; or if I’m only holding on to it because of guilt.  It’s also easier to keep the house clean when there’s less stuff as well, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
  2. It’s even easier with help. I am SO very lucky to have a supportive spouse who wants a tidy home as much as I do. I also started without him. This was initially my project, and something I was doing for me, and I had waaaay more stuff than he did. And as I was looking for ways to keep the house in order, I started implementing them without really talking about it. Again, I was doing it for me, but to bless us with a sink that’s not overflowing with dishes, with laundry that’s caught up, etc. When you do things that are “chores” but do them without complaint, sometimes the people in your home will notice. They may even start doing things on their own. There’s even a chance they’ll do it without asking. Don’t count on it, but it can happen.
  3. Put that thing back where it came from! This is huge… I’ve know it, but forget about it and have to be reminded. When you get something out: put it back. Don’t leave it where you were using it, because next time you need it you won’t be able to find it and it will make you super grumpy, and may cause a rage purge/cleaning session. Ask me how I know…
  4. It’s the little things. It takes one* monumental effort to declutter your home, to find places for the items that you are choosing to keep and breathe that sigh of relief as the house is all tidy. It takes lots of little efforts every day to keep things tidy. The first step is the project, it takes habits to maintain it. Loading and unloading the dishwasher; wiping the counters; picking up the pile of papers on the counter and dealing with them; washing, folding and putting the clothes away; vacuuming the dust bunnies before they breed (the life cycle from speck to full blown breeding adult is 2 weeks. You’re welcome); etc… all these things take a little effort every day to deal with. As a spoonie, that effort can seem huge, but the nice thing is that with the work we’ve done so far, even skipping a day doesn’t have the disastrous impact it used to.  
  5. Find your muse/teacher/taskmaster. It’s super important to find one or more people that inspire you, help you focus, keep you on task, motivate you to keep moving through the roadblocks you face. I’ve shared some of mine, but here are a few more to peruse. These are mostly YouTube Channels, but most have a corresponding blog if you prefer to read, rather than watch.

The Messy Minimalist

Abundantly Minimal

Break the Twitch

Clutterbug

How about you? Who inspires you? What lessons have you learned along the way?

See you next time!

*One being a relative term. It may take several sessions to finally go through every item, but in general, this is a one time thing.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I’ll make a small commission.

How I spent My Holiday Vacation

Oh sure… I had grand plans of sharing a post of all the things I’ve learned this past few months. There was going to be some great insights, fun references, and much in the way of reflecting.

But that’s not happening. At least not today.

Because the photo above is a pretty accurate representation of how I spent my holiday. Yeah, we got lots of sh*t done around the house and finished a pretty huge project that entailed going through 90% of our stuff, discarding a LOT of items… like 3+ car loads worth to GoodWill, and several other items to good friends of ours..

Marie Kondo would have been proud.

I also had an extraordinary amount of time off during the holidays. Which was awesome and amazing… and also awful.

You see, I get really twitchy when I’m off more than 3 days in a row. There’s something weird in my wiring, but with 5 days off in a row over Christmas, I was about ready to climb the walls. Yeah, we had projects to keep us busy, and plans, and blah blah blah.  But I’m a creature of habit and too many days away from my usual routine and I’m one grumpy monkey.

But lets go back to that picture, shall we?

3 key elements: The Chromebook, The Puppeh (that’s Winchester), and The Heating Pad.

They have been my constant companions these past many mornings. If I can’t sleep or am up early, most likely my back is also twitchy. That means I’m on the couch, with The Heating Pad, and the Winchester is usually there to keep me company. If I’m not doing my journaling, I’m maybe banging out a few words on the Chromebook or otherwise occupying myself with… something.

I like to forget that I’m a spoonie. I like to forget that I have a few chronic illnesses that make days a little more challenging. But the reality is: most days I wake up in pain. Not near the level of some folks, but enough for me to have difficulty moving, standing up straight. Little things.

I’ve learned to live with my limits, and forget that I need to rein things in even more at times like this.

I want to end the passing of another 365 days with a bang, but some years, it ends as a whimper.

This year, for example.

Right now the hubby (also a spoonie with severe Fibromyalgia) is snoozing on the couch. Not a happy, content snooze. Rather, it’s a snooze that he should have gone back to bed a few hours after he got up, but didn’t. A snooze that his pain level jumped from a 4 to an 8 by 9 am and he had to chase the pain and didn’t catch up.

