Summer! A time when our family schedule moves a little slower, and I can work on projects that get lost during the rush of the school year, when my schedule is totally dictated by kids’ sports and dance and school commitments.
You might remember, I quit the New Year’s Resolutions this year and instead went with a theme – the #OneWord movement. (Several of you joined me!) My One Word for 2017 is Release. And part of my efforts to release things includes de-cluttering so I can be better organized. I’ve been trying to release those things that take up extra space. (What stacks up the most around our house are papers and clothes – I wait too long to sort and discard when kids outgrow things.)
So over the past few months I’ve slowly de-cluttered my home office, my work office, my closet and the kids’ closets, and the laundry room. I’ve organized the kids’ school projects and papers and awards and pictures. When we left home for a week of vacation I was definitely feeling lighter. Releasing clutter and objects I don’t need (yay for that March garage sale) has been great! I love not being weighed down by excess paper and junk around the house.
But still – I felt like I was forgetting something. Something was still crowding me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Until I had time to run.
We’re on vacation this week, in a remote place where I literally forget what day it is. It’s THAT relaxing and unscheduled. And – miracle – I have time every day to run or walk – along quiet country roads, past fruit orchards and vineyards and near a lake. It is heaven. And running is the time when I have some peace of mind – to pray, to think or to just take in the scenery.
And even though my phone pictures don’t do it justice, isn’t it beautiful? This was my view – and who couldn’t be at peace during a run on this gorgeous day?
But I was not completely at peace. And when I finally had time to drink in the blue skies, the green grass, the fresh air, it finally hit me what I was holding on to – too much information. It might not stack up in visible piles like the papers and the clothes, but I was holding on to stacks of it nonetheless.
I love Facebook. I do. And I really love Instagram. And I love news – knowing what’s going on in the world. But the problem is, I remember pretty much 99.9% of what I read – so there I was, holding on to all these bits of information that came across my phone during the day. News alerts from a million sources about politics, health, entertainment and other randomness. (Beyonce had twins! Coconut oil is bad! The NBA draft! Tick bites can be deadly this summer!) And email, so much email…. hundreds of them sitting in my inbox – some important ones, but also lots of old and not-important ones. And the Facebook posts – why was I cluttering my mind with the knowledge that my husband’s co-worker from 1996 has a son who bought a motorcycle today??? Ridiculous.
Time for more release.
So I started to purge the data. Old emails -gone. Photos – the blurry ones and the useless ones – gone. And I used the “unfollow” button on Facebook – the one where you stay friends but don’t see every single post that people share. Phone alerts – off – so I’m not alerted every time a newspaper or network thinks they have “breaking news” (they usually don’t).
We simply get bombarded with too much information during a 24-hour period. And I was letting it happen… by subscribing to news alerts and app alerts I was letting too many outsiders clutter my mind and heart with data I didn’t need.
Releasing the useless facts and statistics and news taking up space in my mind means I can breathe easier. And there’s room – to fill my head and heart with what brings me more peace and joy.
So it’s been a good week – I finally put my finger on that invisible pile of clutter and tackled it. And now there’s more room – to absorb meaningful stories, thoughtful conversations and sometimes just peace and quiet.
(Oh – and also to enjoy a glass of wine with my family at this hilltop winery. Did I mention – it’s super relaxing here?)