Home is Who You Are – A Museum of Me

Moving house is a massive ordeal.  I have been packing now for two days, I have about 40+ boxes between my hallway, spare room, and pantry, yet I still feel as though I’ve barely made any progress.  I still have a lot of things sitting around on the surface that I can see, making me feel as though there is still a long way to go.  As usual, my lists have followed.  Why is it that we only focus on what we see on the surface?

You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, or so my husband reminds me.  It’s ok to display your contents on the outside, it’s ok not to display a picture perfect image of what you want people to think you are.  I have posted before about posting on social media of a life we wish to display to others, but I am someone who wears everything on my sleeve, who is very much “what you see is what you get.”  I would like to say I’m down to earth, open and too honest sometimes, not in a rude way, but I don’t consider anything off limits when I’m around family and friends.  I would like to think I don’t display an image of what I want people to think I am, I am exactly as you see.  A dag, I don’t have a trendy bone in my body, but I am friendly, caring and considerate.  What is wrong with that?

I often get annoyed at how people treat social media as a place to be someone they want others to think they are, a place to identify with what they want to be, where they aren’t displaying who they really are.  I used to share everything, ups and downs, asked for facebookadvice etc but I came to the conclusion that people are incredibly judgemental.  As the years have gone on (I have matured), and various personal circumstances with friends and family I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need anyone else’s approval, I just need to have my own happiness (something else I learned from doing the happiness resolution).  I used to try to please other people, to do what I thought was expected, but I have come to realise that I can make my own happiness.  On social media I share things I think others would be interested in, I keep my life for real interactions, and I actually “catch up” with my friends since they can’t read what I am doing on facebook.  We don’t rely on others to approve of what we are doing, to be impressed with us because they will like us for who we are regardless of what we have achieved, however they may share our achievements with us.

My home at the moment resembles me perfectly, although I am not comfortable with the mess, who is?  I am living with my belongings on the outside, as much as I live with my feelings and thoughts on the outside.  I am in the process of a transition, and that is obvious both by talking to me and by visiting me in my home.  I am about to commence night shift so this event of disarray isn’t about to go away anytime soon, but I will get through it.

Moving house is a massive inconvenience, it produces an opportunity to look at who you are as you uncover all of your history, you see where you have come from if you’re like me and hold onto things for nostalgic reasons.  It relies on you handling everything you own, deciding how much you need it, and parting with the things you have decided no longer have a place in your home.  But, how do you decide what you really need to survive with?  My husband and I are about to move into a shared house so that we can either save or build a house (we will find out soon), but part of this process means we have to put everything we don’t need into storage.  As we are sorting through our belongings I am starting to realise how much clutter we have, things we associate with that we store and never use, but that we know is there.  I have boxes and boxes in the hallway of books, we have either read and won’t read again, or what we have never read, I also have many boxes of Tupperware I have packed up thinking I won’t need to live with.  Leaving the questions, what do we really need, and why did we think we needed these things?  The simple answer is that we buy these things because we think they will provide happiness, out of convenience or enjoyment.

 

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Acquaintances, Friend or Foe?

The best way to discover who you can really rely on is by experiencing adversity.  I have a friend in hospital at the moment currently recovering from surgery, we’ve been in to visit, had an awesome time laughing and sharing stories, and just generally chatting like there’s nothing wrong.  And it’s true, there is nothing wrong, we have a pretty decent relationship between the lot of us, but tonight I noticed how good it was to just be able to debrief about whatever we want, to talk about anything and know you won’t be judged.

Recently we’ve been looking at the relationships around us, there are people we know who judge us, people who always criticise us, and those who we know are always there for us, really there for us not just because they say it.  Not that we are experiencing adversity but we recently realised we needed some assistance and a friend put his hand friendshi[up without hesitation.  Someone who is easy going doesn’t judge anyone and who accepts you as you are…  It made me realise we need more people like this around us, a positive influence, people who we can hang out with and who will take as for who we are rather than what we feel they expect us to be.  This got me to wondering, “who sets those expectations?”  Do we set our expectations?  Do we see someone else who appears to be successful and feel like we need to measure up to them.?

We have friends and acquaintances who are self-involved, who make us fee like we are an occasional convenience, who make us feel inadequate, who appear to judge us (as I mentioned), who find all of the negatives rather than supporting us, and then there are the ones who are just happy to be in our company.  They are the ones we should be seeking out and spending out time with, but why is it we spend so much time trying to prove ourselves to the ones who see or make us feel all our faults?  Why can’t we just allow ourselves to be happy?

In light of this new revelation, I have decided to resume my happiness resolution, as I have bought new books this week, once I finish this university semester, and focus on the things that make us comfortable, happy or at least content…  Hanging out with friends who are our adopted extended family, reading a book, catch up on some sewing and just be present for a moment rather than rushing around.

