What do you want your life to look like? Do you want it to be easy and peaceful, or do want drama (excitement)? Deciding what you want your life to look like is most important before you figure out the things you'll need to do to implement change.
I always get to this point right after Christmas. The Christmas tree, the very one that was beloved until the 26th of December, begins to look outdated and dreary. In fact, it's almost as if I need to pull the colors through to make them richer, HDR them. Add to that the fact that it's cold, and today, well, it's snowing. I long for green grass, open windows, and flowers in bloom. Though I cannot change the season or the weather, and have no desire to pack and travel away, I can start changing the inside of my house. I want it to feel fresher, more open.
I start with removing the Christmas items that warmed my house up just after Thanksgiving. Warm now feels suffocating. I've taken most bits down and stored them away. In addition, I am debating whether or not to take down my Christmas tree before New Year's Day. I will be hosting a joint birthday party for Ward and his mom, so I want more space in the house for our guests. At the same time, I know that keeping the tree up through the New Year is a good rule. I am not sure what to do.
I've been reorganizing my office (I haven't used it to see clients for nearly eight months) to make it more functional on a day to day basis. I'd love to turn my desk around so that it faces the door, instead of the current wall facing position, but all the wires... hey wait, I just got an idea (thank you blogger). I will put a smaller table behind the desk to hold the phone and printer, so that my work space can face out. Hurray!
I have created a new (again) filing system, and I'm preparing my annual bill binder. I am getting rid of old clothes and unwanted home items, games, movies, and thinking much harder about the new items I'd be bringing into the house (and not buying them). However, I did buy new bedding. It's Cynthia Rowley Chandeliere Floral, and it's colors are so springlike. Greens, blues, yellows, and white. Hopeful. Speaking of which, Rowley once made me a small silk bag, and sent it to me after an interview I did with her. Where did I put that bag? It was so cute. She'd hand-sewn it, seemingly from scrap fabric. I put it somewhere safe so as not to lose it...
Any magazines that are more than a month old will be taken to the gym (to be read by members) or recycled.* Otherwise, looking at them everyday, trying to decide what to do with them, will begin to weigh on my mind. I hate recycling magazines unless they've, literally, been read to shreds. Knowing that a magazine was only read once before being recycled kills me. It's like throwing out eleven eggs that have just expired, and knowing that only one was enjoyed. Why didn't we eat more of them?
I am currently reading the January issue of Real Simple magazine, and they mention National Letter Writing Week, which begins on January 9th, the day of Ward's opening at Drip Cafe in Madison. I am excited about this, since I love writing letters more than pretty much anything. (The opening is going to be amazing, BTW, and you all should come and get WVD note cards to use for that special week.) The magazine also has articles on being happy, what happiness is, and how we can recognize it. It's those little moments, they say. Tonight, I had a ton of those moments. Happiness in looking at my son, laughing with the girls, and a private moment in the kitchen while I was making dinner. Those are just a few of a hundred I've had today. Holding onto those moments, and treasuring them is the key to happiness, or so they say.
I recently received a pack of hand painted, handmade note cards from my friend, the immensely talented writer, Hilary Thayer Hamann. Receiving the package, and then seeing the beautiful note cards inside (frame worthy artwork) brought me to tears. It's these moments that are to be coveted. Her books -- one written so far, though I am anxiously anticipating her next novel -- are sure to be be read for generations, and studied at universities. If you haven't read her book yet, Anthropology of An American Girl, you should go treat yourself to it today. When I saw the book in the bookstore, I loved the cover, read the back, and thought it seemed interesting. I opened to the first page, and started reading to see if her writing held my attention. Ten minutes later, I decided to sit down, and after twenty more minutes of reading, I thought it best to just buy the book and take it home. I've read the new edition, and the first edition, and I have collected two signed copies of the first edition (hard- and softcover, and bid on and won a signed copy of the current hardcover). I completely connect to the character Edie, in a way that deepens my experience on this earth. This is a book that I will read again and again, for years to come. I even have a lending copy to share with friends.
I posed a question at the beginning of this post, "What do you want your life to look like?" Let me share my answer with you.
I want my life to be quiet and easy. I want simple, good meals. I want health, for me and my loved ones. I want a clean house with well-manicured but relaxed property, beautiful art and photography, and rich, vintage furniture from Savannah Hope Vintage (my grandparents bedroom furniture is currently being resuscitated, piece by piece, by Andrea at Savannah Hope). I want to spend quality time alone with my boyfriend, and with Johnny, and the girls. Family time, too. I want culture, for myself and my son. Art, music. And of course, fun moments with friends (and I am plotting and planning a champagne party in celebration of Valentine's Day, that will most probably coincide with the Love Is. art show). I want to keep learning, growing; I want to read lots of books. I want to go to the beach in summer, and have a fire lit in the fireplace on most chilly nights. I want to kiss W meaningfully, and as often as possible. Even now.
I am going to shut down here, and get to reading the book, Great House, a signed copy, graciously gifted to me by my ex-husband's wonderful new wife. Thank you, Melissa, for such a thoughtful gift. Reading allows me to experience the world from the eyes of others. It's such a blessing. Little E just started reading the Twilight series. Seeing her walk around with that thick book gives me such joy. She loves reading at such a young age. Oh, my heart.
I ask you again, What do you want your life to look like? Knowing how you'd like it to look is the first step. Start this new year with a plan to have the life you've always wanted. Then live it.
*Anyone who is interested in reading my magazines after I am done with them, please let me know, and I will happily send them to you. I have a subscription to Rolling Stone, House Beautiful, New Jersey Monthly, and Nylon, and then I usually buy lots of randoms, like New York, Real Simple, and others.