|Image from here|
At the beginning of the year, I remember reading about new year's resolutions and people who avoid making them. I was drawn to the idea of defining the year ahead with one word. A word to help you shape the year in your head. A word to live by and help you achieve what it is that makes you happy.
I didn't have to think about it. It popped into my head. Like someone had asked me my name.
I've been thinking it about it ever since. Notions of Less have been floating around in my head for the past two months, so I think it's time I put them down to make sense of it all.
It's no secret that we've been made to fall in love with More. More is better. More is, well, more... if you listen to all the messages out there.
Think about it. More money, more gadgets, more toys, more clothes, more presents, more food, more friends, more dinner parties, more days out, more organised activities, more friends at those parties, more Facebook likes, more Facebook friends, more blog followers...
Don't you sometimes feel like shutting the world out, covering your ears, squeezing your eyes shut and shouting enough!!
I did. It feels overwhelming. I sometimes forget and get sucked in. But then I realised that life doesn't get easier when you have more. It gets more complicated. It gets busy and it gets exhausting.
So Less is my little friend for the year. I've adopted Less, and if we all get on, then I'm hoping Less will stick around permanently after that.
It's not like Graeme and I have ever chased more of anything. We've always been drawn to keeping things simple, but like I say, sometimes you get carried away with the tide.
So far, Less and I, we're getting on famously. It's calming me.
Less rushing around trying to fill our days. Fewer social outings. Less travelling. (We had to cancel a trip into Sydney in January to see Hairy Maclary at the Opera House, and as it turned out I was glad we didn't go in the end. You can really end up doing too much. Scheduling this and that in your diary and planning playdates, appointments and activities somehow makes it feel more worthwhile. More satisfying. Why is it empty diaries make you feel less important, less worthy? Think about it. Why is it so cool to be 'busy'?)
Some people don't mind dashing here, there and everywhere. Visiting places, taking in the sights, car journeys, dragging the kids to more 'experiences'. I've done it, and it doesn't suit me, or my family. So we're doing Less. I take the boys to a great music class in the week, because they love it, and they go swimming at the weekend. That's it. I'm not getting talked into anything else.
Toys. One of the worst traps. Like any mum out there, you want your child to have the best start in life. And you get sucked into 'the more toys the better'. But I've discovered, through Luca mainly, that simplicity and fewer toys are much more fun. The last two Christmases have taught me that too many presents is overwhelming, for my children at least, and it teaches them nothing. We were just as guilty. From now on, we'll be focusing on one special Christmas present and some books. And similarly for birthdays. How much nicer is it to get one very special present from each person? Special doesn't mean expensive. Just thoughtful and good quality. For Luca's birthday at the end of the month, we've specified no presents on the invitations. That way, all the focus is on having fun with his friends, playing games, creating memories. Not receiving stuff. Stuff that he probably won't play with.
As for toys at home, I now put away over half the boys' toys in a cupboard, and rotate every so often. I was amazed at the results the first time I did this. It created more space and more calm in their rooms. Less stuff to clutter their heads. They found more things to play with, and when I swapped things around, it was like Christmas again! Renewed interest in an old toy.
There's still far too much in their rooms, though. And it's one job I must tackle.
It's only February but I do feel like I've made quite a bit of progress with Less already.
We go out less and we spend more time indoors (when Kian allows us!). Pottering. At home. Must be my favourite three words.
And when we meet friends at the beach, or go to their house to play, it's special, because we haven't worn ourselves out doing stuff beforehand.
That's what Less does. Less makes everything more special.
I know it's all sounding a bit deep for a Friday evening, but let me tell you, I feel so much better now that's off my chest.
I'm off to pour myself a glass of wine. Still not sure about Less when it comes to good food and wine, though...