Both of us are feeling the effects of the weird high pressure cold front that moved in a few hours ago, and have put us both on the couch.

I would love to say we’re still going out and going to bring in the New Year with a bang.

We aren’t.

We may not even enjoy our New Year’s Dinner until tomorrow. And I certainly am not going to have an awesome amazing post for you until sometime in the next few days.

 

That’s the joy of being a Spoonie. You get to re-learn your limits every day (sometimes several times a day), and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Every day is an opportunity to reflect. Every day is a chance to evaluate.

The body and pain level doesn’t abide by the turning of the calendar, and I shouldn’t need to, either.

So, my dear readers: Be well. Be Safe. Be happy.

See you on the flip side.

Merry Christmas

This time of year, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle, the bustle, the have to’s and need to’s. Some folks thrive on this and prepare all year for the final hurrah of the year.

 

I’m really, really not one of them.

 

I never have really been that “into” Christmas – there’s many reasons for it, some reserved for my therapist. For the most part, though, I endure.  With the loss of my dad and several friends, it’s harder and harder to find the joy in the season.

 

There are a few things that I do look forward to at this time of year: The (original!) Grinch, Charlie Brown’s Christmas Special, and songs like the one below.

 

This song resonates with me because it reminds me that having a light heart is a choice, and something to seek, and we find it in faithful friends and family.

 

So from my little family to yours: Have yourself a very, merry little Christmas.

 

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Music composed by Hugh Martin, lyrics by Ralph Blane

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,

Let your heart be light

From now on,

our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,

Make the Yule-tide gay,

From now on,

our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,

Happy golden days of yore.

Faithful friends who are dear to us

Gather near to us once more.

Through the years

We all will be together,

If the Fates allow

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.

And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

 

Image courtesy of Clipart Library

Hitting The Wall

Had to share a bit of my ‘journey’: I hit a wall recently. And I hit it hard. I even mostly saw it coming and brazenly thought, “not this time wall, I see you and I’m gonna avoid you completely so neeeaahhh!”

Did you know that walls can move? And they laugh. It’s an evil laugh, too.

Short story: A few Saturday’s ago was our agency Christmas party that required a 4 hour round trip drive in silly traffic, to slightly mingle with people I don’t know for 2 hours. But we came, we schmoozed with the big bossman, ate his food, and were otherwise seen, which was the point.

I’d been down this road before and purposefully didn’t plan a lot for Sunday.

But that about flattened both the hubby and I. And I had sh*t to do!

I plannernated for the morning, putzed and did what I could for the day, and prevented the house from getting set on fire (note to self: Do NOT let the hubby cook dinner when he is crashing worse than me.) I call it a win.

Why am I sharing this? Because, again, I need to serve as a warning to others 😉 and a reminder:

Day’s like this einforces and proves, time and time again, that something is better than nothing. And doing something, not ALL the things, is just fine. And doing it now, is MUCH better than later.

Wanted to share this post – because ya’ll know I have much purple love for the FlyLady. She started me on the path of decluttering and doing it now and all the things… but thinking that Ms Dana White is my long lost soul sistah stalker because she totally wrote about my life!

https://www.aslobcomesclean.com/…/decluttering-and-cleanin…/

Takeaway points:

“For those who live with chronic illness, though, adjusting expectations is often a matter of grieving. You pictured your life/home being a certain way, and had no idea that chronic pain or exhaustion or sickness would be your reality.

“Accepting your new, unwanted normal is hard.”

and

“Don’t Leave Anything to Do Later

“When energy is fleeting and unpredictable, the “take it there now” principle upon which so many of my decluttering strategies hinge is key. It’s everything, really.

“I make more progress, real progress, visible and sustainable progress . . . when I eliminate halfway points. When I avoid procrastination stations.”

🤔 I may have read that somewhere. 😀

Point of all this is: always remember it’s ok to take your time and go at 1/15th speed because you’re still going.

🦄 on!

Some Days The Dragon Wins

Image: Some Days The Dragon Wins, Jody Bergsma.

I’ve had this print or years and totally love it. I can’t remember where I got it. I was probably lured in by the purples used, and the fact that there is a cute dragon. It most likely came into my life when I was starting the phase of loving all things dragons and unicorns and elves and other fantasy related images. I’ve hung on to it for several reason, not the least of which is a reminder that, indeed, the dragon will occasionally win.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Living life with a chronic illness is… interesting. There’s lots of different ways to describe it – the best is The Spoon Theory from Christine Miserandino, aka The Spoonie Momma – and there’s a lot of ways a chronic illness will manifest in a person’s life, and most of those ways are unseen. In my life, my illness(es) is the Dragon. It’s something that I live in blissful ignorance of, pretending it doesn’t exist. I mean, I take my thyroid medication every day (and panic when there’s a change or a shortage and I may run out), but I pretend that everything is fine. I’m fine.

