We spent a very productive couple of months facing the hurdles of remodeling. We started with this in the kitchen.
We also revamped the master bath and replaced the all the carpeting on the main floor. We replaced light fixtures, a fence, and the water heater as well. It was complete chaos, but we are very pleased with the end results.
While all was in chaos, I read Marie Kondo's two books on tidying-and began the process of decluttering my life. I am examining so many of the things in my life and determining which still belong in my life and which can go provide assistance in other people's lives. We have made substantial contributions to PAWS (Yavapai Humane Society), CCJ, St. Vincent de Paul, and Habitat for Humanity. Habitat sent a truck to pick up cabinets and other items removed during the demolition for the remodel.
Professional organizers, including Marie Kondo, try to get us to declutter before we organize. If there is less stuff, it is easier to organize what remains. for me, the process is still ongoing. However, I am very pleased with how much easier it is to keep things clean and tidy-at least where I have come close to weeding out what is no longer needed.
I have achieved success with many categories of items, including cook books and piano/guitar music. I am sure I could part with more of the music, but I am not yet emotionally ready for that. the hardest area will be my books. I re-read so many of them that they are like friends. I am sure there are a few I will be shedding, but most will remain in the library.
As I am looking at the 'stuff' in my life, I am also examining habits, goals, and plans. I have a new opportunity to serve at church-teaching Sunday School to a group of teens. So, I am asking myself if I live in such a way that they can see what I believe from the things I do. I want to walk the talk. I know I am far from perfect, but I do think I have managed to incorporate many of the things I believe are important into the things I do. Because I was not raised with some of these habits, they have taken a number of years of effort to become habit.
I look at other choices in our lives. I had expected to work full-time until I reached the age of 70-right up to the time that I retired two years ago. That was significantly short of 70. However, I also made a choice to marry a man quite a bit older than I. He is mostly retired and wanted me to be free to spend more of my time with him. Because of other choices I made regarding savings and investing and not purchasing certain little luxuries over the years, we could make that choice. Our far more limited income is still adequate for the lifestyle we want. I hope that choice can stand, but if not, we will re-evaluate then.
We both have made lifestyle choices to include regular exercise, generally whole, natural foods, and eating very little processed food. However, we also allow ourselves to have treats that do not meet that criteria. We have chosen a healthy lifestyle, but not one that forces us to feel like martyrs. It seems to be helping as the hubby has been able to almost entirely eliminate his inhaler although he has suffered from asthma since childhood and has a limited lung capacity.
As we get older, the choices we face will change again. Do we stay here in Prescott? We both love it. Will we move closer to children/grandchildren? Will we need to assist with care for other members of the family? How can we stay engaged in the lives of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren?
All of life consists of choices. Even the decision not to choose is a choice although the consequence of not choosing cannot be escaped. I think it has become apparent to me that mindfulness, being fully present, and actively choosing rather than letting things just happen gives the best odds for the kind of life I want to live. Choose wisely.