I finally shook off my perfectionism and got a group set up! We'll be able to share our goals and plans and dreams and successes and frustrations and all the things involved in creating the habitat we want to live in. And no, we do not have to go all Marie Kondo about it! This is going to be all about finding what works for what we want and need so we can not only tidy or organize or decorate but also keep it going.
The group is on Facebook. It's called Tidy Your Way. I know I really need some friends to help me get going on house stuff and keep going with it. If you'd like to get some support like that, too, come join me. I think we can make some changes and get closer to how we want our homes to be.
Of course, Five Things a la Liz Lamoreux is just another kind of list, but I love spending a few minutes at the end of the day finding five good things. Today had a lot of them, but I feel too tired to really write all about it, so a list seems like the perfect way to still capture the essence.
Had friends stop by for a short while to visit. Luna was thrilled--she's our little social butterfly cat and loves company and is sure everyone who comes over is here to see her.
Went to a small gathering with those same friends and two others in a park to hang out (masked) under a shelter and work on crafty projects, and it was lovely. Sunny and breezy and the park is very pretty with lots of trees, and it was so nice to be together making things.
After our crafty session, we went to dinner and had Lebanese food on the patio, and it was delicious, and there was more fun and good conversation, and it felt really close to normal
There were fireworks from the nearby sports stadium, and while it was very loud, it was really pretty, and I really do love to see fireworks. I just can't deal with the noise very well anymore.
My cats were so happy when we came home that they chased each other all over the house and did all their cutest things to let us know they were glad we were back, and they make me so happy I could just about melt!
I'm in the middle of figuring out all sorts of life things (that's me over there with my overgrown hair and thinking face on), and in the middle of all of that I keep thinking of all of these mundane things I need to take care of. I would really love the mundane stuff to just get itself done without me having to give it all this brain space! Some of the things I really need right now:
I need a haircut
I need some work pants
I need socks
I need a bigger lunch box
I need a different soap or body wash for the itchy allergy skin season
I could go on, but I'm stopping myself. These are the things I might have a chance of taking care of this weekend. I'm going to let everything else get taken care of as I can or when it becomes more crucial. What about you? What do you need right now? What would you like to get taken care of so you can get it out of the way and get on with other things?
You might just be getting a lot of lists from me this month. I'm good with that. I thought maybe I should use some different images, and I might later in the month, but this is my "listy" image, so for now I'm sticking with it. So here's today:
The school I'm working at is like a mini college campus rather than a high school. We have different buildings for different subjects, and there are some very pretty areas to walk through and even sit in because there are benches. I love walking through there to get to my classroom in the mornings.
Right outside my classroom window is a small landscaped space, and there are some absolutely gigantic crows who like to hang out nearby, and today one of them hopped closer and peeked through the window at me, and I was so happy to have a friend visiting!
The sudden shift to being back on a school schedule has exhausted me, and I just have to accept that my body reacts to change this way. I'm moving around a lot more. I'm not spending big chunks of time with my feet up. So I'm tired and achy, and that's probably pretty normal and not a sign of some moral deficiency. I want to stop feeling embarrassed by this.
I need a haircut, so once again I have to try to find a place to go and see if I find a good fit this time around.
I am ordering in food tonight because I am worn out and can't manage cooking, and I want to stop feeling guilty and embarrassed about this, too.
I got an adorable, perfectly fitting new jean jacket yesterday. I'm pretty sure this is why the temperatures are surging upward for the next bunch of days. The weather is thwarting me and keeping me from wearing the cuteness!
The past couple of years, suddenly I'm not as neutral about getting older as I had been until I hit 55. I keep feeling like it's too late to be and do the things I always wanted to. I think this attitude needs some work and some big changes so I can maybe get moving and do some cool things.
I am really behind on some things, and now I have an actual job that's going to take a lot of mental space and energy, and I hope I can get my art piece done for the November show. But I might have to switch to a less complicated piece, and I need to give myself the okay to do that and just move on.
