Failures...we all have them, and like most people we don't like to admit it. Once we start letting failures mount up, its like water breaching a dam, all downhill from there. Moving back to Missouri when we did was a small failure. Yes, it would have been better to wait until spring, but we moved in October, and suffered through the first winter shivering in coats that weren't sufficiently warm, and feet constantly wet from the snow. Yuck.
The bad part is, a little prior planning, and we'd have suffered less. That's all it would have taken -prior planning.
Prior planning seems to be something that most people don't do enough of, I know I don't , but I'm learning. Really, it comes down to what you want. Do you want to always be struggling to make your life what you want? do you always want to be looking for a place to call home? For a career that suits you? I know I don't, so Iv'e stepped up in the prior planning department
Not really... Its been a long time since I was on a horse. And, even though I grew up riding, as in every single day of my life. I'm far older now than I was then, and the ground comes at me far faster than it did then. Now buy my granddaughter a pony and teach her to ride is another story. But that really isn't what I mean. What I do mean, is that its time to get back to the topic of this website, and work on some meaningful content.
Yes, we all do it, we all slide off sideways sometimes, not keeping our mind on the task at hand. I gotta say I'm probably the worst for that. Trying to work a full time job, run this blog, keep my spouse happy, spend time with the grand child, whew! it can take a lot outta ya, not to mention house cleaning, cooking, running the normal errands required of everyday life.
Often I find myself drifting away on some wispy thought when I should be concentrating. The end result is never too attractive.
So before New Years ever gets here, I'm making a resolution to PAY ATTENTION. We all want down time. Relaxation, fun. But, not at the cost of every thing else.
So start early this year, I did.
Iv'e heard of hygge- It's supposed to be some sort of Danish relaxation that the rest of the world needs to discover, and practice. Hygge, given that the northern countries are colder than we are, is supposed to be what you see in the picture here. Some girl sitting in front of a roaring fire, sipping tea, and reading a book.
Baa, that's not really what Hygge is and it isn't solely the forte of the northern climes. Besides if I sat in a night shirt in my living room on my couch with only a pair of socks to keep me toasty I'd be a frostbite victim.
Better yet, I strive for something more. To be a good person, to make others smile, to help. To be good to animals, and nature, and myself in the process. Doing that produces a profound change in all aspects of ones life. Not only are you more community minded, your more at ease in your own skin, and for those of us who have always had a problem with that, striving for that something more helps us overcome that unsettled feeling we have always carried with us.
For the last few years I haven't been able to settle, to breath easy in my own skin. But lately, I've been doing better. I have a good job, that I seem to be doing ok at. I can pay my bills, there's food, I have weekends off with my husband for a change. We aren't struggling so much to make ends meet that we don't have time for us. Now we do...except its football season. Which is ok, because there are things that I want to do that he doesn't. I am working on getting our current rental updated with new paint, and patiently waiting to get a full month of paychecks under my belt so I can start putting away money to build the next house. While that happens, I will cook good meals, spend time outside, feed the birds, work on my furniture, and be relaxed on my weekends off. Which for me is a huge step in the right direction.
Try as I might, I can't seem to get any calm in my life. As much as I extol the virtues of taking back your time. There never seems to be enough of it.
Yesterday is a perfect example. I worked all day(my second day at my new job, at which I still feel like I'm useless). Then I rushed to the market and bought food for supper, scurried home, and BBQ'ed the pork steaks, while my husband prepared potatoes, and after everything was done, we greeted our visitors (my best friend and her husband). I quickly made a salad and everyone sat down to eat Afterward, we sampled a lovely pastie, and chatted for a half hour before the menfolk hauled in the dining table they had given us.
