Hello there friends!
Oy, it's been a while. We went on our three-month sabbatical last autumn and, among other things, we used it to really disconnect from our old defaults, routines, and commitments. I stopped writing and doing a lot of things I normally do to see where it would take me. And since we got back, after the holidays, we've been slowly adding things back in.
Hmm, this sounds so still and luxurious. While it was an amazing opportunity, this trip and these intentions included constant supervision of an 18-month-old ;)
I've been wanting to write an update here (though I kind of forgot how to blog :D) and a few other posts to share what's shifted for us, understanding that about 90% of my days are pretty much still the same. Certain aspects of life have gotten a lot more joyful while others have gotten more challenging. SO, SOME UPDATES FOR OUR DAYS IN 2018:
1. Our one-word theme for 2017 was “soul” and what a way to experience that through long journeys, some solo travel, exotic food and music, and months spent in very old buildings in Spain. 2017 really shook things up for me (which was incredibly unsettling for my personality ;) but I did feel expansion, new depths, and even some darkness.
Looking to lift that energy this year, my word for 2018 became "lively"! I was thinking joy, playfulness, color, vitality. I'm loving it.
2. As soon as "lively" came to me, so did Jess Lively! I've followed her on and off but took a huge hiatus during maternity leave. I picked back up on her podcasts during the end of the sabbatical and then joined Flow With Intention Online in February. The day I committed to the course was one of the best days and I've loved watching her energy and coaching. This work was so in line with all of the disruptions I had caused to my routines and habits... in a good way!
3. I've tried to practice and teach keeping only the 9's and 10's in life or the "Heck Yes's"! Motherhood has challenged this for me (less with stuff and more with commitments) so the Flow class reemphasized the concept. I now mostly focus on doing joyful things or things I can respond "with pleasure" to. What a gift.
4. Another main concept I have been leaning towards and which the class reinforced was that of a more casual and flexible morning routine. Back when I was sick and later had too many projects going on, my morning routine was a savior. It seriously made every single day better. But of course, it completely shifted after having a baby, nursing all night, and focusing on survival. We had routines but nothing very nourishing. On sabbatical, we felt this lack even more. Now I'm back to being proactive about my mornings but they're completely focused on joy and what will make me feel good at the moment. It changes regularly... I usually read fiction for a bit, play with Islo, cook a nourishing breakfast, and try to get some time to myself. I'm working on reincorporating regular meditation.
5. I've even started to set aside a part of naptime for movie watching!!! This felt like a crazy luxury a year ago but now it's regular and I love the lightness it brings to my afternoons.
6. I MISSED MEAL PLANNING! We all did, like so much. On the sabbatical, we were hangrier, ate less healthy, spent a lot more money on food, and enjoyed dining out a lot less. For this family, it was incredibly stressful and not free and flexible as it seemed it could be. So the day after we got back, I started meal planning and cooking a ton again and it's been amazing. It does take some time (my time) but as I've learned, it actually takes significantly less time than reaching every meal with the question of "what will we eat?". It's saving time, money, calories, food waste... so many things. I'm planning twice a week right now as it's 4 meals a day (or 3 and a snack) for those of us at home and my brain can only really handle 15 meals of planning and shopping at a time. I incorporate meals out and leftovers so we always have some flexibility if something comes up or there's a heat wave when I was expecting to have the oven on for an hour (ahem, Saturday).
7. To make cooking easier and quicker every night (I do it solo with Islo under my feet or at the counter next to me), I prepare any parts of the recipes in advance that I can. This can look like: roasting veggies the night before; chopping my mise en place in the morning; measuring ingredients or mixing sauces during nap; or starting the slow cooker over breakfast. Breakfasts and dinners are now like those meal prep kits but better!
8. Islo and I have been spending lots of time outside or on adventures every day since being home. We both now have raingear inspired by our time in Copenhagen so we can hike, walk or play in the cold rain. We go to a couple of museums every month, usually through our library's free Discover & Go program. It's so fun to walk around and discuss art with a 2-year-old! We even spent two really cold and wet days at Ikea playing with the trains and eating meatballs. These adventures always include a lunch date. <3
9. I'm still going strong on my summer 2017 habit to learn Spanish through Duolingo. I've missed a few days here or there but have been using it regularly for almost a year! I just got my first 120-day-streak without a miss too! I felt comfortable in Spain reading most things and listening to conversations but, as usual, I felt like a fool trying to speak. Working on it ;)
10. Because of all these things (though not Duolingo) and some health issues, I haven't been working as an Essentialist as much. I want it to be a source of energy in my life and not a drain. For this season, joy looks like a walk through wildflowers with a little one and not as many donation piles. :D
+ But with nearly nine months of no decluttering at home, we are ready for some work ourselves. Closets! Toys! Spices! We even just replaced some of the air plants that didn't make it through three months of renters and are loving the upgrade!!
To be honest though, through travel, renting, toddlerhood, seasonal and body changes, our lives have survived no decluttering. With existing systems in place, very little came in or stuck around if it wasn't essential. What validation for Essentialism: you can go through many major life changes at one time and put little effort into stuff and home, but everything stays pretty organized, peaceful and easy!
As always, thanks for being here! xo
++ I've been asked a number of times about the nursery and how we've liked it one and two years in... I'm working on updates to answer some of the questions. 🦄