I have a four day weekend now, and I really hope I can stir up some energy and get at least a couple of house things done, but I'm really worried that I won't manage it.
I'm pretty sure I'm babbling on the page now because I'm really tired, so I'm going to wrap this thing up.
Effy Wild is doing a blog along again this month (here's a link to the Facebook group if you want to join in), and I am jumping in against all reason. I may not be able to do it every day. I just started a new (sadly temporary) teaching job, and life just got hectic. But I was planning to do this, so I'm giving it a go. Today, here's a list of things I'm thinking about.
I want a clean and welcoming home that I love to look at. I want a group to talk about this with and encourage and support each other in creating the habitats we want (I'm working on the group). I really want to keep my motivation steady and make this happen.
I have a new job, and I love it and am sad that it's only temporary, and I'm only two days in so I'm still trying to adjust to sudden employment, and I can't believe how wiped out I am.
I'm redecorating myself and just got a completely perfect jean jacket that isn't too long on me, and I am so much more thrilled than I expected to be. But I look so cute in it!
I am ready for fall weather but not quite ready for the longer days and relaxed schedule of summer to be gone.
I'd love to write more, but I'm seriously exhausted. So how's your world?
I've had this idea for a while. But I did the thing I'm always telling students and clients to avoid--I thought it had to be perfect before I did anything with it. So what's the thing? It's how our physical surroundings affect everything in our lives including our creativity.
I'm pretty sure I've touched on this in a few other posts, but I want to dive into this topic while also diving in to making my spaces someplace where I want to spend time. I took studio "before" pictures in the spring (I'll share those in another post) when I decided I really want to make doing this work A Thing. And then I thought I had to figure out how to do it all and organize and clean it all and get it all organized and beautiful and worthy of a full set of Instagram photos.
That's not how big projects like this work, especially not when you're trying to reset a lifetime of habits and thought patterns. Which I am trying to do because I've always been messy. It's just that when I was a kid (and by that I mean all the way through college), a couple of times a year my cousins would come over, and we'd have a huge cleaning day. They would keep me from getting too sidetracked by all the cool things I'd find that I'd forgotten about. My play room or bedroom would get cleaned and look and feel wonderful, and then my mom would feed us dinner or take us out to eat.
My cousins live 2,200 miles away now. And I live with another messy person (who is worse than I am if I do say so myself!). And I'm in dire straits. And the messy (sometimes downright dirty!) spaces around me have been affecting everything in my life for years now. But I kept trying to make cleaning and decluttering and organizing secondary. Okay, probably tertiary. Definitely not enough of a priority. I have been avoiding admitting to myself that not having spaces I love to be in, being surrounded by mess and squalor, is keeping me stuck. I'm not getting anything done because I don't like to look up, look around me, take in my surroundings. And I can't find my things when I want to do a project. It's a mess all around.
In case you're wondering, I'm not telling you this because I want sympathy. I am telling you this because I want to make big changes, and I do best when I know I have an audience checking on my progress. I'm going to launch a creative cleanup project, and I'm going to blog about it, and I"m wondering if anyone wants to do this, too? Company to share goals and successes with and get cheers and support from is a great way to do something like this. So, anyone want to get in on this making our spaces better thing?
Drop me a note in the comments or over on my Facebook page and let's create the spaces we deserve to live in. We can do this, and I think we can do it better together.
It's been a hard week, and I'm having a hard time getting anything done. It doesn't help that we're having record-breaking heat in the Pacific Northwest. 111 degrees today--I guess I'm glad we didn't hit the predicted 115. But tomorrow is still predicted to hit that 115, so I guess we could still break the record we just set.
When you're having a hard time, feeling down, struggling with getting work done, all of that, it's good to have a toolkit to turn to to help you shake things up. One of my favorite tools (I've mentioned this before) is making a list of good things in my world. So here's a list to remind me that things are not all bad or even going to stay this way forever.
I went to the beach this week! With friends! And I was even strong enough to climb down some wooden steps and across some rough rocks and walk on the sand and dip my toes in the water. It was glorious!
