Friday, December 9, 2016

Keep It Simple Sweetheart

"Life is simple, but we insist on making it complex."

I think most people would understand were we to choose not to decorate for the holidays this year.  Coming off a rough month for both of us, we are weary.  But having had to forego our Thanksgiving tradition with friends, and having spent so much time last year organizing decorations for an easier holiday this year, we decided to go ahead, albeit more simply.  

So, our Christmas tree, a bit smaller than last year's, is up, decorated and topped with our traditional angel.  The mantel, with fewer ornaments than last year, is lovely nonetheless.  A few of our other decorations rest in their usual spots - not ready yet to give up my Santa collection or the large bowls of beautiful ornaments.  But several items are destined now for other homes and newer memories.  Simpler, not abandoned.

The effort has been well worth it.  First, decorating together is just plain fun and it was rewarding to see that my efforts last year were worth it.  Not only fun, but easier than usual. Secondwe both love the look and feel of our home at the holidays and would have missed it. Third, while almost everyday brings new information, new challenges, a new normal, this is a cherished piece of the old normal.  Fourth, when there is so much out of our control, decorating, (and deciding what to let go), is something we can control.  

Most valuable, however, has been the recognition that not only do we need to simplify our home for easier maintenance and a calmer environment, but we would benefit from simplifying our efforts, our habits and routines as well. This is a project to do together and one that will keep us on focused on the here and now, rather than worry and fret over a future we can't control.

So, we've started, not just to be better organized or reduce clutter (a goal I've been working on ever since we merged two homes into one), but to simplify, to make easier to manage, to reduce maintenance and effort, to reduce the complexities. A different set of criteria. 

After only one week, we have made a small dent, and it's already clear that this will take a different way of thinking.  We will do well to remember why we are doing this.  We will have to focus on what we are gaining rather than what we are letting go.  We will have to pace ourselves, to keep our approach and strategies simple, too.  One collection, one box, one cupboard, one drawer, one pile of papers.  Our mantra...keep it simple sweetheart.

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