55 Years Old Now!

I’m sorry I haven’t posted. I’ve been busy getting this and that done on my book. I had hoped that it would be ready today, but I’m worried that the release will be a few days later. Oh, well, stuff happens.

One stuff that happened is that I turned 55! I’m so glad that I was able to celebrate it with my kids and Grand boys.

I wanted to see what 55 candles would do to a cake and so we LIT IT UP!

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The husband wasn’t able to be with me so he sent some pretty flowers…

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I thought it would be funny to do a milestone facebook post like all the new moms do to mark the development of their babies. So, I did one and Little G helped me with a photo to go with it.

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I hope to be able to say that my book will be available later today or tomorrow, but we’ll see.

Raising Adults - Book Cover

Peace,

Jill

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#nofilterneeded

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My last post was about my addiction to the feeling new things bring. Thanks for the comments and responses. It’s nice to know it’s not just me, I’m not the only one.

I was scrolling through my twitter feed today and someone tweeted something to the effect of, “Stop discarding and start living.”

That’s the challenge isn’t it?

Discarding, downsizing and organizing can become addictive as much as buying new things.  It’s easy to get caught up in the eddy of the process and never really start living.

The challenge is to find the same enjoyment in living that we’ve found in getting new things or throwing old things out.

 

As I mentioned before, I see a lot of people come to minimalism after a crisis, as a way to sort through their lives and find peace and meaning. Minimalism isn’t the peace and meaning but a process to filter out the things that are blocking, interrupting, taking up too much of our time and space so that we can enjoy our lives.

The challenge is to move from the process to the living.

It’s not as easy as you would think, especially if you’ve lived life with pain and hurt. Maybe you didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol or sex or other popular addictions to numb the pain, maybe you collected, purged, hoarded, lived austerely. Anything that kept your attention away from hurt.

However, if you’ve come this far and rid yourself of the distraction and you’re left with yourself, the temptation is to go back, stay in the eddy of process where you were safe and it felt good.

The unfiltered, undistracted life is a little raw and real.

All the stuff and activity kept us cushioned and padded from the hurt.

To live without the padding takes time. Like when air hits a scrape, it stings, we recoil but the more you expose it to the air the less it hurts in time.

It takes time to learn to enjoy life’s flavor without all the condiments. The footage without all the CG. The photos without the filters.

Life with #nofilterneeded is a wonderful goal, can we get there? Is it possible?

I’m going to try.

How about you?

Peace,

Jill

 

Minimalism vs The Addiction

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Here’s how it is for me – I like to get new things but I don’t particularly like to shop.

I don’t enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of the bargain. That’s not my thing.

I just like the feeling of getting something new. It’s the feeling I’m attracted to, not necessarily the item.

So, you know, dear reader, that I spent months discarding, decluttering and reorganizing my life. I’ve got my clothes closet dealt with. I’ve got my house decorating settled. Towels, linens, kitchen tools, memorabilia, storage, well, just everything is fine. It was hard work. It was emotional work.

And now there’s really nothing I need to buy.

Oh, there is still a desire to shop because I like that feeling of having something new.

To be honest, that feeling is an addiction.

Occasionally I’ll get an urge to buy something new. It grows until I’m jonesing for that feeling. My mind starts running through my whole house trying to find something that I can justify replacing. I’ll resort to really stupid reasons to buy something new. “The coffee maker is dirty, I need a new one.”

Or I’ll get that itch that I’m bored with my clothes and I need something new. “Yes, I have a pair of black shoes, but I need a pair with a millimeter more heel. Don’t you understand?”

Then I get real practical. I’ll say, “I need a new organizing bin or rack or something that will “help” me. I really need another organizing tool, don’t I?” Nope.

“How about office supplies, I need new post-it notes and paper clips, right?” Nope. “But my paper clips are just silver, I think I need blue ones and post-it notes to match. Matching office supplies will help me be more organized, right?” Nope. Just stop!

“Isn’t there anything I can buy? I need a fix!”

But minimalism has messed me up. I can’t get a fix!