By the time everyone parted ways, it was 9 ish or so, where upon I flung myself on the couch for 15 minutes of television just to wind down, then headed for the shower and off to bed trailing droplets of water in my wake.
this morning I was in town by 9:15 and sorting my way through the local 2nd hand store for furniture. I'm glad I did because I found a fantastic chair and ottoman which I LOOOVVVVE. Then I tag teamed my husband who picked it up and carted it home while I did the rest of the grocery shopping for the week, made some miscellaneous purchases. Tomorrow, we have to drop of a roaster, and booster chair I borrowed from my Mom, and a knife throwing target at a friends, when we get home I have to do laundry, and sew a button on a pair of pants. Plus iron what I need to iron for next week. Not to mention I still haven't finished painting the living room so it's two, actually three different colors if you count the bead board that has to be repainted.
I still haven't found any great comfy sweaters, or long sleeve shirts for work, let along a winter coat of any consequence.
And, tomorrow is Day light savings time switch over, so we will be getting up at 4:00am instead of 5 every morning. Sheesh, how come things are going so fast? It needs to stop, I need to take real steps to mitigate the loss of my time.
As a general rule, I don't mend. I've just never been a mender. I prefer to donate and find something else that suits me. But here lately I've found myself contemplating doing a bit of mending. A bit of flannel on the worn spot on my favorite sweater. Some sashiki stitching on the the knee of my jeans, an elbow patch here or there. Somehow its more satisfying now to mend than discard. Is it my age? Or maybe I'm just being cheap and don't want to spend the money? Who knows? All I know is that there's a certain satisfaction to sitting in a chair, mending my favorite sweater with a faded flannel patch. And, even more satisfaction of sliding into it and a pair of comfortable jeans to spend the day doing something I enjoy.
Sewing has always been my go to stress reliever anyway. Mending is just another form of that. Mending lets me keep my old favorites, and still enjoy them even though they may be less than perfectly pristine, and yet still be that comfortable piece of clothing that I return to time after time.
So, I'm off to mend my favorite gray sweater, it's got a tiny hole that needs a swatch of flannel.
Moving a great distance is never easy. It's even worse when your moving yourself. The stress of packing, booking the truck, loading the truck, who's going to drive the truck? How are we going to get the second car there? Well, at least we solved that question, we simply sold it!
We rolled into our temporary home, 3 days after we left Florida, exhausted, angry, and definitely ready to be off the road. To make matters worse our temporary home was my Mother's basement, our bed, a fold out couch. Don't get me wrong, I'll be eternally grateful for the three week stay. It gave us time to find a house in a surprisingly tight rental market, time for me to get situated at work, and the poor dog some time to run. The cat on the other hand suffered more than most, and had no qualms about telling you about how much she hated being locked in a single room during the day, and a kennel at night.
But, REALLY- my Mom's basement! I was sure I'd outgrown that in my 20's-Guess Not.
We have since moved into a surprisingly large rental house, compared to Florida standards, and definitely cheaper. 1400 sqft. trumps 950 sqft any day in my book, the more space the better. The dog has a fenced yard, the cat has large sun drenched windows and the run of the entire house,(she's much happier), and we have a nice back porch. We have spent the last couple of weekends furniture shopping since we sold all of ours before the move. A few thrift stores, and a couple garage sales later, and I have more furniture than I've had in years.
It's October now, and cold at night with frost sprinkles on the windshields in the morning, a far cry from 90 degree Florida, but I don't mind. Our grandbaby is a 45 minute drive away, and we have visited a few times already. I've already bid for a better job, and it looks promising. It was worth the trip.
A new job waiting for me, a moving truck parked in the front yard, and away we go, hopefully out a day earlier than expected so I have one more day before I start a new job.
My spare room is filled with sterilites packed tightly full, and secured with zip ties. Each one containing things that I can't seem to live without. But this time, I chose to leave behind some things that I just really didn't need- baggage you could say. I gave up on the huge dining room table I'd had for 15 years. I sold it in my original auction, my best friend bought it and gave it back to me.
It had provided years of support for suppers, many nights of coffee and scrabble, and evenings of homework for my daughter and myself as I returned to college after 20 years of being out of school. It served as a sewing table, an art project table, a construction table, and a center cooking island for years after I rescued it from a trash pile on someone's porch. But, it was time for it to go, and it did, in my most recent moving sale to a lovely older lady who was fascinated with it- it went to a good home, I am sure.
