My new year's resolution was to SHED things from my life, both real and imagined. And five full months into 2015, I'd say I've been really successful with small, meaningful acts of shedding physical things, a few bad habits and some unhealthy ideas. I've been marking my progress along the way and want to share with you.
January :: Shed Stuff
January was all about Apartment Therapy's January Cure project and shedding stuff. This was my third year participating in The Cure. I get such a high off of reorganizing after the craziness of the holiday season. After soccer season ended in mid-October, the social events surrounding holidays and birthdays starting piling up around here. We hosted and attended so many wonderful soirees, but I was more than ready to greet the new year with purpose and intention. I shed our old bedroom set by listing and selling it on Craig's List in one day. Steve used a rented U-haul to pick up our new platform bed with storage from another Craig's Lister and then filled the empty truck up with items destined for the dump - like our old boxsprings and a huge, plastic satellite dish. We went through our closets and donated clothing, shoes & linens that we no longer of use to us. It felt good to shed the excess and tidy up our living spaces.
February :: Shed Alcohol + Wheat
February brought about a couple of big changes for me in relationship to my health. After contemplating taking a break from alcohol over the past year, I went ahead and dove into abstaining from any and all alcoholic beverages with no end date in sight. My health hasn't been the greatest and an awkward visit to the doctor, coupled with my high blood pressure and sleepless nights, pushed me into thinking about why it is I like to drink. February was a very long month and not drinking brought up a lot of questions about why and how I do the things that I do. I also threw in eliminating wheat from my diet, too. So I was shocking my system two-fold, but immediately started feeling the positive effects of removing both from my life.
March :: Shed Old Images + Old Appliances
March found me meeting up with my best friend on the beautiful California Coast in Big Sur. I packed up a box of old photos from my early twenties and threw them in the back of the car. Over the weekend, we went through the photos, laughed, reminisced, saved a few for posterity and burned the rest in the roaring fire. A few Glamour Shots were set aside for future humiliation, but my wedding photos from my first marriage were not spared - they went up in flames, along with a bunch of out of focus photographs and old snapshots of random people and things. The truth of the matter was that I barely remembered a lot of these people and they were taking up space in my life. They had to go. I also created some artwork and wrote down some feelings that I wanted to leave me, as well. Talking through these feelings and intentions with my lifelong friend was just the medicine I needed. I threw my fears and feelings of regret into the fireplace and felt a huge emotional weight leave me. I left Big Sur lighter and clearer than when I arrived. Mission accomplished.
We also shed two huge appliances from our kitchen and replaced them with new energy efficient models during the month of March. A new stovetop and refrigerator moved into our little farmhouse and delighted this home cook. We shed two, we gained two. It was a wash, but a really good one!
April :: Shed - Blog, The Minimalists + A New Dog
April was a time of renewal for me. I was still not imbibing in alcohol and I spent a lot of my time analyzing and dissecting my life. My old blog, Sonoma Coast Weekly, was where I deposited my thoughts and ideas about my family, my interests and my life for 7-1/2 years. After I learned that some of my son's friends from school were visiting my site and taking screenshots of my son when he was younger and republishing on their Instagram feeds, I had to pull the plug. Pulling my blog from the internet had actually been an idea floating around in my mind for quite some time, but watching all the middle school drama unfold in front of me helped to speed up the process. I took the blog private and I can still add to it if I want, but I haven't written there recently. The issue of privacy, my son's and my own, is one that has been muddled for me and something about seeing my images and words used against him made me feel ashamed. I felt like I abused my role as his mother, even though I was well-intentioned in the beginning. He never signed on for the sharing and I just thought I could write or share whatever I wanted because, hey, I made him, right? Wrong. I'm not beating myself up too much about this, but decided that I should write about me and my endeavors and give him some personal space during these tween & teenage years. It was a long time coming and I'm actually glad it arrived when it did. Life is like that, right? Lessons delivered right to your doorstep.
Have you heard of The Minimalists? They were the March sponsor over at Mamalode, a parenting magazine that I contribute to every so often. I read their book Everything That Remains and joined in on their #MinsGame by getting rid of home and art studio items for the first half of the month. Day 1 found me donating one thing. Day 2, two things. And so on and so forth until the 15th of the month had me purging and donating 15 items. It was a great way to break up the task and clear a little more clutter from my home, garage and studio.
We also got a new dog at the beginning of April. We adopted Bodie from the Northern California Boxer Rescue and he was a match for our family in so many ways. He's snoring in the other room as I type this. He's been with us for exactly two months and he's the third boxer our family has owned. So we have essentially gained (and not shed) in April, but he's shedding dog hair all over the place - so, thematically, we're still in sync with the word SHED for the year.
May :: Shed the Grey Days + Pounds
The month of May was a doozy for me. Depression swiftly crept in and swallowed me up for three weeks or so. I couldn't get out of bed. If I did make it out of bed, I didn't make it out of my pajamas for days on end. I was completely uninspired in my life, my work, my creative outlets, my friends. My guys were the only ones keeping me afloat and just barely at that. And then - just like that! - I took a long bike ride and started climbing out of my dark hole. After that ride, I started wanting to get dressed, cook for my family and pay attention to the mounds of paperwork that I'd been neglecting. My creative groove came back and I started jotting down all of the ideas that had been wading around in my head earlier in the month. I did a lot of thinking and self-reflection during this time and that was good and bad for me. In the end, I got up and out of my funk and hope I don't revisit that place again for a long, long time.
Earlier in the month, I finally got on a scale and realized I lost 8 pounds. I think eliminating the booze and wheat seems to be working in my favor and, therefore, I'm staying the course.
June :: Shed - what's next?
I'm not sure what June will hold for me in terms of relating to the word shed. I know I'm definitely shedding some artistic insecurities and forging ahead with writing a business plan for a creative business idea I have. I'm asking questions, looking for mentors and taking lots of notes. I'm shedding some inhibitions and letting go of self-doubt. I go back to college in two weeks! So what if I don't know how to do something? I bet I can figure out a way to make it happen by asking for help or making enough mistakes that I learn the hard way. I am totally ready for this new chapter in my life.
The possibilities are endless, so I'll keep an open mind and be on the lookout for another aspect of my life wherein I can lighten the load, so to speak. And just like Rosanna Rosannadanna used to say - It's always something!
What have you shed this year? I'd love to hear about it.