Because now when I think of buying something new I get a flashback of all those bags of items that I discarded. Bag after bag, box after box of junk that I didn’t need. I remember having all my clothes spread out all over my room and carefully deciding which ones bring me joy and which ones don’t. I love all my clothes and the beautiful relief of having  a spacious closet. I can actually go in it now without feeling anxious. I don’t want to ruin that so I find that when I thinking of buying something I remember that relief and joy and I think, “Whatever I buy will probably throw off my balance” so I don’t buy anything.

It doesn’t affect just my clothes, but my whole house. I think about the overwhelming burden of clutter and the weight that is now gone of not having to find a place to put it all and clean it all. Oh, I don’t want that again.

So, I find myself not buying anything.

But the craving for that feeling of getting something new is still there.

It’s frustrating. I have an itch I can’t scratch.

 

If someone else asked me what to do, I’d say, “Go do something you enjoy like hiking or your hobby or spending time with loved ones.”

But you know, honestly, those things don’t take that feeling away. It just gives me a reason to shop: I need new hiking boots, a new tool for my hobby, a new dish to put the potato salad in that I’m taking to the pot luck dinner.

It’s a modern day addiction fed by advertising that is everywhere and the stores that are so convenient that it’s crazy. These stores give you an experience, make you feel good just by walking in them and walking out with that delicious feeling of having something new. “Where shopping is a pleasure.” “It’s my pleasure to serve you.” The stores exist just to make me happy! Right?

I’m sorry but walking in the park is not quite the same. It’s good, but not the same.

So, I hate to leave you hanging, dear reader. I have no solution.

Maybe it really is like what I’ve heard drug addicts say, “You never really lose the taste and desire for heroin, you just learn to fight it.”

Got any advice?

Peace,

Jill

 

 

 

Why Mature Adults Need To Take A Personality Test

The Guide to Manliness

I’ve been under the impression most of my life that as someone ages the more they become sure of who they are. As I’ve gotten older, I haven’t found that to be true. I have found that maturing, like every other phase of life requires me to start over again and figure out how I fit, how to function and how I can contribute.

When I started college back in the Ice Age I was required to take a personality test. I don’t remember the results and in my arrogance, I didn’t quite see the purpose. Later, in my 30’s I went back to college and was required to take another personality test. My results were surprisingly accurate. In a course I took I was required to administer and interpret personality tests for 20 different people. The results were freakishly spot on.

Since taking that course I have administered tests to many people, most of them college bound students, like I was, who needed a little direction in their new phase of life.

So, how are older adults any different? Just like the new college student, we are entering into a new chapter of adulthood. As a college student we were entering into a new phase of life, taking on new relationships, moving into a different living situation and community and so, I think, as an adult I’m not so different. I’m learning to parent adults, adjusting to new family members as an in-law and grandparent. I’m considering a new career, albeit a 2nd or 3rd one. Many of us are moving to new communities to retire, navigating health issues, losing loved ones and making new friends. Why wouldn’t it be beneficial to stop and revisit who we are at this point?

I understand that some people don’t like personality tests, I think they equate them to horoscopes or palm reading. I also think some people don’t like them because they don’t like to have “their mail read” so to speak. They find it disconcerting that a test can reveal tendencies or weaknesses about them that they are trying hard to hide or ignore. As in anything in life, if we look for the negative we will find it. If we look for the positive, we will find that, too.

I would encourage you to take a personality test as an adult. I think we can’t truly appreciate the accuracy of personality tests until we get older and can see how spot on they are. Hindsight is 20/20 you know. Taking a personality test as an adult can be very revealing and encouraging. You may find that you actually gravitated toward a career that best suited your personality type. Or that you naturally found ways to overcome your personality’s weaknesses in creative ways. You might even discover that you navigated relationships very similar to others with your personality type and did it quite well.

If you took a test as a college student you will most likely find that you are not the same type as an older adult. We have changed and adapted to our circumstances. We have been affected by life and experiences. Not only can a test help you discover who you are now but it can encourage you and affirm the person you have become.

I have found that revisiting personality tests at this point in my life, as an older adult, has been very helpful in several ways.

