I am back. Back home to cold and snowy Pennsylvania after spending a week in sunny and warm Florida to celebrate the life of my good friend, Suellen. On Saturday, there was a reception after her memorial service that was held at one of her friend’s homes. The house was open to the outside and that is where I spent the afternoon. Knowing that I would be leaving soon, I tried to soak up as much of the warm sunshine as I could.
I will admit though, even after all that wonderful sunshine – it was nice to get home – it was cold, but the sun was shining and my house looked all bright and cheery when I walked in. Bright and cheery, yes – clean no, but with the sun pouring in the windows, it looked clean. I spent the afternoon yesterday going through mail, restocking the fridge and pantry and even cleaning – so that today I could get back to my daily routine.
While I was away I started to get that renewed feeling – you know that feeling you get when you have been away or are on vacation and have taken a break from your normal life – as the days pass you get renewed and enthusiastic to get back to your life in a better way? You start craving more…more of what is right for you… more focus on what is important… more willpower to not eat junk… more confidence to say no to things that just don’t fit in your life… More of everything that is just right for you and letting go of the rest. The feeling is a little like getting a second shot at your New Year’s resolutions – a new start when you return to your normal.
This happened to me while I was away-that renewed, refreshed feeling. I believe it was multiplied by the death of someone with whom I was very close and the same age as me. By looking at my friend’s life, it got me to thinking about life in general and how short and fleeting it is. I realized all the things my friend had achieved in her life, but there was still so much she wanted to do. She had plans and dreams not yet fulfilled. It made me sad that she will never be able to experience them. I have always tried to lead a passionate life, but now I want to live it even more – live with more of what I desire… and less of what I don’t need or want in my life. I figured it was time to come up with some tips for living well.
Recently I was asked to accompany Ed to a dinner that was part of a job interview he had in NYC. The head of the company asked me what I did as we waited for our entrees to be served. After I told her a little bit about myself, she said –“Wow – you are a go-getter”. It surprised me as I never thought of myself as a go-getter. I told her that it was more about how I lived my life by following my passion and finding a way to make it happen in my life.
I will never be rich or thin, but I can be happy – living life in the best way possible and tailored for my wants, needs, means, and personality. It all comes down to editing. Life is too short not to edit it until you find what is truly important for you and you alone. I am passionate about bringing beauty, order, and ease into my everyday life – day after day to live as beautifully as I can. It is my quest – the way my mind is programmed to seek out beauty and order in affordable and creative ways – I seek it out until I find a way that fits.
It is not just about material things, but adding a bit more into the tasks I do daily as well. To take the mundane or average and turn it into more of what I desire. This could be making sure I have my music handy in my car so as I drive around town doing errands – I am making the chore more pleasurable by having good tunes for my drive. I am one of those people you see at a red light who has the music up loud and is dancing or singing in their seat. Music for me elevates the tasks of errand running into something more pleasurable. I want more of these simple pleasures that elevate the ordinary.
From this day forward I want more… I have made a list of tips for living well for myself to make sure I add more each and every day.
Tips for Living Well
I am a claustrophobic. I get panicked when I am in a room with a door closed or a dark room unless it is nighttime. I can’t even put my head under the water in a swimming pool. I need open, light, and bright space all around me to feel my best. When I look at my Pinterest boards I see light and bright. In the past, I have painted rooms in trendy dark colors, only to realize my mistake – what looks good in a magazine or for someone else – just doesn’t work for me. I need to add more light to each and every room in my house. About a year ago I removed the heavy draperies from most of the windows in my house and left up white or simple valances. I like to sleep with the windows wide open at night and not covered at all so when dawn arrives, I wake up to the sun or light shining in on my bed and can hear the birds chirping and the breeze billowing the curtains into the room. I feel connected to the world waking up like this – as a part of the whole universe. It is like my religion – the connection with the natural world – it makes me feel alive. I want more of it.
2. More of the Right Details.
Clutter weighs me down. There is no reason to have stuff around that is no longer needed or I have no use for. What I term- simple elegance is what I strive for. Simple elegance can mean different things for different people. I look at it like this – Taking only what is absolutely needed or necessary to create what you desire.
3. More Confidence.
When I look around at all the people I know or read about – the individuals I most admire are the ones that have forged ahead in their own style and don’t feel the need to compromise to fit in with the crowd. It doesn’t matter if they are famous, attractive, fat, thin, funny, young, or old. They have true personal style and that is what I am drawn to in people. They let their true essence shine no matter what. I want more of it.
4. More of My Favorite Things.
I want to make my Pinterest boards into reality. I may not be able to afford a home with an ocean view like this, but I can create a seating area in my backyard using the colors in the photo. I can also make sure I schedule a day trip to the seashore each month so I can enjoy one of the things that brings me the most pleasure in life – an ocean view. I can make it possible as I only live 2 hours away by car to the seashore. I can give up something else that doesn’t give me as much pleasure to make the time to do this. Even if it is just a day by myself – no big plans or packing – just get up and go.
5. More Spontaneity.
When my daughters were pre-schoolers– life was all about spontaneity – a trip to the park, an afternoon spent at the beach, or a simple picnic lunch eaten by the creek by our home. None of this cost a lot of time or money, but were made into memorable events simply because when the idea popped into our heads – we just did it.
6. More Fun.
Life is too short not to make the chores we need to tackle every day more pleasant. If I have loads of laundry to do, why not turn up the volume of my favorite tunes in the laundry room or whole house if it won’t bother anyone else. When my girls were little we played a game of folding the laundry. They would wear a pair of their clean undies on their heads while they danced around helping me sort and fold their clean clothes. It got to be when they saw me bring in a basket of laundry to be folded into the family room, they would get excited. I need to find more ways to make chores fun.
I will be seeking to fulfill more of these tips for living well every day so that when I go to bed each night I can say to myself – you lived today – you made the best of what you needed to do with the resources and time you had and enjoyed every minute. I am looking forward to more.
What “more” are you craving in your life?
I am also excited to share with you that the fireplace screen I made for my fireplace and posted about in this post – How to Make a Fireplace Screen with an Old Window Sash.
It is being featured this month in This Old House magazine along with a few other DIY bloggers’ projects in an article entitled, Crafty Ways to Save.
There are 8 bloggers projects featured. I feel blessed to be included.