We have a portable air conditioner in our bedroom, and a brand-new block to go around the vent for it in the sliding door, so our room is a beautiful, cool haven for us and the cats.
On Wednesday, I'm going to do a Zoom with a few people to make vision boards for the second half of the year (you can join us in our Facebook group where we're getting started on gathering supplies and getting ready for Wednesday--it's free, and I think it will be fun!)
I signed up for a writing class through The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. It's not until August, but I'm really looking forward to it. And meanwhile I have a few self-paced classes through there to get to work on, so that should tide me over.
These lists are like little miracles. I feel better, brighter after writing them. I just need to remember to keep coming back. What about you? What's good right now? Drop me a note (maybe make a list!) in the comments. I'd love to hear about your good stuff.
We humans love lofty goals. It makes sense. When you do something huge, it feels great, and it makes for great stories. We love those big success stories, and we want them for ourselves!
And really, there's nothing wrong with aiming for the huge wins. Why not? We just have to remember to keep our definition of success flexible and wide, give ourselves time to do the work, and stick with things that are in our control.
That last part there? That's the most important. Don't measure your wins with things you have no control over. For example:
Is your goal to be an author? You can't make a big publishing company choose your book. You can make a writing schedule and stick to it, send things out to agents and markets regularly, join a good writing group, keep taking next steps to be a better writer and reach out to those agents and markets with new work.
If you want to lose weight, don't say "I'm going to lose 5 lbs. a week until I reach my goal." That exact number is not actually in your control. Instead, choose getting in a certain amount of exercise each week, making sure to get produce in at each meal, drinking enough water every day. You can control all of that, and it will move you toward your goal.
Want to get a new job? Don't tell yourself you'll get a new job that pays X amount of money by a certain date. Instead, make small goals with steps like refreshing your resume, sending out a certain number of applications each week, taking classes to boost your credentials.
I see a lot of people in my creative circles and in the schools I teach in making goals that are outside of their control. And all this does is set you up for failure, which in turn leads so often to giving up. So if you have goals, yay! It's great to have things we're aiming for and things to focus on. And there's nothing wrong with keeping a wishlist that includes having your novel picked up by a big publisher or getting a new job that pays twice as much as the one you're in. But don't make those wishes your goals. Make your goals things you can control, break them into small steps and take those steps.
So what would you like to do? What steps in your control will move you in the direction you want to go? I'd love to hear your dreams and plans. Drop me a note in the comments!
Yesterday there was a beautiful Zoom meeting with Liz Lamoreux and a bunch of people who have participated in previous session of her HERE classes. I was in my studio. My table was all set up with a bunch of pretty pens including my gorgeous fountain pen I got for Christmas. I had a pretty notebook and some nice, hot coffee. The conversation was wonderful, the poems she read were just right (she always reads us poems). By the end, I couldn't wait for it to be over. Because my gorgeous desk chair, the one I searched everywhere for and put in “notify me” requests at multiple companies and paid a lot of money for five years ago because it was so perfect--my chair hurts my body.
I have been fighting against accepting this for a long time. I've tried different things to make the chair and my body compatible. It's not happening. I am sad and kind of angry at my body, and I don’t really want an ordinary, ugly office chair. But I need a chair that will hold and support me properly. Sometimes we have to do the needed thing even when it’s not the wanted thing.
The new chair is really pretty (I wanted the brown version to go with my slightly vintage feeling studio, but for some reason that one didn't sit the same way as this black one, and my body was uncomfortable in it, and we could not find a way to adjust it to make them match). It's very comfortable, although I think it would be better with lower casters to bring it down a smidge (I am SHORT!). I'm going to give it until next weekend to make sure that overall it's good before I go altering anything.
So. This is self-care. Doing the things to get and stay healthy. Doing things that are good for you like getting the supportive chair and letting go of the dream chair. Making real food instead of eating ice cream for dinner because it's hot. I like to mention this kind of self-care now and then so I remember what it's all about.
Now, I'm going to go spend some time in the new chair working on a few small projects.