  1. In considering a 2nd career, volunteering and choosing how to spend my time, knowing my personality type helps me direct my work and effort in areas that are most compatible with my type. Not to say that exploration and failure can’t be good experiences, and they have been, but I want to “cut to the chase” at this point.
  2. Revisiting my personality type has given me an upper hand in navigating new family relationships and new communities. Seeing myself more clearly helps me be more authentic. Knowing other types helps me identify others, potential conflicts and potential friends.
  3. Knowing my personality type and my needs has allowed me to cut myself some slack. I find that my personality needs time alone to recharge. Knowing that gives me permission to do just that and not feel guilty about it.
  4. Not only has knowing myself allowed me to cut myself some slack but I find it easier to cut others slack, too. It’s easier for me to recognize and appreciate our differences and not be so judgmental. This is vital when navigating new relationships.
  5. Knowing myself at this point in my life gives me confidence and boldness while stepping into these new experiences. I know what I’m good at, how I can best contribute to community, and what my limitations are.

We’ve lived life, we’ve adapted, we are resilient. Our experiences have made us stronger and smarter. We’ve thrown off the weights and are looking to pursue a brighter future! And I think taking a personality test, as an adult can encourage and help us enter into this chapter will confidence and boldness.

Here are a couple of  links to some free tests, but you can also search for yourself.

https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

https://psychcentral.com/quizzes/personality/start.php

Enjoy!

Peace,

Jill

 

 

Distance Family & The Joy of Pinterest Boards

I have to give credit to my daughter-in-law for this one. Shout out! Woot! Woot!

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Maintaining a close family over a long distance is a challenge and so I’m always looking for creative ways to stay connected.

There are so many things that we take for granted when we are able to live in close proximity with our family. We don’t realize that stopping by for a quick visit or a trip together to the store or grabbing lunch periodically can give us information into our family’s lives that we miss when we’re not able to do those things.

Not to mention that our kids and grandkids change everyday and that subtle information that is communicated when we see them often is not available to distance parents and grandparents. When you’re with family often you’ll notice little things like color choices or hear them casually talk about things they like. When you don’t see your family often and only talk on the phone or FaceTime you don’t usually get down to those little, subtle details. And you only see them through the small window of the phone.  A lot of information is missed.

Especially when it comes to gift giving or wanting to be involved with our kids when they’re making a home and raising kids.

For example, my daughter may say, “I want a new purse for my birthday.” Well, you’re not around to see what kind of purse she’s carrying. You’re not shopping together to see what kind of purses she’s looking at and commenting on.

You’re not with your son to see what styles of sweatshirts or sneakers he’s wearing currently. You don’t know what books their reading because you’re not stopping by the house to see what’s on the shelves or coffee table. You don’t know what colors they’re using to decorate the kitchen.

Also styles change so quickly and what we might think is cute for the baby, they might think is hideous! And we don’t want to be “that” grandmother do we? That Crunchy Old Lady, no!

Well, that’s where Pinterest Boards are our friends!

My daughter-in-law helps me by keeping a Pinterest Board for gift giving. She makes a board for herself, my son and my grandson for birthday and Christmas. She also has boards about her house, clothes and accessories she likes, the colors she’s using, little helpful things like that. So, if I want to go off the board for gifts, I can at least stay in the ballpark because of the things she’s pinned on her boards. Her boards really helped me when my son turned 30 and I needed to figure out how to celebrate the milestone from a distance. You can read what I did, here.

Then I don’t have to ask so obviously, “Do you happen to have a set of mixing bowls in pastel colors? And would you like some?”

Another great benefit is that most of the time the links to where to buy those items are included in the pin. So, shopping is easy! I can just click and buy and have it shipped to them.

Not only is it great for gift giving but also for planning events. Right now we are working on the grandboy’s first birthdays and Pinterest is helping us communicate ideas for the parties. Now I can help with the party by sharing ideas and figuring out ways I can contribute.

If my family has to be separated by distance then I’m really thankful for technology and the ways it helps us stay connected!

Thanks Pinterest! Thanks daughter-in-law!

