This past weekend something shifted. I don't know what it is, or at what point it happened, but I'm happier. It's like there was this foggy cloud of oppressive tension and stress and general unhappiness. I wasn't moping around, constantly miserable, but each day kinda felt like something to "get through". Interpersonal problems seemed "very present", "very now". Maybe it finally got through to my core that *I don't have to fix this right now*. You can torture yourself with all the things that need fixing in any personal relationship (friends, family, spouse, whatever), and you want to fix it RIGHT NOW. Or even if you can't fix it RIGHT NOW, you agonize over it and keep all those icky, bad feelings in a tight wad in your stomach. Stress, anxiety, tension, all bad. I was talking with a friend recently who had a very bad year, and is asking herself a pretty big question that is eating at her. I said something to the effect of "well, you don't have to decide RIGHT NOW. Things are okay for the moment, so just try to let it go and relax a bit. You'll deal with it when you're ready to." I talk a good game, and sound very wise and all.....maybe it comes with being a massage therapist for nearly 13 years. Comes with the territory. I've been telling myself this one a lot lately, and it was a huge leap in personal growth when I realized and then really *felt* it. When there's something going on that you want to address *right now*, and it really truly isn't the time. Pick your battles, pick your times. And who knows? After some time passes, you might feel completely differently about the situation.
Before the holidays, when there was SO much I needed to get done, it just wasn't getting done. I would procrastinate, tell myself I needed to relax, so I would not do anything instead, all the name of relaxing. That's so stupid! Even when I was "relaxing", it wasn't relaxing at all because I was so worried about getting everything done! There was that constant yucky ball of anxiety and guilt setting up house in my tummy. I'm done with anxiety, I'm done with guilt. Whoosh! There they go out the window! It took a little while to settle into the "shiny fresh new year" feeling, but it's there now. I spent all weekend slowly organizing, cleaning, brushing the dogs, etc. There was also a whole lot of lounging in my comfy chair by the window box of pretty plants, sun streaming in, mug of tea in hand, reading blogs online and listening to music from the 20's, 30's, and 40's. And I felt happy. Content. I wasn't beating myself up trying to get everything done as fast as possible, and NO feeling guilty about it. Stuff was getting done, just in a very slow and relaxed, lazy manner. Aside from a little doggy mishap on friday night (more on that in a future post), it was a wonderfully relaxing weekend. It was a shift in mental well-being that was badly needed. Oh, THERE you are, Bonnie! I've missed you!
In more news in the personal growth department, I'm embarking on an endeavor. For the rest of January, and all of February, I'm not shopping, online or otherwise. Of course I have to buy groceries, and dog food, and gas, etc., but nothing else. I was inspired to do this by Laurie Perry (of Crazy Aunt Purl fame, and my personal idol), who did this for six months. And you know what? She did it. After getting a divorce and suddenly having to stand on her own two feet, she got herself completely out of debt and into a pretty damn good life. I'm starting small with a month and a half, because six months seems a bit daunting. I'm not a shopaholic, but stuff adds up. For example, there's a new line of yarn out from knitpicks called "chroma". It's the most beautiful variegated colorways I've ever seen. I wanted to place a big ol' order. I still do, in the worst way. But you know what? I have lots of yarn! I have BEAUTIFUL yarn! My first instinct was to snatch up some of that chroma before the best colorways sold out (and oh my, do they ever! Case in point: the rainbow colorway of the felici sock yarn. Can't get it for love or money). Even now, I can see it in my head, taunting me with its pretty blurry transitions into different colors. But no. No no no no no. There will always be more beautiful yarn in the future. I've got enough gorgeous stuff stashed up to keep me busy for the next several years.
Really, truly, I have everything I need. There is nothing out there worth getting myself further into debt for. I cannot buy myself a better, happier life. I'm actually pretty excited about this! I'm looking forward to using all the lotions and smelly-goods in my bathroom until they're all gone. I'm looking forward to actually using the yarn I've stashed up. I have plenty of fabric to keep my etsy shop going. Well, that one's a tricky one. Sometimes I run out of a basic staple (apparently I use black and white polka dots in EVERYTHING), and it's kind of necessary. Or I'll get a commission that requires fabric I really don't have. I haven't quite decided what to do about that, but I have a feeling it might be an endeavor within an endeavor. Wouldn't it be kind of fun to try and make things with ONLY what I've got already? Hmmm... pondering to do on that one.
Something Laurie (Crazy Aunt Purl) did was write down whatever it was she wanted to buy in a notebook she always kept with her (she's a notebook addict), so when she reached her goal she could go buy whatever it was she wanted at the time. She was surprised to discover that when she went back and looked at the things she wrote down, she didn't want them or didn't need them anymore. I'm going to do that too. I'll keep you updated on how it goes, so I can be held accountable if I fall off the wagon. I'm sick and tired of consumerism, and living in Orange County, California is the worst for that. Everybody feels the need to keep up with everybody else, and there's always something nicer than what you have. You can buy a Coach purse, but then your arch nemesis has the bigger one. Or the newer one in a different color. Suddenly, that $500 bag you bought doesn't seem so shiny anymore. I personally don't own any bags like that (well, I spent just under $200 on a Lucky bag, but that's because it's well made and I TRULY TRULY love it, and wouldn't consider switching it for anything else), but you catch my drift.
Edited to add: this is the bag I HAD to have. It's soft and squishy, and looks like Indiana Jones carried it for twenty years. SO me.
When the new iPad comes out, I might drool a bit, depending on what features it has, but I love my iPad. I scraped together money from pet-sitting, a birthday check from Brandon, and early Christmas money from my Mom to get it. I don't regret it one little bit. I use it every second of every day, and I certainly can't afford to get the new one when it comes out, so I'm going to concentrate on how much I love mine.
I guess that's pretty much what it comes down to. Loving what you've got, and being grateful for it. Theme for the new year: gratitude, happiness, relaxation.
Speaking of gratitude, happiness, and relaxation, I'll share something I'm grateful for. I'm grateful for puppies who are more than happy to spoon with you on a chilly morning with their 70 lbs of soft fuzzy warmth. Cost? Food and love. Definitely not an extraneous expense.