I make sure that I follow a way of eating that supports my body. I keep to a schedule that makes sure I don’t over do it, and that I get enough rest. Essentially: I try to control all the factors to keep pretending the dragon doesn’t exist.

Except it does.

Living that life can be boring and isolating. Living that life means I get up, go to work, come home, do a few things, go to bed and repeat. Living that life means the hubby and I can get very stir crazy at times. So we change things up and go and do and see and push the envelope.

We did that this weekend – we did more around the house than usual because it was necessary, then we went out and had a lovely day perusing a holiday market. And I ended up on the couch at 3 am, in near tears because my low back decided to flare up, triggering some wicked sciatica pain that made it so I could barely stand. Then other parts of my body decided to join the party. I couldn’t think straight because of the pain, and lack of sleep. I could barely talk straight because my brain couldn’t find the words. Essentially, I was a mess.

The Dragon won the day.

The most frustrating part of things like this is that there’s stuff to do. I had plans, I was supposed to go to work and then had tasks to do at home. I feel like I’m letting people down, and most of all I let myself down. I beat myself up for “letting this happen”, or berate myself for breaking my routine. The truth is, this may have happened regardless if we went out, or did things in the yard or around the house.

Lest you think this is all “poor me”, there is an upside to this.

I have routines in place, and schedules that I follow. Those things mean that the house was in decent-ish shape before the Dragon took me down. Those things also mean that I was able to partially keep up with the routines when I had a moment of energy. It meant I could dump dinner in the Instant Pot and go sit back down for the next 2 hours without having to worry about opting for take out, which would probably set my body back another couple of days. 

It doesn’t mean I ‘m a failure, or that everything is completely derailed. It would be so easy to go down that road and use one interruption to let everything slide for months. But there’s no need for that. Yes, many things were put on hold for the day, but we’ll get back to them. Same for the days that the hubby is flattened by his Dragon. Either things get put on hold for another day, or one of us picks up the slack. We choose grace over grumbling. Ok, there’s usually some grumbling, but we try to cover it with a bit of grace. hee hee.

It also has reaffirmed that the routines that I’m working to keep in place are more important. It reminds me to do things when I can, so I don’t have to worry about it when I can’t. It also reminds me that I’m on a long and windy road to “being better” that will take me places I can only imagine.

Deep Thoughts

Prompted by Laura at HowtoGYST.com, I’ve been doing journaling in the form of “morning pages” on a fairly consistent (for me… which means 5 out of 7 days, which is pretty darn awesome!) For those not in the know (I was one), morning pages are a concept that was put forth in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (just so ya know, this is an affiliate link… I may earn a few pennies from purchases made from this link) (and before you ask, I haven’t read the book, but it’s on my list). It’s essentially a brain dump first thing in the morning where you just write whatever pops in your head for 3 pages.

It’s been a boring, wonderful, awful process… basically, it’s my therapy in the form of writing. And this morning, some deep stuff came up today, part of it mirrored the conversation the hubby and I had this morning.

But I’m going to digress for a moment (Best grab a cuppa… this is gonna be long)

This whole Great House Pack Up and Purge has brought to light lessons that I apparently need to keep learning over and over… and over again. So let me share it with you so you (hopefully) don’t have to keep learning, and it can actually stick long enough for you to make it part of your life.

1) If I feel called to do something. DO IT. And FINISH IT! Don’t start the project and then put off the rest of it till ‘later’ and then get annoyed at myself for letting it sit and sit. Eventually I’m going to have to finish it, but it won’t be on my terms, it will most likely be because of some crisis/rage purge and I won’t be allowed the luxury of being able to make decisions based on joy. It will be a harsh yes or no (usually no) and the emotional upheaval down the road will be greater.

2) Decluttering and discarding is only part of the equation for having a home that hugs you back. It’s a HUGE part of it, to be sure. FlyLady says right out of the gate: You can’t organize clutter. [ETA: I’m re-reading Marie Kondo’s book, and she says basically the same thing] It just keeps getting in the way till you finally deal with it (aka evict it from your life.) And clutter is just delaying the decision. We’ve discarded a lot up to this point, but holy cats we have a lot of things that we’ve put off making decisions on till “later” (there’s that word again!) Guess what… later will decide when it’s time, not you.