Peace,

Jill

The Challenge of Staying True To The Vision

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I always loved watching the plate spinners on Ed Sullivan or some other variety show. I love variety shows, why don’t we have those anymore?

Anyway, remember the plate spinning music? If you were here I’d hum it for you and you’d know what I was talking about.

My blog has been neglected as of late because I’ve been on the other end spinning some other plates.

That’s life, isn’t it, spinning plates? Having to give more attention to one plate, then move to another before it stops spinning and so on.

When I retired/quit my job of 17 years I quickly went into a frantic decluttering and minimizing phase. Now I’m into a “getting my s@#! in order phase which is soon to come to a close. Recently, I’ve been trying to take my time and think carefully about my choices and how they will affect my goal – to free up my life so that I can enjoy this next chapter.

So, in the past 7 months I’ve been resting, getting my health back on track, researching myself, exploring new interests and potential 2nd careers and generally figuring out what I want to do now that I’m in this chapter of my life.

There are a couple of “demons” that I am fighting right now. I have to keep them at bay lest they thwart my plan. Maybe you have the same ones: Money and Productivity.

I’ll be honest, money is tight since I quit work. I mean, we’re paying the bills but don’t really have much left to have fun or buy the grandkids stuff. So, it’s very tempting to take job offers that I’ve been given lately but I have to keep my goal in mind and be ruthless in making sure my choices support my vision of this chapter of my life. Otherwise, I will just be right back in the same boat – stressed out, fighting my blood pressure and not having enough time to spend with my grandkids.

This is my mantra, “It’s more important that I give my grandkids myself rather than stuff.”  That’s true, isn’t it? Tell me it is! They wont’ always remember the things I bought them but they will always remember the times we spent together and how I made them feel, right?

The other “demon” is productivity. I like to be busy, I like to feel productive. So, I’m tempted with filling my days with “doing stuff” to get that fix. I’m not comfortable (yet) with taking it slow, being patient, etc, etc. However, I know – from experience – that if I don’t chill out, take my time and be selective that my life will just be one big snowball of busy-ness that will crash and explode in a pile of illness and stress.

I also feel that mortality clock ticking and I want to spend my energy and effort doing things that produce goodness and help and bring joy to people. I don’t want to spend my precious time running in a hamster wheel going nowhere.

However, I have to gear down my passion to “help the world” and remember that cooking a good meal, making an encouraging comment on social media, loving my family, and all those other seemingly small gestures and actions are actually big things in disguise and are so important!

Taking It Slow

I’ve gotten involved in a couple of volunteer opportunities lately. I feel good with volunteering right now. I’m the kind of person that if I get paid for something I’m going to kill myself to make sure I give the person their money’s worth, and more. So, if I’m not getting paid, I feel freer to relax and enjoy the experience instead of obsessing about the work/pay exchange. But even in that, too, I have to put on the brakes. When I find something that is creative, challenging and that I’m passionate about I tend to get carried away. I have to pace myself. (Excuse me while I preach to myself!) And in my volunteering I have to keep my vision in mind and stay true to it.

So, this post, dear reader, is my attempt to slow my roll and re-center. Revisit my vision and make sure that I’m staying the course. And in sharing it with you, I give you permission to do the same.

What is your vision, dear reader? Maybe today is a good day to ponder your vision and goals and think of ways to adjust your trajectory to achieve them.

Hope you have a great day!

Peace,

Jill

Adjusting To The Minimalist Lifestyle or What Happens After You Throw It All Out?

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Have you ever had this experience, dear reader, where you are asking questions of God, the universe or yourself and then you come across a book that answers your questions?

I love it when that happens!

My last post about Finding A New Normal was really 3 posts or thoughts in one and I rushed to get them out of my head and they all jumbled together. So, sorry if it was confusing.

I was thinking of how it is that we often come to times when we have to find a new normal after crisis or change. But I was also thinking about When Did Shopping Become Entertainment? And also How To Adjust to the Minimalist Lifestyle or What Happens After You Throw It All Out.

Basically, I’m struggling with this pinching, awkward place between having thrown it all out and taking selfies on the Appalachian Trail.

