Saturday: What Brings Me Joy

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Green smoothies and toast for Dad and LP.  Mom got to sleep in (YAY!) and then enjoyed some toast and tea.
  • Lunch: Mom tried out a vegan mac n cheese recipe from Vegetarian Times.  It was ok – needed a little bit more nutritional yeast – but it was fun to try something new!
  • Mom snacked on some chocolate almonds. The G-man snacked on some crackers and cream cheese, and a bit of holiday chocolate bar.  After some fun times playing in the fresh snow Mom, Dad and LP all enjoyed some hot chocolate
  • Dinner: Eggplant Caccitore over linguini.  Yum!
  • Mom and Dad had some cinnamon toast for dessert

Money Matters:
Today we spent the following:

  • $5.89 for a few CVS items

Mom Musings:

In the last couple weeks I’ve gotten on a “minimalist” kick.  I started by finding Minimalist Mom’s blog, and then reading The Joy of Less, which I borrowed from the library.  In my very limited exploration of this “minimalist” movement I’ve gotten attached to the following ideas:

  • I should seriously consider which stuff that I “need” not just how to deal with the stuff I have
  • Having less stuff can actually help me to save time and energy
  • It’s not enough to clear out physical clutter – I would also like to clear out some more of my “time” clutter as well.

As I go through our house sorting my possession into things I truly want to keep and things that I can get rid of I’m also thinking about the way I spend my time.  Part of this process is my ongoing list of things that I do that bring me joy.  I’m trying to be as honest as possible with myself.  That means I listing things like “taking walks with my family” but not necessarily “reading Curious George Goes to the Fire Station five times in a row.”  Yes, I love reading to my child, but not every book he picks out.

Similarly, I’m trying to think about the things I do that are really just for me.  I love to sit with tea and a book and be left alone for a little while.  I love developing curriculum and planning lessons (but “grading” did not make the joy list).  I’m also realizing that I love the anticipation of events almost as much as the events themselves.  Having a movie night with the G-man (complete with popcorn and hot chocolate) is way more fun when I spend all day knowing that is what we are going to do.

So, what is the point of all of this?  Really, it is that the act of making my own “what brings me joy” list has been illuminating.  It has helped me be honest with myself and realize that I don’t need to pretend to enjoy something when I don’t, or feel bad about enjoying something (like time alone).  Instead, what I’m focusing on is how I spend my time and how I can build in more time for the things that bring me joy and less time for the things the bog me down.  I’m realizing that I spend way more time checking e-mail and reading e-mails that I don’t care about.  So, I’m unsubscribing like mad.  I’m also realizing that I spend a lot of time trying to organize a lot of possessions into our storage space.  I’ve always figured that I just needed to be more organized, or maybe buy more helpful containers for my stuff.  I’ve spent a lot of time trying to “clear space” and stay organized in this manner, but I’m realizing the answer isn’t organizing better.  Instead, I need less stuff!

For now I’m leaving the kid’s stuff alone and I’m only occasionally questioning the usefulness of the G-man’s stuff.  Instead I’m focused on me.  My workspace.  My bookshelf.  My nightstand.  My time.  I’m also trying to maximize the relaxed and focused time I spend with my family and on work and minimize the annoying stuff like cleaning, and the superfluous stuff, like checking Facebook.  I want to continue to try and simplify my stuff and my time so that more of my time and energy can be spent on the things that bring me joy instead of on the things that bring me stress.  Not a new desire, but for now I have a new way of tackling it.  And that is an exciting fresh outlook for 2013!

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