Many other things went too, a scabbed together saddle rack my Dad had made 50 years ago, a bit wobbly but still useable, I'd been toting it around for years. This time it went( I kept the saddle he bought me though). Miscellaneous chairs, side tables, and a plethora of lamps. Hundreds of journals with maybe a page torn out, and various books. Potted plants were carted off in pickups, and some just tossed in the nearest trash pile. Somebody out there will discover a grove of pineapples one of these days in the back field. This evening, mashing all the left over trash into bags, and setting it out by the road for pickup, and, 10 more containers exiled to the spare room for loading.
I have tried unsuccessfully to feel bad about getting rid of everything, but I just can't. While I loved the things I'd carried for so many years, my life has changed, I have changed. I hang onto less, and more, depending on what it is. I cherish different things now, my family, my friends, laughter, happiness. And, I have resigned not to let anything into my home except things I dearly love. Yes, I am excited to be going back, I've seen the world or a lot of it, and as they say there's no place like home.
Sometimes a move, ends up being a return. Many of us think that retiring, and moving somewhere new is what your supposed to do, so we up and do it, usually somewhere warm. But, there are often things that pull us back.
I find myself in that situation right now.
We sacrificed everything we worked for, for many years, to travel when we retired. We sold out, tossed our ditty bag in the truck and took off, we wound our way through state after state, ended up in Arkansas, and most recently in Florida. We had been here about a year when my daughter and her husband showed up with some very important news. We were becoming, *GASP* Grandparents! Suddenly things took on a whole new light. No longer were we free and easy, now there was a "little one" involved.
As she was born, grew, and came to visit us, we began talking about going back. Returning to our home state. After all who was going to buy her, her first BB gun, or teach her to fish, or give her her first pony ride. By gosh, it was gonna be us!
The end result is me looking intently for a new position of employment in Missouri, and packing things up in anticipation of loading our worldly belongings into a moving truck, and making the 18 hour drive to Missouri. To be honest, its daunting, having to repack everything we moved down here with, and get rid of things we don't really want or need, all over again- you know, the stuff we accumulate while we "live".
This time is different, we don't have an enclosed trailer that I can park in the front yard, and take 6 weeks to pack everything I want to keep. That's long gone, sold right after we moved in. Instead, I have a truck, rented from a local rental place, a couple of days to pack it, and we are outta here. Everything has to fit, everything important has to go, all at one time- like I said, daunting.
There's my hope chest, that goes to my daughter, that should have stayed in Missouri to begin with. There's the saddle my Dad bought me years ago, and his wooden desk chair, that had belonged to his father, and his before that. There's no way I could leave it behind. At least one mattress has to go so we have something to sleep on, I'd much rather take both. There's photos, and albums, and books, the computer, the TV, and it goes on and on. How much "stuff" can you fit in a 16 foot truck? I'm not sure, and I'm certainly not sure I can fit all of our "stuff" in it. But, by gosh I'm going to make it work, because there's a little girl in Missouri who needs to learn how to fish.
Write yourself a note-leave it on a post it on your computer, make it the home screen on your phone, tack it in big letters on your fridge- any way you can think of to remind yourself to slow down, to say NO, I'm sorry I'm not available.
Learning how not to be available is the hardest part of the process, and it happens at the very beginning of learning how to live simpler.
We all want to be a part of a community, a part of a family, or tribe, or group, whatever you choose to call it. To have friends, and family, but many times those communities put undue pressure on us to be involved. Involved ALL the time. Of course we need to be involved with our family, that is a given, same as our spouse, or significant other. But outside of our little circle, how much are we willing to spend of ourselves ?
Personally, I'm very very selfish when it comes to spending my precious time on someone else. And, you should be too. We are not given infinite amounts of time on this earth, and it is up to us what we do with it. The biggest question you must ask your self is... Is this something that will help me live the way I want to live? Can I be happy doing this? Is it important to me?
If the event is a something that you may or may not enjoy-don't go, politely tell the person that you are not available.
