Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spring Clean-up, Body and Soul

I haven't posted here in a couple of weeks because I've been hanging out at my other blog, The Accidental Crossfitter. I have been on a month-long journey of reclaiming my healthiest eating habits using the Whole30 method. It seems that whenever I seek to discipline myself in one area, other things seem to come into focus as well. I wrote this post recently to express some of my thoughts about overall fitness, and realized that in fact exercise is only one part of the equation.

I have read two books this month that have impacted me tremendously. The first was the one I needed to read to understand the Whole30 process:

If you've never tried a clean eating challenge or are searching for a way to reclaim your physical health, I cannot recommend this book and website enough. It is clear, to the point, and infused with tough love to get you and your health on a path to having a better relationship with food. Don't think me strange, but I had a hard time putting this book down. I had read Rob Wolf's The Paleo Solution before, so this information was not new to me, but the presentation of the information was fantastic. It was a great reminder of why we chose this way of eating a couple of years ago. As time has passed and we've allowed ourselves to become a little slack, it was a great kick in the pants for us to get back on board.

The second book that I read that had an unexpected but very welcome impact on me was The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I think I and every other person in the US may have read this book this month, and if they haven't yet, they will soon, so it's not a big, original thing. It did, however have the effect of punctuating a conversation my husband and I have been having for several years, and that is the desire to de-own, de-clutter, live lighter. I have been interested in minimalism for a long time.

I used to live a very minimalist lifestyle--everything I cared about needed to fit in a backpack and once I arrived at my destination, a small, very tidy bedroom. It was a nice life, but did not include my husband and kids. Just me, my blue jeans and boots and a few favorite books. I loved the life, but I would never trade what I have now for the life I had then. I do feel, however, that as a family, we are very tied down to a rather large house and a whole lot of stuff--the trappings of a middle-class American lifestyle that seems nearly inevitable. But this is not what I value, and it never really has been. I recall a conversation with my roommate, sitting on the balcony of our tiny apartment, filled with 20-something vim and vigor. I stated that I found the idea of a house, mini-van and 2.5 kids appalling, and I would never, ever live that life. Well, I should have known then what saying "never" gets you, because here I am--and I really like my minivan. That said, I would happily downsize.

So this happened this week...

Every. single. item. came out of our closet and was placed on the bedroom floor. We evaluated everything. The kids did the same. When all was said and done we filled 9 contractor sized bags and three kitchen trash bags of clothing, and discarded at least 4 four more bags of stuff and took it to the dump. What remained was what we actually wear and really like. There is space in our closets and space in our drawers. Everything is off of the floor, and there are clean surfaces. I cannot believe how much lighter and better I feel. 

Suddenly I find myself on the Pinterest boards pinning every quote to do with minimalism and living simply. I find myself plotting the next purge, the next reform. I mean to get back to that lighter life, with time for travel, time for people, and money in my pocket to spend on experiences, not stuff. I mean to lighten the load and not look back.