Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Finding My Rhythm

See the picture above? This is the library/office space in our apartment that I just finished cleaning and giving a little post holiday organizing. For the most part, this is what our home looks like, clean enough that I would feel fairly comfortable with just about anyone stopping by at any moment.  But here's the deal and a confession, . . . I am really NOT that organized, at least, not in every area of my life.

Oddly enough if you were to ask my friends to describe me, organized would probably be among the terms they would use, and I can see where that opinion, albeit an illusion, would stem from. Based upon the look of our home, it is fairly organized, at least, on the surface. And it is likewise true that I like to plan things in advance. I function best knowing what the days and weeks hold. I'm GREAT at planning! The downfall, and the reason I'm not really that organized is distraction. I can plan things all day long, and I LOVE planning, it's the carrying it out bit that gets a bit muddled. And while things do get done, so much of the time it's because I worked myself to a frenzy at the eleventh hour. Even then, for everything that does get accomplished, there are other things, often things that are important, that are left undone. All because I allowed other, less important things to distract me and chip away at my time.

Another thing about me is that I've also never been very good about keeping schedules. Such things have always left me feeling boxed in and rigid. But without them, well, you can probably guess.Yes, the sheets get changed, the laundry gets done, and no one is going hungry over here. As I mentioned previously, all the order such as is depicted in the picture above is maintained, just not exactly on a set time frame. Most things play out rather haphazardly. I've said for years that I'm too much of a free spirit for planners and schedules, and yet based upon the number of calendars and planners I've bought, printed, downloaded, even created myself, it's been apparent even to me that I need one. The problem for me is that I can't seem to find one that suits me, and then because it doesn't, I give up on the whole idea. I've tried so many, but typically what happens is I'll come across them weeks or months later, with **maybe** a few days penciled in and the rest, now outdated, wasted. My only defense, at least in recent years, is that for the most part its just me and my husband. The girls are grown, and while Kate is still living at home, she manages her own life, for the most part. We no longer home school, so there certainly isn't as much to manage as there was just a few short years ago. That being said, without a rhythm and routine to my days, I'm left feeling frustrated.

- Frustrated about the number of books I've bought over the years that still sit on the shelf (taking up space), and still unread. I say I don't have time to read, but the truth is that time is spent doing other things.

- Frustrated that I now own three containers of paprika because I didn't check the pantry first before buying all the ingredients for that recipe, that I'll probably make one time, because . . . . it's new, and we (as in me, I'm the picky eater over here!), probably won't like it anyway. All because I was busy doing other things to check to see what ingredients I needed or already had beforehand.

- Frustrated that we bought tickets for the opening weekend of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and then missed it by a week! I thought printing out the tickets and putting them on the refrigerator was enough to remind me. But at some point I got it in my head that we were going to see it the Saturday AFTER Thanksgiving, when it was actually the weekend before. Thankfully it mattered little to the theater, we had paid for the tickets, they got their money, and they were very accommodating. We ended up seeing it on Thanksgiving Day. BUT, if I penciled this in on a calendar or in a planner, or SOMEWHERE, that wouldn't have happened and all because . . .

. . . I was busy doing other things. These are just a few examples, and I could go on, but maybe this gives you an idea.

So what are these "other things" exactly? That answer is easy, social media! I have to confess and admit that it occupies far too much of my time. I honestly don't mean for it too, and when I explain to you exactly how this happens, maybe it will paint a better picture. I don't offer this as an excuse, because there is none. I'm really just thinking out loud here and trying to help myself, so if it interests you at all, stay with me. Maybe you struggle with some or all of this, too.