You don't have to be mean, or burn any bridges but, you must be firm and ensure the person understands that you have other commitments that supersede their request. Politely turning down a request or an invitation is not wrong, or bad, it is you looking out for yourself, spending your limited time doing what you want with whom you want.
Attending social events that have little or no meaning to us personally eats up valuable resources, can stress us out, and isn't an essential part of our lives. In a nut shell, they can go and we wouldn't miss them. Don't make the mistake of saying "yes" just for the sake of saying yes. People will understand if you bow out gracefully and with tact, and let them know you already have plans. While it may not seem like the truth when you tell someone you already have plans- it is entirely the truth-you have plans for simplifying your life in a way that suits the way you live, makes you healthier, and more conscious of your time here on earth and how precious that time actually is.
Work, Career, Job, we all have to have one. Most of us aren't independently wealthy. Having an income means we can eat!
Searching for a new job whether your laid off or currently employed is a task unto itself, its stressful, challenging, and your never quite sure what your going to get when it all is said and done. But you can take steps to ensure you come out on the better end of the bargain.
1) Don't sell yourself short- you know what you can do, get it on paper, if you can't figure out how to do that, contact a resume writer for assistance. It may cost a bit, but it will be better for you in the long run to have a professional do your resume, and expound on your attributes in a way that makes employers stand in line to hire you.
2) Be choosy-chose the best fit for you. Sometimes the final decision doesn't come down to the highest salary, but instead the benefits, be they company provided, our benefits solely to your lifestyle. Maybe one employer provides a very high salary, but another pays lower but provides free on sight day care, so you can trot downstairs and see little Johnny on your breaks. What matters more to you, and how much money are you going to be putting out to pay for outside daycare? Sometimes, a benefit can have a huge monetary gain on the back end. Does the time off from a lower paying employer give you time to work those profitable craft shows, is that income comparable to the higher paying employer? Do the calculations. Do you have every weekend off to call your own? If so, is it worth it? You decide.
3) Environment- Check your employee reviews, does the company have a bad name, do they provide little support to their employees in the way of training, are they lax on their raise policies, Check the internet. Is the company open to new ideas, do the workers seem pleasant and happy(if you get a chance to take a tour) ask around, any insight is better than none.
4) You don't have to say yes right then and there-Any employer who requires you to accept an offer right then and there for ANY excuse, is a red flag so large it blocks out the sun. A reputable employer, with descent hiring practices expects you to think over their offer, at least overnight before accepting. So, politely ask to have a day to think it over, go home do your calculations, discuss it with your significant other, or whomever you choose, and then call the next morning, EARLY, and give your answer.
5) Two weeks notice-I have to be honest, I am not a big believer in the two weeks notice rule.
With one exception- if you want to keep your bridges intact, and not burn them. You may someday want to return to a previous employer, and if so, giving two weeks notice is a great idea.
But, as a general rule, I myself, don't give notice any more than two days. Why? Because many employers become hard to deal with if you do. They know you are leaving, it upsets them, they feel as if they have provided you with a position, and now your throwing it in their face and walking away. Tensions can get quite high. You are ready to move on and anticipating your new position with another company, and you may be leaving them at what they deem an inappropriate time. It can and often does get quite messy. A good employer will accept your resignation better if you explain that you are furthering your career, and moving on.
This also gives your current employer an opportunity to step up and offer you a better position, better pay, or other benefits in order to keep you, if they do not, you were better off going on to something better anyway.
On a side note: employers seldom give their employees the courtesy of two weeks notice when they lay them off, or terminate their position. So, as a rule that notice to them when I depart is something I don't spend a lot of time worrying about.
We all know there may come a time when we will accept any job offered to us, just to make bills. I've done it, you've done it, we all have. I have done everything from clean horse stalls to flip burgers to make ends meet. But, remember when you take that job cleaning offices overnights. This isn't the last job you'll ever have. Get that resume out there and find some real work that makes you happy and fulfilled, do not spend your work life being miserable, if the jobs not a good fit, move on as quickly as you can.