And I get frustrated because that clutter-free life seems to elude me.
But it wasn’t always this way.
In my early years as an only child, I had hours and hours to read and create and discover.
When I was a young woman living on my own, I worked long, stressful shifts in a hospital, but I only worked 12 nights a month (full time!). I had a lot of free time, which I spent studying my Bible, writing, visiting friends, traveling, playing guitar, taking walks, going to concerts, lying on a blanket in the spring sun gazing up at the sky, and whatever else I felt like doing. And I didn’t feel guilty for any of it.
When my husband and I were newlyweds, we lived quite simply. The hours we weren’t working were filled with fun, relaxation, and travel. We didn’t have a lot of stuff (no basement full of junk!) so cleaning and de-cluttering was a breeze.
Even when our children were very young, life was simple. Yes, we had more clothes and toys to shuffle around, but our days had a pattern and rhythm that included only the essentials. That’s all we had time and strength to get done.
Then I started homeschooling and life became quite a bit more complicated. The house was littered with curriculum, experiments, sports paraphernalia, art projects, and costumes. My mind was littered with lesson plans, juggling our extremely busy calendar, my responsibilities at co-op, and the other nine million things mothers, wives, and homemakers have to handle. It seemed like every moment of the day was scheduled and we lived out of our car more than our house. (And people think homeschoolers aren’t socialized???).
Add to that teaching classes, freelance writing, editing, consulting, and public speaking. And the schedule got more cluttered, as did the house, and my mind. At times it was nearly unbearable. Yet, I trudged on because I convinced myself that this was really living.
Then technology took off like a rocket and I thought I’d never see the simple life again. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, smart phones, smart TVs. Stuff needed to be backed up, defragged, rebooted, protected, and updated constantly.
Now, here I am today an empty-nester. My house is littered with more junk than I’ve had in most years previously. (How did that happen?) I have so much variety that I have a hard time choosing even what to do with my life. I have time stretching out before me, but it seems to fill up with meaningless tasks as the days slip by so quickly. And now it’s my mind that needs to be defragged! The focus I once had is hard to come by anymore.
And I long for those simple days again.
I long to find my way back to a time when l worked hard and played hard and lived well.
As the saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
So I’m headed back to simple.
I’m not sure I fully know the way (and I’m not going to program a GPS to direct me!).
But I’m going to start by shushing the “shoulds” and the “musts” and the “ought tos” and the “have tos.”
I’m going to listen, really listen, to what my heart is telling me to do.
I’m going to take one simple step at a time.
Will you join me?