As I was looking for the kid’s book “Madeline” by Bemelmans on Amazon, I was offered a suggestion of a book called “The Sabbath” by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Had to be providential, don’t you think? I felt it and so I bought it. I haven’t finished the book yet because it’s a book that you have to soak in. I have to take it in small, bite sized pieces and let it roll around in my soul for a while.

But I wanted to see if I could possibly get out in words what I’m discovering. Please bear with me. There’s a tiny, yet giant aspect to minimalism that I’m trying to describe.

Minimalism & Space

Attempting to live as a minimalist is really a big change. It’s counter-cultural. Even though it might be a trendy thing right now (or maybe on the wane) you really have to push against prevailing culture to practice it.

But there’s a part of me that loves to “stick it to the man” and so I can get on the bandwagon, say with fist in the air, “Yeah! I’m not going to let the consumer driven world tell me what I must have and how I should live and what I should value.” So, the first part of living minimally – reducing the amount of possessions I own – was not very traumatic. As I’ve said before, I’m at a place in my life where it’s not so difficult and actually somewhat natural to downsize. I’m not saying it was a breeze, it was a LOT of work, but it was doable.

So, I’ve minimized my possessions and organized and taken control of what’s in my house.

But reducing the amount of possessions you own is just a part of minimalism. The purpose of reducing possessions is so you can regain time lost in the acquiring, upkeep and cleaning of possessions. And as I was trying to express in my last post, there is this time that I now have that I’m free to use doing things I said I wanted to do – but for the life of me I can’t remember what those things were, haha!

Minimalism & Time

It truly has helped save me time and stress as I expressed in my post Minimalist Wardrobe – It Really Works and How Minimalism Saves Me Time. I’ll tell you, if I stopped there, at just minimizing my possessions, it would be well worth it.

But I really must readjust my use of time.

If I just relax, I find that I go back to my old patterns of behavior which is using my time to shop and acquire things!

I live in suburbia and going shopping is the thing to do. Why brew my own coffee when I can pop over to Starbucks in 5 minutes? And even if I do decide to brew my own coffee at home, don’t I need a better coffee maker? Let me do a little research and look at Amazon, but I might just go to Target because then I can have it in the next 30 minutes instead of having to wait 2 days for Prime delivery. And the cycle goes on and on.

So, what I’m saying here is that I need to find a new way of living life that has less to do with things and more to do with being.

And that’s what the book, “Sabbath” is addressing.

The Goal Is Not To Have But To Be

In the book, of course, the author is talking about the Sabbath. And if you know anything about the weekly Jewish holiday, it’s all about stopping the work, the striving and practicing rest.

And I think in essence, that’s what people are trying to find within minimalism. They’re trying to find some sort of rest and peace.

Our possessions, the pressure to shop and acquire keep us busy and restless. Minimalism brings a sense of rest to our lives, outwardly. But that rest is short lived if we don’t find rest and peace in our souls.

There has to be a shift, a counter-cultural way of thinking, that goes deeper than the mere possessing or not possessing “things.”

Heschel says: “There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to BE, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our soul concern.”

He continues, “What we plead against is man’s unconditional surrender to space, his enslavement to things. We must not forget that it is not a thing that lends significance to a moment; it is the moment that lends significance to things.” 

Heschel says that Jewish holidays teach us to be attached to sacred events, not things. He asks, “What was the first holy object in the history of the world? Was it a mountain? Was it an altar?” No, it was a day. “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.” 

“Sanctity of time came first, the sanctity of man came second and the sanctity of space last.” 

Isn’t that what minimalism is trying to achieve? Minimalism is trying to reorder our priorities that have gotten out of whack.

So, if I listen to Heschel, I need to value moments of real time. I need to value the people I love. Then, last, value my space and possessions.

As I take a sip of my green smoothie that I’m drinking as I type this, I close my eyes and savor the flavors and ask that it nourish my body. I’m thankful that I can sit here and write to you, dear reader. I look outside to the trees in my backyard and I am grateful for my life and breath and health. I can feel that this is a sacred moment.

Is this what life is like after you throw everything out?

I might like it.

Peace,

Jill