3) Habits are the crucial other part of the home hugging equation. You can have a messy home no matter how much stuff you do or don’t have if you don’t have a process/system/habit in place to keep things from getting messy again. Repeat after me: Don’t leave it till … when? Later?! Exactly!! Do. It. NOW.

The hubby and I talked briefly about it this morning, how there needs to be things that are non-negotiable have to’s each day to force those habits to establish themselves to keep our living space tidy and have easy access to clean nooks and crannies where creepy crawlies will take up residence. Laundry needs to be folded and put away right away, dishes need to be either washed or put in the machine and then it needs to be emptied to be refilled and start the process all over. Dusting, vacuuming and (bleh) mopping needs to be done very regularly. Yes these things take time and precious spoons, but my writing therapy epiphany from this morning reminded me: there’s a price to be paid for what I spend my time on.

What do I mean?

Option: I can spend time coming home and parking on the couch binge watching Netflix for the evening, because I’m tired and worked hard so I deserve to, instead of spending 15-30 minutes doing some ‘chore’ such as dishes, laundry, cleaning the toilet, etc. I’ve conserved some energy, and I’ll do those things “later”.

Result: After a few days of that, I have to spend 2 hours catching up because I can’t get to the sink, or a spare bit of counter, and there’s no undies and all my work clothes are laying rumpled in the laundry basket. And then end up crashed on the couch because I did too much.

Option: I can spend 15-30 minutes of time when I get home doing something that is part of a habit or routine that blesses my home, keeps things from slipping into chaos, etc.

Result: Doing stuff now on my terms and not having to worry about when the shoe will drop “later.”

So, dear Unicorns, the moral of the story is this: Please learn from what The Universe has deemed AFOG* – _find_ the time to declutter/discard what is clogging up your home (don’t worry about getting it right on the first round… you’ll have other opportunities down the road to keep clearing away the excess), and also develop the habits you need to keep your home running smoothly.

💖🦄💖

*AFOG: Another F*cking Opportunity for Growth. It’s what happens when you know there’s a lesson to learn and you have a choice: stay the same, or accept you need to learn something and allow it to change you so you can grow into who you need to be.

Getting a lot of those lately and it’s a little tiring. 😁

Situation: Normal; All F*cked Up.

Bless me dear non-existent readers. It has been over 6 years since my last post

Over the past 6 years, I’ve been tempted to re-vist and reboot this blog. But it never seemed the right time to pour things out. Partly because so much has changed in the last few years, that the previous focus of the blog doesn’t apply as much. Well, in a way it does because I’ve always held the platform that it’s all related – change in your life uses the same principles, and it doesn’t matter where you find the inspiration as long as it helps reinforce the changes you’re making, and also clears the path in front of you.

But the time is right for now, so I’m jumping in.

I won’t rehash the last 6 years, because if I did, we’d be here for days and days, and I don’t have the brain power or memory to go over that… but here’s the highlights:

  • Lost a few people that I loved and were very close to, including my dad. Some were lost  to “natural” causes, some because life became too much.
  • I crashed. I burned out. I had a breakdown. Whatever you want to call it, I overdid and my body all but shut down on me. Adrenals, thyroid, hormones – all crashed and went haywire.
  • I got a ‘new’ diagnosis to go with my hypothyroidism and chronic fatigue: Fibromyalgia.
  • My best friend, followed by my husband got diagnosed before me with Fibromyalgia.
  • My husband, after 2 years, was finally approved for SSDI
  • We moved from our town house in the middle of everything, to an older home, out in the middle of nowhere. There’s some good and bad, but it’s also allowed us some peace, quiet, and puppies.
  • I had to leave a job I loved of 10+ years, to take a job I hated for a year, to bring me to a job I love for the last 2 years.
  • My focus became less on “getting fit” and “losing weight” to just surviving and attempting to heal. Now that I’m at a point of healing inside and out. Now that’s my focus – finding what works for the husband and I, to bring about healing to our physical bodies, our physical spaces, and our emotional lives

I’m sure there’s a whole lot more, and some will be touched upon as we go, but that kind of brings things up to speed.