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Sadly, My Current Bucket List is to Attend to Hobbies

Just a quick post.  I am planning to drop uni for a semester, and I can’t wait.  With me working full time (most of the time over time), it takes over my life, I don’t have time to do anything else, the house falls behind, I don’t see anyone and I miss out on winding down.

My husband and I had a rule of no study after dinner, that was meant to enable us to spend time together in the evenings because our time together is limited as it is, however this semester although I tried to stick to this I have failed in the last few weeks.  My grades aren’t as good as they were last year, which makes me think it’s time for a break, either I need to drop back to 1 subject at uni or I need to drop back at work, since the latter isn’t an option it’s time to take a break from studying.  I’m hoping this will let me get back to having some down time.  I miss writing here, and I miss reading, sewing, playing my keyboard, getting to yoga and the gym more than once a week.  I miss having time to keep the house tidy and clean, cook and plan dinners ahead of time.  I just don’t have time to live at the moment, it’s either work or study, nothing happening in between.

We all need some time to do what we want, so I have decided to make a 2017 personal bucket list.  I’ve decided to make a list of all the things I want to do, something to help keep me motivated while I finish these last two assessments.  I want to get back my happiness resolution.  In 2.5 weeks I will be finished and back into the swing of things.  Trying to balance a life, study and sustaining this happiness resolution doesn’t seem to be working, so that’s what I will be dedicating the next 6 months to.  Especially since we are looking at moving into an undesirable situation.  Time to focus inward, now that I’ve realised I just can’t do it all!

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Analysing My Bucket List

While my husband and I are weighing up what we want out of our future, I feel as though we are missing the present.  I feel my life is made up of computer screens and work, while I try desperately to catch up on my household obligations.

We both have higher aspirations for work, while we work in the same field we want to be in different places, but he wants to go to more critical areas of nursing, whereas I like the education role a little more, but don’t want to lose working on the floor.  Having said that, we also want to buy a house, my husband wants a boat we want to be able to travel, and can’t decide if we want children or if we’re getting too old, given all of our other aspirations.  Which leads me to our newest conversation, to decide what we really want.  Our bucket list!

My bucket list has always been so simple and family oriented.  I was happy to get a house, have a family and go on the annual holiday even just a few hours drive from home.  That’s all I need, I like to have a comfortable, cosy environment which is why I want a house of our own so we can create that environment, and family to enjoy the space with while being able to go on holidays to take a break and experience new things.   My husband on the other hand just wants to go fishing and have overseas holidays, which is still rather conservative I thought, in comparison to what his bucket list could include.

So together we have to figure out what our bucket list has in store for us.  There are some things you just can’t plan for, which is hard for me as for some reason I am alway trying to stay 3 steps ahead of where we’re at.  I feel I have lost so much time, I had a late start bucketlistto my career, I had a failed marriage and here I am feeling as though I should be further into what I thought my plans were.  But life can’t be planned.  However, I could never be the kind of person who just floats through life letting it happen to me, I believe you have to make something of it, you have to make it your own.  Much the way we can all live in a house, but it’s the people, the atmosphere and the decor that you bring into it that makes you feel comfortable and enjoyable.  You have to put your own spin on it!  Unfortunately I guess I’m one of those YOLO people (you only live once), but not in the way that I want to do silly things, just that I don’t want to miss out on things I would like to do, and at the same time I am happy to work for them, but I realise at 32 years old I need to be actively working towards them now.  I guess some might think it’s a mid-life crisis event, but I like to think that I’m being proactive, and aware of planning for our future.  My husband just thinks I have control issues and what will be will be, and that I should worry more about the present, and take more time to enjoy my spare time.

Aside from the materialistic goals, there are other things I would like to do, a kind of personal bucket list of mine, that I think we should all have.  Hopes and dreams and just things we would like to do for ourselves.

  • I really enjoy writing, and I think it’s the reason I went back to uni, so I would like to publish something someday, which I do realise is so much easier these days with Amazon Kindle and e-readers being an easier approach.  I don’t know that I have the skills for writing, my husband is always editing my uni assessments but claims I’m getting better.
  • I would like to do more creative hobbies, like getting back into my patchwork, learning to play the piano properly rather than trying to teach myself, I also think if I had scheduled lessons I would practice more.
  • I would like to get outside more, enjoy the sunshine, and just spend less time inside.  Which is achievable I sometimes take my laptop out and get some study done in the sunshine, but it’s not as enjoyable as maybe taking a whole day off once a week to just be outdoors, especially when I work inside and spend most of my spare time inside
  • I would like to be more creative in the kitchen.  I don’t cook for fun anymore, just to create.  Since I have so many gadgets in the kitchen I think it’s a shame I don’t use them to their capacity
  • I want to be more accountable

I guess a lot of these things remain from my resolution/happiness project, but they are also things that I can’t do overnight.  They are things I would enjoy, that I want to bucketlist?achieve, but they are also ongoing activities.  I have so many creative projects for my patchwork, but I need to physically plan time to sit and work on them.

