Direction Over Speed

I’m amazed, and frankly a little scared, at how fast time passes.  A lot has happened since I last wrote and yet somehow I can’t believe it’s been over a year.  2018 was in most ways a year like any other.  I worked, I ate, I laughed, I cried, I moved.  Ah, yes, the ever presenting moving.  It was also the year I turned 50.  That birthday so dreaded by many but also rightly celebrated. A milestone. The combination of its approach, an additional major life change and an unassuming little yellow book are what initially led to this blog.  I knew I wouldn’t complete the challenges by 50 but I’m ready to start again.  I’ve missed this endeavor.  The planning, the writing and the connection, not only to my faithful, supportive readers but to myself.  Two of my new guiding principles for 2019 fit nicely with this: live deliberately and direction over speed.  As I’ve written before, one of the benefits of this blog has been that it’s forced me to live more deliberately.

My subconscious has been busy trying to convince me that it’s been too long for me to pick up where I left off.  The ship has sailed, no one cares, you (shockingly) failed to finish something again.

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Rare sighting of my subconscious watching me write.

But, I’m in charge here and I want to pick up where I left off.  I’m choosing direction over speed.  As a military spouse I find this to be a difficult task.  We don’t feel like we get to choose the direction and once we land somewhere we have to act with speed, ever aware that time is precious and finite. The truth is that whatever the outside forces or internal whispers WE get to set the speed and direction of our lives. Obstacles just make it more challenging and interesting. I’ve said all of this to say, I’m back! There are many challenges ahead and I hope you are still with me. Let’s do this.

Before you go…Facebook has been reminding me that all 69 of you that liked my Before You Grow Up page haven’t heard from me in a while…I’m not sure if that’s supposed to motivate me or depress me but either way it worked.

Ok, I just realized that I’m the 69th person (or probably, more accurately, the 1st) so to the other 68 of you, thanks for reading.

Everything Must Go!

I’ve been in procrastination mode.  Unfortunately, that’s a fairly standard mode for me.  What needs to get done always gets done but I often require the pressure of a deadline.  The big deadline in my future is the move to California.  As deadlines go it’s not exactly looming.  As I write this I have about 7 weeks until my new best friends, the packers and movers, roll up to my house and touch everything I own.  But, this is a big job.  Getting ready for a move, especially after being in a house for four years, is a very big job indeed!  Now, for those of you who think that four years in a house is not a very long time, I will concede that you have a point.  However, for those of us who tend to pack up and move every two years, it is!  The challenge we are about to embark on meshes perfectly with my approaching deadline: DONATE YOUR OLD CLOTHES AND TOYS TO A CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION.

This certainly isn’t the first time we will be donating items.  And, it’s going to involve more than just clothes and toys.  Actually, I’d say every couple of months it seems like we drop off a box or two of clothing and other items that have outlived their usefulness in our lives.  You might think that people who move as much as we do would travel lightly.  Either our items are reproducing like rabbits or we just buy way too much stuff.  Regardless of how it’s gotten to this point, it’s time to take some action.

I started reading a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo which had been previously recommended to me by more than one person.  Confession:  I did not finish it.  I didn’t even get very far.  Not because it wasn’t good.  I may go back to it again at some point.  I just realized that while it seemed like the perfect time for just such a book it was actually the worst time.  At least for me.  I couldn’t even follow the bit of advice that made complete sense to me.  Kondo recommends tidying not by location (for example, your closet) but by category (clothing).    I think this makes a lot of sense and then I immediately did the opposite.  Reminiscent of when I signed up for a gym membership and immediately thought to myself, “I’m never coming back in here.”

The poor kids who are taking their cues from this book have no idea that this is not a singular task that they’ll never have to tackle again.  Little do they know they’ll be pitching stuff the rest of their lives!  Hopefully, they will try to donate and not just trash.  It helps with the guilt of having too much stuff.  Honestly, I’ll probably be pitching stuff up until my previously-mentioned mover friends arrive.  But, I’m motivated and that’s half the battle.  Rachel and I got a good start on the garage a couple of weekends ago.  Our goal was to get her things organized and ready for Lee to move them to Greensboro for her post-college apartment.  We finished that task…now I just need to finish the rest.

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So, is it spring cleaning time at your house?  Are you a pack rat or a minimalist?  I think I’m somewhere in the middle.  Do you have favorite organizations for your donations?  When we lived in Northern Virginia the Military Order of the Purple Heart would put a postcard in our mailbox to let us know when their trucks would be in our area.  All we had to do was let them know (online) if we’d have something to pick up and then put it at the curb. That’s how I like it.  Convenient and easy…like pizza delivery.

Before you go…if you have a hard time deciding what to give away and what to keep, I have a plan for you.  Put your items in boxes.  Stack the boxes in the corner of your garage. Wait four years.  Dust off the cobwebs.  Presto…donations!

Oh, and if your items (or books!) are themselves covered with cobwebs or mouse droppings or have gotten wet, please just throw them away!  No charitable organization (or library!) wants them.  Trust me.