So… how do I move forward? Well, like many people, I’m using my blog for accountability. If you learn something along the way, that’s awesome, but in general this is my space to blab on about what’s going on with me, what I’m focusing on, and what I’m learning along the way. I realized that the timing to jump back in was right when I started to use one of the FB groups I’m on as my personal blog… Yeah, they are super supportive, but seriously, it’s not my group. LOL!

What now? I have no idea, but I do know that what’s been knocking around my brain is to share what I’m doing to bring about the above mentioned healing. And I’m starting now – in December. Not in January when all the cool kids do it. Because I know that if I wait, it’ll never happen. If I start now, I’ll have some better footing to keep going.

What am I working on? For the last 18-ish months, the hubs and I have been on a declutter kick. I read the Marie Kondo book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I totally drank the Kool-aid and jumped in. It’s the first time in my LIFE that I’ve been able to release my stuff into the wild without a second thought. It has been amazing.

But I’ve floundered. I’ve stopped and started. I didn’t complete some categories. Then life happened and I just stopped. Then life happened that’s forced us to pack up of our belongings for a mass exterminator project in the house. And now we’re forced really cull through what is worth keeping, and what isn’t. Which is where we are now.

I decided that, for the month of December, my goal is to get the house put back together and also established habits that keep the house from spiraling out of control. Also, with the abundance of stuff, I’m working on using up what I have.

So far it’s working.

What’s been helping me on this path are these resources:

As I said, I’ll be sharing what I learn, things I’ve done, and other random bits of info, on a schedule that my spoonie brain and time allow. And I will be considering if the blog will stay put, or move to some other platform.

Till then, Monkey on!

POSTED BY STEPHANIE FLAGG HANLEY AT 8:27 AM NO COMMENTS: 

LABELS: ACCOMPLISHMENTSBASICSFOLLOW-UPLESSONLIFEUPDATE

Situation: Normal; All F*cked Up.

Bless me dear non-existent readers. It has been over 6 years since my last post
Over the past 6 years, I’ve been tempted to re-vist and reboot this blog. But it never seemed the right time to pour things out. Partly because so much has changed in the last few years, that the previous focus of the blog doesn’t apply as much. Well, in a way it does because I’ve always held the platform that it’s all related – change in your life uses the same principles, and it doesn’t matter where you find the inspiration as long as it helps reinforce the changes you’re making, and also clears the path in front of you.
But the time is right for now, so I’m jumping in.
I won’t rehash the last 6 years, because if I did, we’d be here for days and days, and I don’t have the brain power or memory to go over that… but here’s the highlights:
  • Lost a few people that I loved and were very close to, including my dad. Some were lost  to “natural” causes, some because life became too much. 
  • I crashed. I burned out. I had a breakdown. Whatever you want to call it, I overdid and my body all but shut down on me. Adrenals, thyroid, hormones – all crashed and went haywire.
  • I got a ‘new’ diagnosis to go with my hypothyroidism and chronic fatigue: Fibromyalgia.
  • My best friend, followed by my husband got diagnosed before me with Fibromyalgia.
  • My husband, after 2 years, was finally approved for SSDI 
  • We moved from our town house in the middle of everything, to an older home, out in the middle of nowhere. There’s some good and bad, but it’s also allowed us some peace, quiet, and puppies.
  • I had to leave a job I loved of 10+ years, to take a job I hated for a year, to bring me to a job I love for the last 2 years.
  • My focus became less on “getting fit” and “losing weight” to just surviving and attempting to heal. Now that I’m at a point of healing inside and out. Now that’s my focus – finding what works for the husband and I, to bring about healing to our physical bodies, our physical spaces, and our emotional lives
I’m sure there’s a whole lot more, and some will be touched upon as we go, but that kind of brings things up to speed.
So… how do I move forward? Well, like many people, I’m using my blog for accountability. If you learn something along the way, that’s awesome, but in general this is my space to blab on about what’s going on with me, what I’m focusing on, and what I’mlearning along the way. I realized that the timing to jump back in was right when I started to use one of the FB groups I’m on as my personal blog… Yeah, they are super supportive, but seriously, it’s not my group. LOL!
What now? I have no idea, but I do know that what’s been knocking around my brain is to share what I’m doing to bring about the above mentioned healing. And I’m starting now – in December. Not in January when all the cool kids do it. Because I know that if I wait, it’ll never happen. If I start now, I’ll have some better footing to keep going.
What am I working on? For the last 18-ish months, the hubs and I have been on a declutter kick. I read the Marie Kondo book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I totally drank the Kool-aid and jumped in. It’s the first time in my LIFE that I’ve been able to release my stuff into the wild without a second thought. It has been amazing.
But I’ve floundered. I’ve stopped and started. I didn’t complete some categories. Then life happened and I just stopped. Then life happened that’s forced us to pack up of our belongings for a mass exterminator project in the house. And now we’re forced really cull through what is worth keeping, and what isn’t. Which is where we are now.
I decided that, for the month of December, my goal is to get the house put back together and also established habits that keep the house from spiraling out of control. Also, with the abundance of stuff, I’m working on using up what I have.
So far it’s working.
What’s been helping me on this path are these resources:
As I said, I’ll be sharing what I learn, things I’ve done, and other random bits of info, on a schedule that my spoonie brain and time allow. And I will be considering if the blog will stay put, or move to some other platform.
Till then, Monkey on!