In addition to those things I would also like to share some experiences with my husband, we were thinking of taking a hot air balloon ride for our anniversary, and I would like to take a few small trips in our own country, to see things before we consider going overseas.  I think too many people spend money travelling overseas that they miss on the beauty and nature in their own backyards.  I’m not against going overseas, but I think we shouldn’t miss out on what we have at home as well.

My biggest problem is I guess I’m not really sure about what I want, but I know no matter what it is I will always yearn for something new.  But, I think that’s what you have to do to maintain hope and goals.  Maybe I have too much of a “what is the meaning of life” syndrome!

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What If We Could Be Happy Today?

Why do we always think we will be happy in the future?  Why do we think all we need is a bigger house, more debt, a better paying job?  Won’t we just be ourselves with more stress and worry?  What is we could be that person right now?

I have to admit I do these things, I think we will be happier when we have a mortgage, but what if we made the most of having the extra money and less of the strain of higher living expenses.  If it wasn’t for planning for retirement sometimes I wonder if we would be better off renting and going on a decent holiday every year or every couple of years.  Since paying extra in tax in the last year it’s so easy to see how quickly it adds up.  What if we had the discipline to do that with a savings account?

I wonder if we have our hearts set on the wrong things.  I have a lot of stress in my life at the moment, being the main bread winner in our household, managing the financial side of things, and keeping our house organised.  I find I’m buying things to help me be more organised, but where does that leave me?  Feeling more stressed!  I worry about study, which I’m doing to earn more money, as much as I would like to have better skills for work, I feel it’s the clinical experience and confidence that will truly get me the position, but I do enjoy learning.  Does doing without monetary benefits give us quality in life that outweighs what we missed out?

I actually asked my husband a few days ago what he thought about having a “stay-cation”, a holiday where we stay in our own house but act like tourists.  He thought it was a good idea, we could take day trips, do all the touristy things we would do if we were visiting another city, but we would get to do all the things that are readily available here documentingthat we never do any other time.  Why visit other places when you haven’t experienced what your home has to offer?  Why spend thousands to visit a new country when you have so much to see in your own backyard?  I don’t mean you should never travel overseas because there are some amazing things to see and experience, but what I mean is you can have the experience of travelling in a less stressful environment.  Having said that, why not try doing these day trips as a monthly family outing?

I had an idea recently about planning things my husband and I could do, along the lines of a day trip, something new each month, something we can look forward to and document.  I realised we don’t really have many photos, we have “selfies” and things on our phones but we really don’t document our life in any way, and we don’t get photos printed off.  I want to start a tradition of creating a photo album for each year.  So that some day if we have children, or if we just feel nostalgic we can pull it out and go over it all.  Photos are like memories, they are something you really can’t put a value to.

As much as I struggle with getting more work/life balance, I really need to work on that.  We need to prioritise our priorities!

 

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What Do We Really Need?

While my husband and I are thinking about building a house we were facing the dilemma of how to survive financially while paying the mortgage while it was being built.  Currently we have made arrangements with a friend to move in with him, his house mate and his girlfriend, while we wait for the house to be built.  While we are very grateful for this opportunity, it will also come with it’s own inconveniences.  One of which is realising just how much you truly need to live with.

I will start with the positives as this is the path I’m trying to take at the moment.  Our price of living while being expensive will be cheaper than it would be any other way, house sharing is probably the cheapest way to live these days without move in with your parents or another family member.  We will be surrounded by friends, my husband will have company when I’m on night shift and vie versa, plus we can all share the house maintenance and meal planning.  Time for the cons…  We can’t take our pet, at this stage, which is one thing I am struggling with but I guess we’ll see how we can trouble shoot this, we will have to put the majority of our belongings into storage, and we will be sharing a bathroom with someone who has different standards to us (which is probably the easiest issue to manage).

We can reason with most of this, but we are trying very hard to determine what we really need to take.  I already have a short list of things we have discussed with the owner of the house (who will be one of the housemates we’ll be living with).  We are permitted to take our fridge, a lounge chair (as this will allow extra seating given we’ll have 5 adults in the house), my thermomix, a few kitchen things I can’t live without and whatever we can fit into our room (ie bed, tv, keyboard and sewing things).  We will be living a cosy existence in that room, but nothing we can’t manage for 3-6 months.

