poply-less-stuffHave you read any good books lately?  I am reading a very challenging book that is making me rethink my age, my life and how to make it better.   The name of the book is “Living with Less – the upside of downsizing your life” by Mark Tabb.  For some time, I have been feeling that I need to downsize my life, our home, etc.  We do not need so much stuff.  I think my wake-up call was when I had a near death experience about four years ago and I realized that the time had come to make sure things were in order in my life and possessions.  I know my husband and/or my son would not know where to begin in downsizing our belongings.  I also had a Boutique that allowed me to accumulate more things than normal.  I have almost completely liquidated most of it.  However, I find some things that I still need to reevaluate if I need them, or  if someone in my little circle of friends or family may like or need them.    So, I thought it was fitting that I found this book and now reading it slowly savoring each chapter and making me think several things in my life. The summary of the book’s back cover is the following:

“Let me get right to the point:  The only way to get more out of life is to choose less.” “Less stuff.  Less activity.  Less wanting more. It might be easier if some famed contemplative hit you with the bad news.  Maybe Saint Augustine wouldn’t insult you by saying all of your priorities are wrong, that you’ve wasted your life in your pursuit of comfort and material goods.  Perhaps you wouldn’t be angry if C.S. Lewis told you the frustrations that fills your life will never go away until you slow down and being saying ‘no to yourself and your children.  And if Mr. Rogers confronted you with your need to crawl out of the center of your universe and assume a lifestyle of humility, who could argue? “But I thought it better just to come right out and say what your and I both need to hear. “Give stuff away.  Simplify your lifestyle.  Deflate your opinion of yourself. “The key to making life matter is to choose to live with less.”

The timing could not be better for us right now.  After my father’s funeral and realizing the need to be closer to our relatives after lots of restoration in my Dad’s family. Also, spending quality time with my favorite Uncle who also served as a Surrogate Dad showed me the importance of family being more important than I realized. It touched something way deep inside my soul.  I did not realize how much I had missed them and the rich fellowship we shared.  It was unbelievable.  Who would think so much would happen through my father’s last days on earth.  For me it was 30 days that I spent in AZ.  I was born in Peoria, AZ and grew up in Glendale, AZ until I was twelve years of age prior to moving to Orange County, CA.
Recently, we thought we were going to get a job as co-managers of a retirement community that would give us money for moving expenses and we would have a place to live in that community.  We started packing, downsizing and making the necessary arrangements to move.  And then it happened.  We did not get the job after all.  We tried several other jobs to no avail.  Each job prospect was so close but not quite fitting us just right.  We had lots of heart to heart conversations during this time.  Then we stopped everything and realized we needed to do everything possible to save our home and stay in Boise.  We have lived here the longest in our entire marriage history.  Ten years in one location in one house.  We had moved 26 times before our 25th wedding anniversary.  So to be in one place for ten years that is big stuff, really big! The positive side is it has jolted us into living differently.  I am having foot surgery tomorrow.  I may be out for at least one to two weeks.  For some of you that may come as a welcomed break and relief from your life.  However, for me it is not.  I am not the sit still kind of gal.  I always have things to do, people to see and places to go.

I am slowly learning that taking care of me is just as important as any other priority I have in my life.  Perhaps that is why I am learning to embrace the color, Red-Orange.  According to Dewey Sadka through the Dewey Color System that is the self respect color.  I am learning to do that on the twilight of my sixth decade intentionally.  Self respecting myself when I am tired to stop.  To take bubble baths at least once a week and slow down.  For me a quick shower has been my routine.  But now, I see the benefit of that long luxury, soaking bath to just be still. I get up early and have my quiet devotional time and get to see our son off at 4:30 am for his 5 am shift to start working.  I enjoy this time.  I actually crave this early morning time to be still, be alone and gather my thoughts on life. So all of this upheaval is causing me to ask, what is the most important?  What do I really want and what do I really need to do.  I am still going to have my Designer Sale once I go through everything.  I have three more rooms to go and our four car garage.

simplify-less-stuff-more-lifeThe best part is finally getting my studio for The Color & Redesign Academy to finally come together in our four car garage.  We are creating a place where my students can enter through the side garage door to their own special place of learning.  It will also be a place that will be separate from our personal living space.  Not that was such a bother before just a place that will simplify my life from setting up and then taking apart all of the visual aids, and equipment required for these classes in our formal dining room.  I am excited to say it will be a place uniquely and wholly devoted as a room to learn and create.

You should also see what I am doing in our backyard as I am re-purposing furniture odds and ends to create something beautiful.  I have found fabric I forgot I had that is also renewing a fresh perspective on how I can still create and make beautiful things out of re-purposing so much stuff.  I am so grateful that I was able to sell my big commercial desk, credenza and a few other items that were blocking me.

I am simplifying more and more.  You see my 60th birthday is coming this July 8th and I want to be ready.  I want to embark on my sixth decade not with more, but with less.

How about you what are you doing about downsizing your life?  Are you there yet?  I want to encourage you that it is one of the most freeing things I have ever done. I did not say it was easy, but it sure is freeing.  I hope you join me along this journey.  That is why I tell my clients and friends, “Come on in, the water is fine!”

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