Monday, June 30, 2014

Advice For Living A Fulfilled Life

Tying in with my Top 3 Goals of the Summer, I read a great post on 10 Life Lessons to Excel in Your 30s full of great advice from wise sages who have been there and looked back.

While my number one was Exercise, their number one is Saving.

In past blog posts, I have lamented over my monitary woes. It feels whiny and childish to read over them. I deleted several, but kept a few just to remind myself that I was whiny and childish.

Still, I must have been on the right track, because so many wise people shared that their life would have been a lot easier had they saved for retirement, or even for emergencies.

One huge catastrophe. Loss of job. Identity theft. Natural Disaster. Insurance isn't completely enough. There has to be some emergency money saved up. What is the rule of thumb, at least 3 months of your bills?

So, this is a goal for me. It is probably a goal for the majority of you, in your 30s or not!

Number two on their top 10 was health. Of course. You've only got one body.

The next two are about relationships. I address the topic of relationships with my Goal Number 2: Planning, because I am thinking about my family and when to see them and things to do with them. Family is number 9 on the list, addressing more than just your children, but parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Summer is a great time for family reunions and building memories, reconnecting, and not holding grudges.

A huge section of the list is devoted to talents and dreams, being yourself and loving what you do for a living, and taking chances. I suppose that really is what your 30s are for. Sure, you are ready for a career to begin saving for retirement, but you want to love what you do and be happy. This is a decade of your life, after all. Don't waste it working for the man in a nowhere kind of job. I don't address this in my summer goals, because I am on summer break from my job, teaching. I am happy with teaching, and I don't think it is a nowhere kind of job, but my real passion is writing. What I have to do is remember to devote time to writing and see where that takes me while I work my job and serve children with special needs.

Lastly is a plea to be kind and respectful to yourself. This is addressed in my Mental Health section under having fun. You can't have fun if you hate yourself and everything about yourself. It's like how you can't sneeze and keep your eyes open.

Want to know what to do to find your happiness?
Being Honest, Kind, Respectful, and having positive self talk is addressed in detail in my wordpress blog, "Spoonfuls of Sugar: A Happiness Journal" during the month of July 2014. Expect one post a day. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Top 3 Goals for the Summer

Summer Break is basically a long stay-cation. While I do have two tutoring jobs and I am playing chauffeur for the oldest's summer police camp, the rest of my days are free to plan as I see fit. Speaking of fit, that brings me to some summer goals I have because while I may have 8 weeks until I go back to work, those 8 weeks will fly by! I want to have something to show for it.

Goal #1:  Physical Health - Exercise

I need to remember to keep exercising this summer. I have 8 weeks to new habits. What could you do with 8 weeks?

Some tips for adding healthful choices to your summer:

1. Get active! - Make a point to do something physical every day; a Hiit workout, a long walk, pull ups on the playground, a game of soccer with your kids. Do something every day to get your heart rate up.

2. Meal choices - Sometimes it is way too hot to cook! Make a point, however, to get plenty of vegetables, even on vacation.

3. Snack choices - If you decide to have a picnic, take a day trip, or even while on a traditional vacation, pack healthy snacks. I love granola bars, fresh fruit, and raw veggies. Raisins, trail mix, or some dry cereal (not the sugary kind), are good, too.

4. Drink choices - Drink lots of water. If you eat out, dine in, take a hike, or wake up, drink water. Not only does it fight heat exhaustion and do wonders for your health, it is cheaper than sodas in restaurants. I'm all about saving money!

Besides, American Ninja Warrior looks so fun!

Goal #2: Emotional Health - Planning

I already mentioned that I have lots of time to fill. There will be hot days with lots of down time. The month of July is pretty wide open as of this point. So, to avoid depression, doldrums, or lack of motivation, the key for me is to plan out projects, fun times, and things to look forward to all summer long.

One great project idea is to make things with the kids. I love looking up ideas for summer fun play, like these that include water bombs from sponges, pool noodle croquet,  making a fairy garden cheaply, giant bubbles, and sun ovens.

I also look for educational activities like teaching my kids to cook, exploring nature, photography and scrapbooking, arts and crafts, and science experiments (like this).While they are not looking forward to 'school with Mom', I would be remiss if I did not keep their brains engaged.