You see, another thing you should know about me is that I am a bit of a Rodgers and Hammerstein production, albeit on a Dollar Tree budget, well, most of the time. But please, don't ask me how much I overspent this year on Christmas!, I do get sucked in!  What I mean by this is that I like to suck the marrow out of life, I want to do ALL-THE-THINGS! For being as much of an introvert as I am, I do suffer from a pretty hefty case of FOMO (fear of missing out), but in my case, my fear is that I'm going to miss the absolute best recipe that could possibly exist for, oh, let's say wassail, and I want wassail for our Winter Solstice celebration. But in the end we don't have it at all, because . . . I was too busy scouring Pinterest for more ideas, or that carefully curated picture that one of the gazillion people I follow on Instagram looked so much better than what I was going to make! And then, before I realize it, it is THE day and, oh well, let's melt some cinnamon candy in our apple cider and call it a celebration! It's far from the lovely, intimate occasion I hoped and imagined it would be, and I'm left feeling a little empty and disappointed. In reality our solstice celebration was a little more involved than this, but you get the picture. For everything we did there were ten other ideas I had planned that didn't happen. But even as I write, I am thinking . . . honestly, how grand does it really have to be to be special, especially when it's typically for two people, and even more so because the one person all of this really matters the most to is me? My husband appreciates and participates, but he could just as easily live without all the pomp and circumstance. You think I need to lower my expectations and simplify? I think so!

When I look at our celebrations, such as The Winter Solstice, the things I did manage to achieve were for the most part traditions. I made our traditional Winter Solstice Stew, the same one I've made almost every year, that we love. So, why do I spend so-much-time on the internet looking at other recipes? Because, and here's probably the biggest culprit to my problem . . . I'm a perfectionist, and if there's a better recipe to be had out there, then by all means I want it. But can I just tell you that the two occasions when I tried that "better recipe", I regretted it and in the end wished I had just stuck with tradition. I may have to go back and re-read this post over and over again in the coming weeks to remind myself. . . . it's not about "better", it's about what is "best" for me/us.

I had the same struggle in our homeschooling years, because there were just so-many-choices and  opinions and philosophies, it was honestly mind-boggling. It left me anxious and afraid that I wasn't giving my children the best, or that I was doing it all wrong. In the end I took an entire summer and paired it all down to what worked for us and what we loved, and after that it flowed. Now I need to take that same wisdom from all those years ago and regroup.

I crave beauty and order and rhythm in my days. I love the rich meaning, traditions and celebrations that observing The Year of the Lord (The Liturgical Year), holds, and I especially love living seasonally, but I can't do it all, none of us can. The internet is a wonderful thing and it provides us with so much "scope for the imagination" as Anne would say. But for me, at least, I need to narrow my focus and decide what is best for me, and in so many cases, stick with what works and what I know. There's an old saying, why fix something that isn't broken?.

And so, as part of my "dwelling", I am prayerfully considering the rhythm of my days, beginning with the big picture and drawing from nature and the seasons, and then I'll be narrowing that down to what the months and then the days will hold. It's all a bit scrambled right now and while I have an idea of what the end result will look like, I'm still working through a lot of it, taking lots of notes, deleting things here, and keeping others. This includes things such as bookmarks on my computer, people I'm following on social media, because I don't need any more inspiration, or temptation to do more, or do it differently! And while daunting, this will ever so s-l-o-w-l-y include Pinterest. Do you know how much time I've spent building and filling those boards, and do you now how much of it I actually use, and then how much time it takes me to find what I want to use because of all of the other ideas I've pinned? It makes me tired just thinking about it. I briefly considered just deleting my Pinterest account, but there are a number of things that I do want to keep, just in a more tangible and easier  format, like a file on my computer, or I might get REALLY old fashioned and print some things out and make actual files! What a concept, right?

I feel like I'm starting to ramble now, and I don't want to go on much longer. I wish I could tell you more about what all this might translate to here in this space as I dwell, rest in the Lord, pair down, and look for ways to better manage my time, it will probably be a little of all of that, yet somehow, at least in my mind, it all makes sense and fits together. So if finding a rhythm to your days, months, seasons and years, developing routines that support that rhythm and living seasonally, and with intention perks your interest, you'll find a lot of here in the days and weeks ahead.  I will most likely stumble and fall, try and fail right here for the whole world to see, because I'm figuring so much of this out as I go, so I'll just plead for grace now!  And once again, if you've read this far, bless you! I hope you'll continue to visit and be blessed in my mess!

Until then,

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Yes, I just print mine out and have a file folder! As for recipes, I print that one copy out also, when I try it, if I like it I put it in my Recipe notebook, if not, I just throw it away, won't have to go through a ton of recipes on-line to remember or not. (But then I think am I wasting paper now? HA Ha! Too much stuff on Pinterest!!