My dad turned 90 yesterday and he’s a picture of health, has a great sense of humour and is one of the kindest people I know.
I’m 53 years old and healthy enough, but how do I ensure that I get to 90 with the same stamina and enthusiasm as he has? My dad as well as my mum are true role models to me.
When I’m 90, I want to be happy, healthy, fit and still smiling like my lovely dad. One thing I’m certain about is that I’ll still be writing. My dad encouraged me to start journalling at the age of 4 and I never stopped. I love having so many memories to look back on.
Happy birthday dad! Here’s a big hug 🥰 and I look forward to celebrating 🥂 many more birthdays 🥳 with you.
I felt a bit overwhelmed this morning with what I needed to get done around the house, and so I stopped to listen to the Daily Calm meditation for 10 minutes as I knew that it would help. It was entitled ‘Redefine the Path to Success’ and today’s message resonated with me (and I hope if you are reading this today, it helps you too).
The message was about looking at the path we take to goals and successes and consciously choosing to staying in the moment. Tamara Levitt, who narrates and authors the Daily Calm, says that we should always look at enjoying the journey rather than focusing on the specific outcome. She goes on to say that we mustn’t rush through life, but instead “find meaning and joy in everyday moments”.
“Joy isn’t found in the destination but in the journey”
Tamara Levitt, Daily Calm App
I sat there quietly after listening and thought about the home project that I wanted to work on today and decided to enjoyed the small steps that I was taking rather than stress that it was going to take so long to get there. By doing that, it allowed me to forget about the outcome and enjoy the process. Putting some music on helped!
So, what’s my project?
The project I am working on at the moment is getting the current spare room/study ready for my youngest teen to move into. Her new bedroom will have slightly more floor space and will be more versatile, once we’ve taken the fitted furniture out.
Now, taking furniture out comes with a lot of work and mess including the task of emptying the contents of drawers and cupboards. This is a massive task particularly when things need swapping round between rooms. I know that I want to keep most of it, as it’s already been decluttered, but we can’t swap out all of the furniture straight away because the new room needs work done to it (decorating, moving radiator/sockets, plastering, carpet etc).
Taking out the fitted furniture was a big decision and it’s taken me months to feel comfortable about doing it. The main reason is because there’s nothing wrong with it; however, it’s not to my daughter’s taste and also she wants to be able to enjoy the space as a blank canvas. She’s come up with a few different design layouts and we’ve been working on a project plan together. We’re having the ceiling plastered in 2 week’s time and the decorator is booked for 4 weeks’ time.
I was very grateful that SAKS, my local beauty salon, could fit me in for a facial this morning. It was totally relaxing and not having had one for nearly a year, I thoroughly enjoyed the pampering experience which included an neck, shoulder, arms and scalp massage as well. I’m booked in again in 7 weeks’ time – cannot wait!
Out for a motivational walk
The sun was shining this afternoon so I decided to wrap myself up warm and go out for a brisk walk to motivate me to get some things done around the house. I have a few days off and didn’t want to waste them sitting around doing nothing (not that I ever tend to do that 😀). I wasn’t planning on going out for nearly an hour because it was so cold, but I just walked on the sunny sides of the streets and kept going. I did 5,000 steps and was propelled into motivation when I got home.
In the garage again…
Even though it was much too cold for sorting boxes and containers in a cold garage, I felt like doing it because things were getting on top of me in the house. I still can’t believe how easy it is for me to find enough stuff to fill a large charity bag just by spending an hour in there. I donated a lot last year, and took a couple of small bags last month, but this will be the first bag for February.
“Clearing is an inside job that begins and ends with you” says Stephanie Bennett Vogt in her book A Year for You. It’s one of three books that she’s written and I’ve read the other two. I got this one for Christmas and can’t wait to work through it.