Cleaning House

No, this isn’t about me checking out French Maid costumes for halloween…

Yesterday was my birthday – I celebrated the 13th anniversary of my 30th year. 🙂 I’m not sharing this tidbit for attention seeking purposes (though you /know/ I’m more than happy to get well wishes to extend my b-day celebration for as long as I can. LOL!) It’s more of the fact that it’s got me into a contemplative mood… Because, you know, that’s such a rare thing for me. NOT! LOL!!

Anywho, I got an email that really hit home today: “Debt is a terrible liar, insisting that while you don’t have the money today, you’ll have it next month. Or the next. Debt keeps you stuck in the past, always stealing from the future.” Debt-Proof Living/Mary Hunt

Couple that with my devotional on my birthday being about about taking care of my Temple… you know, treating the body as a Temple and actually taking care of it so that I’m of use to not only myself, but to my friends, family, employers, strangers, etc. But also looking at the bigger temple: all the things that I’ve been entrusted with and how I’m taking care of it: money, debt, my house, the stuff in it, the relationships I have, etc.

Thinking about finances, poor health, bad eating choices, clutter… It’s all a form of debt. And debt is a form of clutter that stands between who you are right now, and who you are meant to be. Doing/buying/eating something today that you may not have the means to deal with, but are hoping/rationalizing that tomorrow you’ll be able to take care of it.

I know for me, I’ll commit to doing something today, or overbook myself during the week thinking I’ll catch up on the much needed rest and housework on the weekend, only to wake up at 6 am on Saturday and find my day already booked with odds and ends… and that leaves me dragging on Monday to start the cycle all over.

Or I’ll have a plan for dinner but by the time I’ve gotten home after all the little things that I’ve had to do, it flies out the window as fast as I can say ‘double-double-protein style and I promise to make dinner tomorrow!’

We’ve all heard over and over again that the one true way to get out of debt and stay out of debt is to live below your means. Don’t spend all you have by following a basic rule of saving 10%, giving away (donating, tithing, whatever you want to call it) 10% and learning to live on the rest.

Oh hey, that’s an 80/20 rule.

Living below your means takes on a new meaning when you apply it to not only the money you have, but also the choices you make about how you spend your time and energy. If you “spend” more time and energy than you can afford on things that leave you drained, then it takes that energy away from things that bring you joy.

When you spend more money than you make, you’re overdrawn.

When you live below your means – spend only 80%, you’ve created margin; a cushion that helps you face the unpredictable crises that arise in life.

When you over extend yourself physically or emotionally, you’re burned out.

When you chose to say no to a few things, and go to bed at a reasonable hour, you’ll start to create an emotional margin where you have energy to do what you need to do.

When I’m stressed and overworked, I opt to go spend money I don’t really have on stuff that I don’t really need because it’s easier than figuring out how to make do with what I already have… then I have clutter that keeps me stuck.

When I’m rested, I’m more mindful, and am more than content with I have, and I also see the overabundance all around me, and it’s easier to let go of the things that helps me find a little bit of peace and freedom.

When I eat the way that makes me feel awesome 80% of the time, I have energy move, and the body clutter (ie excess fat) tends to leave on it’s own without much of a fight, the 20% of random, celebratory, travel eating doesn’t have the negative impact that it could. (Think we all know what happens when I/we do the opposite!)

While it’d be much more fun to prance around in a maid outfit with a feather duster, I’m gonna be working on the clutter that can’t really be seen.

So how about you? What’s your halloween costume going to be this year? Any clutter in your life need removing? How long do you keep your birthday celebrations going?