Stand near an elementary school’s doors just as class gets out. Don’t stand too close–you’re likely to get trampled! Kids are dashing to the swing set, the waiting school bus, the soccer field, their moms’ cars, or no where in particular. Coats are getting tugged. Backpacks are flung. Shouts. Squeals. Constant chatter. Just the thought of all that chaos makes me feel a little exhausted. You too?
It’s kind of ironic, though, because if I were to step back from my own life, I do believe I’d be seeing the exact same type of whirlwind–running errands, working, washing clothes, cleaning the kitchen, attending appointments … I thought my lifestyle was “simple.” My home in an airplane hangar is very small. Huh. I thought I strove to live in less chaos so that I could embrace everyday beauty. How did I forget that in all this busyness of my routine?
Okay, I actually know exactly how I let things get out of control. One thing just lead to another. I kept adapting and adding one more thing to my lives. Sometimes, we forget to subtract what we don’t need. Just like our homes need a good decluttering sometimes, our daily lives can often use one, too.
These are ways I regularly check back in to shed some of the hectic:
1. Go away.
Spending a weekend out of town is a magical formula. So are vacations. (The picture above was from a longer getaway that my husband and I enjoyed before our son was born.) Will you still be working? Probably. But so many of the day-to-day things you normally deal with will be gone. You might actually spent less time working but produced better results. The same goes for personal things. Laundry still has to be done. Dishes still need to be washed. But you won’t have bills, knocks on the door, appointments, commitments, or schedules like you have at home. Now as a parent, even a family weekend just at my parents’ house does wonders. That’s when I start thinking. “Hey, that process doesn’t work as well as it could. What could I do better? What could I eliminate?”
2. Remember passions.
What makes you feel alive? What makes you happy when you pause to do it? Those fun things are the first items we eliminate when life is busier, aren’t they? When’s the last time you crafted, went to a movie, or attended a class?
Pencil them into your week. Not your day. Your week. Trust me. If you want something to happen, you have to tell yourself that you have time for it. The unimportant busy things will find a way to disappear.
3. Celebrate exactly who and where you are.
I’ll tell you a secret. The best way for me to tune into what I really need is to journal. I use a writing prompt journal from Gadanke to really focus on intentional writing and thinking. Blank pages can often lead me into a rabbit hole of lengthy descriptions of what’s wrong in my world. We all need a space to celebrate ourselves, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. Right now, I’m using this introspective journal.
Life would be very plain if we were all the same. How would we find excitement during the first glimmers of connection with a stranger or soon-to-be love if our hearts were molded identically? Where would we begin to dream? Ultimately, that’s the most important thing. Sometimes, all that chaos is us trying to what we think we’re supposed to do.
The only thing you’re supposed to do is your very best, and that’s however you define it.