So, a couple of days ago, I cleared the corner of my bedroom and placed an old chair there covered in a blanket. I put my feet up and read the intro where she explains how to use the book. The idea is that you focus on one week at a time and adopt the mantra of ‘practice makes spacious’ (I do love that phrase!)
I’m so looking forward to sharing my insights as I progress through the weeks.
“Practice every day, even for just one minute and your life will change”
Stephanie Bennett Vogt, A Year for You
I’ve now read all the pages related to week one and it’s all about slowing down which I sometimes find difficult so this will be challenging for me. She also suggests writing a letter to yourself by following some question prompts, then seal it and not open it until week 50… very interesting!
I have a new journal at my side ready to make lots of notes.
So often we get disappointed when we start a project and then don’t get time to finish it, or it takes longer than we think. We’re busy people, possibly juggling many projects both at home and at work, so…
… do yourself a favour from now on and allow yourself way more time than you need to achieve your goals and to make lasting change.
What’s the rush? Take your time. If you finish ahead of your deadline, that’s a bonus.
Taking regular bite-sized steps in an intentional way, moves you closer and closer towards your goals. If you still feel that change isn’t happening fast enough, at least you will have some achieved some quick wins along the way.
So, my tip is to allow that extra time to get things done properly without stressing yourself out, particularly if you have a lot of other stuff going on in your life.
Update on my decluttering journey
As some of my readers know, I’m at the end of my second year of trying to get decluttering and other projects finished around the house. I thought was going to take me one year!
It’s taking longer than I thought and I’m ok with that. I have a very busy job, a demanding family and have recognised along the way that I need daily recharge time. I have also spent many hours writing about my journey so that I can look back and see how far I have come.
I’m starting to feel a bit like Cinderella. Every time I feel fed up about something (in my case it’s usually relating to mess and clutter, not because I have to sleep in the attic 😀), I find that the mice have intervened which bizarrely motivates me to move forward.
A couple of weeks ago, I had an afternoon off and decided to spend 30 minutes minimum in the garage going through the boxes and vacuum bags that had previously been in the loft. I knew that most of it was going to be going to charity, but I wasn’t looking forward to facing the girls’ baby clothes that I’d kept up there all these years, all neatly organised in separately labelled bags according to size. They’d been in the garage for a couple of months, still sealed apart from one bag that I peeped into a few weeks before.
We have all experienced burnout in our lives at one time or another, but if we knew how to prevent this, surely we would try it wouldn’t we? It’s quite common to say that we’ll rest at the end of the day, end of the week, end of the weekend, when we’ve done everything or even when we retire!
If we were to seriously consider that burnout is linked to not taking care of ourselves, would we choose to have regular breaks throughout the day? It’s easy to say that we don’t have time, but I’m starting to realise that I don’t have time to not have breaks. It’s starting to come so naturally to me now and I try and plan them in throughout the day.
I’ve even started to get my daughters to do the same. I suggest that they just take five or ten minutes at the end of every hour where they can do some stretching, walk around the house, have a conversation with someone, sit somewhere different, get some fresh air, make a drink, and so on. Whether they do it or not is up to them but the seed is planted in their minds. It was particularly effective when we were all working from home during lockdown earlier this year.
A few thoughts…
Consider the impact on other people that you react with when you don’t have have regular breaks.
Taking breaks will instantly make you feel better and you will be able to communicate with less stress and more enthusiasm.
Just a few deep breaths in and out through the nose is a very good place to start. Put your hand on your tummy or heart (or both) when you do this as you’ll feel more in touch with yourself.
Six months ago, I saw this tiny mouse staring at me outside the back door and then scurrying away. This was a couple of weeks after we’d had Rentokil in tracking and removing mice in our loft, I smiled to myself and said ‘the doors are closed now little mouse so you can’t get in’. Little did I know that it (or one of its friends) had a plan up its sleeve.
If you have been following me for a while, you will know that at the beginning of last month we had our loft boarded and it’s all lovely and clean and organised up there now. It’s one of the best moves that I’ve ever made in this house. No mice dead or alive were found by the fitters.
