The past couple of months, I was on an unannounced and unplanned hiatus. As you may have noticed, I refrained from blogging and, up until recently, I stayed away from social media. I had the urge to take a step back and re-evaluate because it felt like I had lost sight of my sense of purpose. Blogging and all other endeavors, once again, started to feel like a chore rather than the labor of love that it once was. I was all over the place and I needed to simplify and focus on what matters to me.
So I went offline.
I avoided reading any Facebook updates, I didn’t tweet nor Instragram. Basically, unless I live with you or you live in our area, you’d think that I had completely disappeared. However, going offline was something I needed–a social media purge if you will–because it felt like I wasn’t fostering any real relationships, which, I’d like to think is the purpose of social media in the first place. Instead, I was wasting time on things that didn’t really matter while neglecting really living. I was finding myself posting updates and taking pictures but I didn’t know why. I was writing for the sake of writing, but I failed to write about anything that actually compelled me. What was the purpose of that post? Why did anyone have to see yet another food photo? Why does anyone need to know I went here or there? What story was I trying to tell? And why do you or anyone have to know about it?
The past couple of months, I focused on myself and my relationships. I got off my ass and started exercising regularly. I baked more often. I made colorful cocktails. We went on adventures and I didn’t feel the need to Instagram every single moment. Yes, sometimes, “pics or it didn’t happen” doesn’t really apply. I stayed in the moment (no matter how simple or seemingly ordinary it was) and savored every second of it. But social media was not the only clutter I needed to take care of.
Now I’m learning to downsize.
We moved to a different rental a while ago and while packing in preparation for the move, I realized I had accumulated an unresonable amount of stuff. So, inspired by the book “The Happiness Project”, I decided to go through my closet and boxes to downsize. I’m not going to lie, it was tough. I have a lot of stuff, but I also happen to really like my stuff. Actually, I have an illogical sentimental attachment to my stuff–even when they really shouldn’t hold any real sentimental value. It’s just difficult for me to throw things away, so I decided to start a “donate” pile for things I no longer have any use for, but are still otherwise in good condition. That made it easier to let go.
So now I’m trying to avoid accumulating stuff by being very critical about what I bring into the house. That means cutting back on shopping. It was going really great until I went to the mall a couple of weeks ago and got tempted by a dress which, in my defense, was on sale. I’m trying.
Memories and experiences, not things.
I mentioned having a difficult time letting go of material possessions. I guess it’s a character flaw that I have struggled with even when I was younger. I tend to attach memories to tangible objects and that makes me want to hold on to these material things–from generic tickets, coins, cards and little knickknacks. This, I realize, is something I need to fix and I have a simple solutions: to hang on to and make more memories, rather than the little souvenirs. I want to focus on experiencing new adventures, not just objects and proverbial trophies that “prove” how much I’ve lived and what I have accomplished.
* You can read this little post about exploring the neighborhood. Because, who says we have to travel far to go on an adventure and experience new things? (More adventures soon!)
Did I mention I had 10 inches of my hair cut off?
I’ve been wanting to donate my hair since–well–the first time I heard of programs that allow you to. But something always came up (like an impulsive urge to dye it an odd color or prematurely having it cut before the required minimum length for donation). Last June, I finally did it. I had 10 inches cut off and I’ll be sending it off to Beautiful Lengths, where they make the donated hair into wigs for women battling cancer, which will hopefully help boost someone’s spirits as they bravely fight against cancer.
(Note: Please excuse my facial expressions. Thank you.)
I feel strongly about this because my family and I have lost my Grandpa to cancer. I was too young at the time to fully comprehend the disease and what it does to a person. What I do remember was watching my Granpa, a very bright and inspirational person whom I greatly adored, slowly fade and be overcome by the disease. It wasn’t sad, it was heart-breaking.
So it actually feels good to finally be able to do something and help in this small way. As a bonus, having short hair simplified my hair routine. I haven’t brushed my hair in days and it doesn’t look like crap! How’s that for low maintenance?
Onward. Focused, purposeful…and uncomfortable?
So here’s to living. To focusing on what matters; to living purposefully. To stepping a few inches out of the comfort zone, every time it starts feeling a bit too comfortable. And to whatever actually matters to you.