What if? A post of random thoughts…

It seems like I am stressed out all the time. Nothing in particular in my life is stress inducing. Yet I find myself often fighting feelings of being overwhelmed and frazzled. Hears an example of what I talking about. Knowing that I would have a long day, I spent last night prepping. I made my and my kids lunch boxes, put a purchase I wanted to return by the door, laid out our clothes and other items for the kids’ activities. I rush to get the kids out of the house after spending 40 minutes yelling at them. On the way to their camp, I realized I forgot some of their items and some important papers I needed for work. I had to return home which added the stress of being late for work. After work, I arrived at Kohls only to find that I didn’t have the right receipt for my return. There has to be a better way!

I have been reading some articles about minimalism lately and wondering if I need to spend time decluttering my life both mentally and physically. What would life be like if I didn’t feel like I am constantly being pulled in a million directions? What thoughts would occupy my mind if I didn’t spend most of them worrying about my never ending to do list? What if I stopped the constant distractions of Facebook notifications, emails, and texts? What would happen if I stopped multi-tasking and truly just focused on one thing at a time? What would I witness if I stopped distracting myself with silly games on my phone? What if my phone was just that…a phone? Could I really go one day without my phone? A week?

Sounds like I need a challenge!

A Little Gratitude Goes A Long Way

I can’t believe I returned home from a one year old party nearly in tears. But it happened. The party was hosted by one of my husband’s friend and his wife. We’ve known this couple for quite some time; we were present at their wedding and often spend Thanksgiving with them. My husband works on Saturday, so my excited children and I went by ourselves. This wasn’t the first time I went to the couple’s house; I have always loved their spacious home that is located in a quiet neighborhood with a backyard that seems to never end. I couldn’t help as I walked in to compare it to our small home that I am increasingly growing frustrated with daily. I was greeted by the hosts and introduced to many friends and family already present.

Throughout the afternoon, I saw many of my husband’s friends and their wives who I hadn’t seen in months. Everyone looked amazing and I began to feel dowdy. Even the woman who was nine month pregnant was wearing the cutest dress matched with just the right accessories. Meanwhile I realized mid-party that one of my favorite shirts had a hole in it. Several had just returned from amazing vacations and were sharing their thoughts on how incredible their adventures were. I saw my first Apple watch in real life and feel completely in love with it. As I sat by the pool watching my kids swim (because, of course, they have a pool in their backyard), I felt a myriad of emotions ranging from feeling out of place, frumpy and jealous. My mind was filled with thoughts on how I could save to buy a new house and definitely some cuter clothes.

I finally returned to my tiny home and immediately started seeing everything that was wrong with it. My neighbors were having a loud party again. Every room was in need of a good cleaning and organizing. Everything just seemed wrong, wrong, wrong. Realizing the negative atmosphere I occurring in my mind, I knew I had to do something to snap out of it. Sure I could max out the credit card on a new wardrobe, but its not like you can put a new house on credit. (Right? That’s not a thing, is it?) Instead, I decided to force myself to think of one thing I am grateful for. My thoughts immediately went to my son who had curled up beside me unaware of the pity party I was having. He has been in swimming lessons for the last 8 months, but put on googles for the first time today. Watching his reaction to seeing under the water was priceless. Normally adverse to being in the pool, he didn’t want to leave the water. I was also happy to see that our months of swim lessons are beginning to amount to something! My husband arrived home from work and I noticed immediately something was a bit off. To be honest, I was in the midst of wrapping up my pity party and really didn’t want to get involved in whatever was bring him down. But as marriages go, he decided to share without my prompting that his company is doing a round of layoffs. I immediately added being grateful that he still has a job to the list.

How am I feeling now? Honestly, I know that some of the feelings I had will continue to linger. I need to focus on the numerous, uncountable blessings I have in my life. Why is it such a struggle at times? I have a wonderful life if my main concerns are about looking fashionable and the square footage of my home. I need to remember that the next time I am faced with others blessings!

Reflections From Vacation

Yesterday I arrived home from one of the best vacations to visit family that I have ever taken. Prior to leaving, I was dreading this trip as I do with most vacations. I often get stressed out about packing the right amount clothes for the kids, missing flights, overspending, etc. Traveling with little kids isn’t joyful. People asked me before I left if I was excited about the trip and I would give the reply, “Well, I am going home so is that really a vacation?” However, the trip was incredible. I woke up one morning of the trip and realized I was having a fantastic time and I didn’t want to return back to Arizona. I was actually feeling relaxed and calm unlike much of my days lately. How can I harness some of that calmness in my every day life? What made the trip so different than others? Here are a few reflections:

1. We kept a simple routine – Each day, we’d wake up late, eat brunch, do 1 or 2 activities, eat dinner and then relax in the hotel. Normally I try to pack in as much as I can to maximize the days I have in the city. Sitting in our hotel room seemed to be a waste of time, but now I realize its the opposite. There is beauty in doing nothing but spending time with our immediate family. We read books, played games and slept a lot!

2. Put family first – Visiting the town I spent the majority of my life in always makes me feel pressured to see the many friends I have there. However with 5 siblings, 2 nieces, 2 nephews and both of my parents, there is plenty of running around just to see immediately family. My main priority was not only seeing my family, but allowing my kids to spend significant time with them.

3. Doing one thing at a time – I managed to really be present during our stay. Instead of focusing on an agenda and what we were going to do next all the time, I did my best to let things flow. This was very hard for me! Often times I felt a minor panic attack coming  on when there was no plan in place on how we were going to spend the day. My husband kept having to remind me, “There is no where we need to be.”

4. Daily reflection – Without distraction of checking work email every five seconds, I found my mind free of cluttered thoughts. I didn’t lose my glasses 50x a day because I was distracted. I didn’t have a laptop to spend hours mindlessly watching tv, playing candy crush or checking my bank account 10x times a day. I actually was able to gather my thoughts and reflect on how differently I want to live my life and what steps I would need to do to accomplish them.

Now that I am back, I am trying to uphold the promises I made to myself: work less, unplug more and be present. I hope to spend the rest of the year focusing on how to actually do that! Hopefully I can use this blog to stay focused and live more. Stay tuned!