The real question is, what do we really need?  Moving into a house where someone already has all the things you need to exist, kitchen supplies, washing machine, furniture ClutterMinimalismetc.  How much of what we have is clutter?  I am wondering how much we can cull as an attempt to store only what we really want and only what we really need.  I was thinking about what i will need personally and it’s really only a few items I use in the kitchen for specific things we eat a lot of, plus my computer, ipad and books.  I really need books, despite ereaders.  My husband on the other hand, he is all about fishing clutter, there is so much of it most of the storage in our house goes to miniatures and fishing supplies, whereas my clutter gets stored in bookcases and the kitchen.  In the light of minimalism I wondered what we would really be willing to part with, and considering we would be moving house in around 5 months, I figure anything we haven’t used in that time is fair game to justify it’s presence.

Looking around the house now I see DVD’s that we never watch, CD’s I probably have stored on an external hard drive, wii balance boards for the wii I gave to my nephew, all things we really don’t need.  I wonder what ideas we could implement around the house in the next 5 months to eliminate what we need to pack, and what can we pack up along the way to make the process easier?

I feel a new challenge coming on, although this is something I’m always up to, I will have to convince my husband of this.  CullCLutter

  1. Each week we both need to find 7 things to get rid of (minimum)
  2. Sort through the boxes we have stored now and make the space count and throw out anything with no sentimental value that we haven’t used since moving here (we’ve lived in this house about 19 months)
  3. Box up anything we won’t be using in the next 5 months
  4. Cull clothes we no longer wear, that are worn or that no longer fit
  5. Organise any loose photos as they will probably get damaged in storage
  6. Start the exit clean up of the house prior to moving to make that process easier
  7. Don’t bring anything into the house that we don’t need, and that will just get stored – unless it’s a bargain of a lifetime and will be stored in a storage unit

Over time and as we grow up I think we start to realise our priorities have changed, we want more experience and friendships than clutter, and our clutter has more to do with things we need for hobbies for our spare time and items that make our house a home.  A lot of what we have fits into these categories, and we also like to spend money on experiences rather than things.  At the end of the day at least you have memories, but things wear out and get outdated, I try to keep everything we buy useful either to make life easier or to aid our spare time.  Plus we feel comfortable in a house with space, that feels cosy and homely.

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Happiness Resolution: April – Under-react

It is now the beginning of a new month, an in light of my happiness resolution it is time to implement the new plans.  This month I had decided was going to be about under-reacting, but also about getting back to regular exercise as this aids my mental health.  Last month I was working on “letting it go”, which to some degree I think I did ok with, I got back to yoga, I’ve started pole dancing at a new studio, and we have started weekly personal training.  We got the house into some kind of an organised state, where my husband and I are working together, and so far with both of us putting in an effort it’s really working.  He says I was getting better, but I feel it’s only the beginning.

Starting today I need to stop stressing out so much as an instant reaction, something I do a lot of, then when I’ve had time to sit and think about it, I realise it’s not so bad.  It’s about that initial reaction, what I need is time to sit and relax, take some time out in my own head be mindful.  I need to think more about the moment than worrying about what will happen tomorrow, I spend so much time thinking about the past I think I’m actually missing the present.  For instance after having annual leave on my regular Saturday shifts I was stressing about what that will do to my income, so I’ve picked up overtime tonight.  But, was it really necessary or was it just my stress head again?

I was reading a blog tonight about living a mediocre life.  Which seemed somewhat of a negative tone, but made me think about the acceptance of not having some grand plan to look forward to, maybe we are missing it already.  I spend so much of my time trying to make things better, I get frustrated and impatient when I feel we have had a set back.  What if we just enjoyed the ride? If we under-reacted to the negatives and just took them in our stride.  

What we have to figure out is what drives us?  For me I think the biggest thing is stress, I worry about things I can’t control, things I can control and I try to go into damage control.  I was once told that I will never be happy, no matter what I do because I don’t know what I want. But is that such a bad thing?  Is that not half the fun?  Making our own mistakes, through trial and error to get to where we will end up?  This is getting very deep and meaningful now, but I often wonder if the process means more than the destination.  Look at retirement, what do we have when we arrive there?  Memories of the journey, a house we spend all of our working lives to pay for, and a family we may have spent a long time moulding.  Retirement is a chance to slow down, to take the time to spend with our families, travel if that interests you and stop to smell the roses.  However we can benefit from all of that now too.  We can spend time with the ones we care about, we can travel and we can enjoy the memories as we create them.  

My goal to start this weekend is about being more present, enjoy the moment, don’t worry about what might go wrong, but enjoy what goes right.  Don’t go left go right!  What will be, will be, and we can choose how we react.  This month I also want to reflect more on the positives and the effects my resolutions are having as I try and compile them. 

(Sorry for the lack of pictures, I’m at work tonight and my iPad requires more effort than I have the mental awareness for right now)

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