Yesterday my husband asked where something was and I said ‘I know where that is, it’s in the loft boxed up and labelled’. I went straight to it, brought the box down that I needed and later popped back up there to put it back. I looked around at my tidy loft and thought ‘I must have imagined that mouse smell that I smelt a few days ago’ but curiosity got the better of me. So, I checked all the visible traps and went to go back down the ladder. Something made me go back and look at where the feeder tank was – call it intuition, I don’t know.
As I looked around the feeder tank area, I spotted a mouse trap on its side. I couldn’t remember putting one there but I must have done because that’s where the most activity was when Rentokil were tracking them. Low and behold, there was a tiny mouse in the trap. I couldn’t believe it. All possible entries into the house had been blocked off six months ago. The only thing we hadn’t done was follow up on a couple of things on their report… must revisit that. So, I’m assuming that’s how it got in. I’m just hoping that there aren’t more under the new floorboards!
Time to invest in a few more traps before we start hearing the scratching and pattering of tiny feet during the night again!
When the red plastic bit fell off my lawnmover a few years ago, I couldn’t find the long bolt/screw thing that attached to it anywhere, so I taped the long handle back on with all sorts of different sticky tapes and used it with despair and negativity.
I dragged it around the garden whist it was lovingly doing its job of mowing my lawn and cursed when it stopped working; giving it a kick and bash to get it going again. I even blogged about not likingmylawnmower last year; however, I never did anything about it. I never looked into buying another one, I never tried to fix it, I just mowed the lawn each time and dumped it back in the garage again. I never really took care of it. I suppose I needed an excuse to get a new one and all the time it worked I was never going to throw it away.
Then things started to look up….
I offered to mow my mum and dad’s lawn last month. I had used their one the previous month and it was quite heavy and not cordless. As I started mowing their lawn with my battery operated mower, they looked so impressed with how easy it was to use. They had a quick go themselves and realised how light it was compared to theirs. I was really surprised as well that it behaved itself the whole time I was there and didn’t stop working like it usually does, so I didn’t need to give it a kick or a bash. It was all very odd; almost like it was showing off, ha ha. I tried to explain to my mum and dad that I didn’t like it but they couldn’t understand why.
My dad watched with gratefulness as I pushed and pulled the lawnmower around their front and back gardens with ease. I started to feel bad about the neglectful way I had been treating the poor mower and it suddenly felt more valuable to me. I promised my mum and dad that I would bring it back to them next time and maybe try and fix the handle before then.
Fast forward to today…
As I’m going to see them again tomorrow, and would have my daughters in the car, I knew that I would have to take the tape off the side of the mower in order to get the handle to fold over. So, I went into the garage to look for an appropriate screw to fix the handle on properly.
Now, if you’ve been following me for a while you will know that my garage is still unorganised so it wouldn’t have been easy to find what I was looking for. I sighed at the mess… and I have no idea why I looked down on the floor at that point… and low and behold, there on the floor was this…
So, the carpets have arrived at the store, and at the end of this week two of our bedrooms are going to be carpeted. Now that this date has been firmed up, I’m keen to get all the last minute bits of painting done including doors and cupboard in my eldest daughter’s room. More on that once it’s all finished.
As promised in my last post, I wanted to tell you about the latest bit of DIY… a chalkboard which is something that my youngest teen requested for her room. Last week, I bought the chalkboard paint which ended up arriving in a leaking container. Luckily it had a plastic bag around it and after I’d rinsed it off and sorted out a refund, I was able to use the rest of the paint to make a start on the wall.
With a small roller it didn’t take me long and it dried in no time. It only needed one coat of paint and I was so pleased with the result. My daughter is using it for messages, lists and drawings. It’s actually quite fun to write on. Who needs to buy paintings for the walls when you have artistic teens? Her sister came in to use it a few days ago to let everyone know how many days it was until her birthday 🥳 .