Planning is also the key to tackling the major house cleaning I need to do, like purging items for a yard sale, deep cleaning areas rarely touched, and re-organizing or re-purposing items for a fresh feel.

Meanwhile, I am keeping my classroom in the back of my mind, because I need to make huge changes in there for the fall.

Goal #3: Mental Health - Have fun!

Boy do I need to unwind! I like to have fun. I might dance, do some fun crafts, write the next greatest novel, or sit by my new fire bowl at night and watch the boys catch fireflies. I might read, or go for a picnic, or bike ride. I can unwind in a calm or active way. Sometimes exercise relieves stress better than a relaxing bath.

Whatever you need to do to clear your head, do it! I find that if I do a monotonous or repetitive task, like vacuuming, counted cross stitch, or am in a place where I can't get distracted from my thoughts, like the bathroom or the car without music, then I begin to muddle through life's issues and problem solve, or have creative ideas. (caffeine also works, but not recommended :D)

Make time to make memories!

Getting Ready for a Yard Sale: Purging and Emotional Detachment

I told my sister we needed to get together and have a big yard sale. Still have no idea WHEN or WHERE the sale will occur, but I'm getting ready anyway.

Gearing up for this yard sale event, I watched many episodes of Clean House.
It took some perspective shifting to begin to view what I wanted my house to look like without extra clutter. Niecy Nash spoke to me several times through the highly scripted adventures of the show!

For many people, purging your treasures is hard. Cleaning up, clearing out, and organizing a space that contains items full of memories often dredges up emotions. It is difficult to separate yourself from the emotional ties to people, events, and moments in your life that signify who you are or who you want to be, the best times or the times you want to have in your life, and the people you love.

I started this week in my youngest son's room. I knew he was outgrowing some books and toys. It is also easier to clean up someone else's space rather than your own. :)

The best thing to do is to have your children help you by telling you what they feel they are too big for. What is always amazing is that they can detach themselves from their items so easily. "I'm too big for Cars, now Mommy." It's the adult who sniffles and thinks, 'but you were a toddler when you played with this!' He started my piles of salable items off right. Two big containers of toys and books, plus his entire bedding set.

One thing I disliked as a child was my mother storming into my bedroom with a large trash bag and making things disappear. I wanted to have control! I will not take that control from my boys. Instead, I will teach them how to organize their spaces, display their prized possessions, and get rid of things that are not used and not respected. "Everything has a place and (most of the time) it gets put back in its place!" (Right?!?!)

Then I moved on to a space which has become a junk dumping ground. It was easy to work here because I had already decided on a few things in there that I knew could go. Detachment happened long before the work. I purged my collection of dolphin figurines and old CDs and cassettes. (Yeah, I still have some.)
I also began on my bookshelves and DVDs.

I found a lot of dust! In fact, if things were too dusty, I forced myself to really consider whether it was something worth hanging onto.

They say to ask these questions:

  • Do you love it?
  • Do you need it?
  • Have you used it and how recently?
  • Does it make your life better?
  • Can you borrow it, rent it, store it in a cloud, or burn it? Could you buy another one if you really needed it?
  • Is it out of date or style?
  • Am I keeping it for an emotional reason?
  • What's the worst that can happen if I don't have it?

I moved on to decorative knick-knacks, and the board game closet, but I still hadn't tackled the difficult areas: clothes, scrapbooking, and holiday items. Would my mother really be that upset if I got rid of the ornaments she pawned off on me?
Probably not.

A couple of good things: since we moved one son into a new room 6 months ago, he hasn't had time to accumulate a lot of things. He needed some organization and some trash thrown out. Secondly, I had already put clothes into a pile in the winter and delivered it to Goodwill when we thought we were so over having yard sales, so our closets were pretty picked over.

Cleaning out a house for a yard sale is not a one-person thing. I need my family to pitch in. They need to go through this process, too. It is healthy. Besides, the garage is not my domain! Hubby has yet to let me down. He usually finds SOMETHING that ends up being a 'big ticket' item and sells for a chunk of change. I have no idea what that would be this year, but he will inevitably find the THING.

Until the day arrives, there is a growing pile of things I am emotionally detached from in my living room. I will continue to purge more corners and drawers and nooks and crannies until I feel successful, clean, and proud of myself for getting out the gunk. Plus, I will love my clutter-free, beautiful, house and knowing my clutter demons are conquered.