A few years ago, I read about someone who sets a word or an intention to live by for the year. It’s an idea I love and, last year, rather than setting resolutions, I set intentions for 2016: minimalism, doing more with less and saying ‘f@#k it’ a bit more, all falling under the umbrella of ‘consuming with intent‘.
If you’d asked me throughout the year how I was doing with these intentions I probably would’ve said ‘awful’ (no drama there!), but on reflection and with a bit of distance, I can say I did pretty ok.
2016 intentions – a review!
This is still a work in progress, BUT, my wardrobe got sliced and diced so that I only have things that I (mostly) love/like. Lots of stuff has been expunged or put away. I can now get ready in record time (for me) and generally be happy with what I’ve got on my back. My husband is shocked at my new-found speed. Organisation, a limited wardrobe, a minimal(ish) make-up bag and the prioritisation of spending time with the little lady has worked wonders.
Verdict: lots done, lots to do.
Doing more with less
This was a tough one and for the first part of the year we tried to fit a lot in to weekends to ‘make the most of them’. It was great, but exhausting. After a while I found myself craving time at home and slow Sundays. I’d highly recommend them every now and then. Rather than going back to work on a Monday having done lots of stuff and not ‘wasted’ the weekend, I felt like I’d had a chance to breathe over the weekend rather than racing through it.
Verdict: I still don’t really know what this one means, so no point in rating it 🙂 But I did learn that slowing down every now and then works wonders.
Saying ‘f@#k it’
Quite simply, I was mostly too tired to care about the small stuff. This year was a whirlwind of adjusting to full-time work with a baby who turned into quite the sassy toddler. It was hard, it was constant. There was little time, never mind the headspace to give a cr@p about the minutiae.
Verdict: ‘Who gives a f@#k?!’ 🙂
So 2017, what’s the word, what’s the intention?
This year is all about keeping it simple. I’m not fully sure what that looks like just yet, but I know it involves a slowing-down process. Too much of last year was spent utterly exhausted as I figured out the delicate balance (or not) of working motherhood.
There’s no strict plan for how simplicity will work around here but there are a few things I’ll be concentrating on such as decluttering, minimising routines and dulling down the digital noise in my life.
Decluttering and organising
Around this time last year before my maternity leave ended I set about decluttering, rethinking what I brought in to the house and where to store it. This was all with a view to making our busy work and home life flow easier and to free up time for the good stuff. Problem is, I didn’t finish it and then hectic life took off. Also, I didn’t involve P – major fail, how can he be expected to know why I’m annoyed that a certain thing is in the ‘wrong’ place if ‘the system’ is in my head?! Oops. For the last couple of months I’ve been dipping in and out of Marie Kondo’s ‘Spark Joy’ and while I will never apologise to my socks for treating them cruelly (see page 98 of the hardback version for a little giggle), I am committed to sorting out all of the cr@p in this house once and for all. Time to let the good stuff have its day in the sun.
Simplicity this year will also be about minimising unnecessary routines, if something’s awkward and not really worth it, it gets dumped. Case in point, the gym. My membership is not being renewed. I’m a little sad about this, but I never go because it’s a bit of a hassle. It’s a 15 minute drive, nothing major, but an additional barrier to getting me there. ‘Bye bye, Mr/Mrs Gym.’
Without exercise though, my energy levels and mental health take a nosedive, so the answer to filling the gym-shaped hole in my life is a singular focus on yoga. I’ve been practicing for years, but not as consistently as I would like. My body loves it and I feel bloody brilliant when I practice regularly. I had a fantastic yoga teacher where I used to live, but both her and I have moved so it’s time to find a new class. Until I find another teacher like her however, my Yoga Studio app is the bomb. It requires a bit of self-discipline to get me on the mat, but once I’m there, this app is excellent – really brilliant. It has set classes of varying lengths (10, 15, 30 and 60 minutes) and varying abilities (beginner, intermediate and advanced). All the instruction of a class but the flexibility of when and where. It fits my life for how it is now perfectly. Outside of yoga practice, exercise will be about lots of walks and fresh air. And if those walks involve jumping in muddy puddles in wellies, all the better.
The final piece in the simplicity puzzle, I think(!) is a digital detox or perhaps ‘edit’ is a better word for it. As I write, my personal email is screaming at me that I have 8,355 emails. The number is so high and increasing at such a rate that it doesn’t even stress me out anymore. I’ve become immune to it. They’re mostly promo mails or notifications. Anything important has been read. I’ve stopped deleting mails as the amount that comes in daily is just too much. So I vow to unsubscribe from all mailing lists and to get my account back under my control. I rattle on about Unroll.me to anyone that will listen, so it’s time I get back to using it myself. Same goes for social media accounts, digital storage etc etc. If they are unused/unloved, they’re out the door, but if they add something to my life, they’ll receive a bit more attention this year.
So that’s it, simple but complicated plans for the year ahead. Decluttering and organising, exercise that nourishes the soul and a digital edit.
I’m looking forward to the ‘simple’ life in 2017.