Simplifying. It Ain’t Easy. Or Is It?

Because my MBSR class really focuses a lot about cultivating awareness, I try really hard to take time during my day here and there, where I ask myself: And what is going on right now inside you, Karen?

Most of the time I feel tired. Really fucking tired. So I acknowledge it, in the moment. Yep, tired. Okay. And then I go about my day.

A few weeks ago, I was discussing a mutual friend with someone, and I remarked that I was worried about our friend, because she seemed to be burning the candle at both ends. And my friend, bless her, said, Well, that’s because she’s highly functioning. And then she went on to say:

I kind of see you that way, too.

I started to argue the point, but in that moment, all the tired hit me. And I realized.

Holy shit, she’s right. I am burning the candle at both ends.

This busy snuck up on me in little tiny increments – for years now I’ve been adding a few things here into my days and weeks. I now structure these incredibly long workdays on Tuesdays and Thursdays where get up at 3:30am so that I can have Mondays and Fridays off. But on Mondays and Fridays I end up running errands and catching up with people I don’t see often enough that I don’t rest on those days either.

And man, I’m tired on those Tuesday and Thursday nights. That I used to REGULARLY work 12 hour days before I had Owen really blows my mind.

What’s so crazy about this awareness stuff is that, in the moment, I think, “ah. Tired. Yep!” and move on. I’m very AWARE that I’m tired.

I just didn’t see the big picture; the fact that I structured my life to be this busy. I saw the tree and not the forest.

One of my biggest fears about my new job is that it’s going to get worse. I mean, the first 4 months is full time with a long commute. In January, I start up my training again – next year I am planning on two half ironman distance triathlons, and the first is in June.

To that end, I know I need to simplify and make things easier on all of us.

So. Strategies.

My first step was to join a gym which is down the road from the new client. The gym is month to month and has a pool, and I have the ability to freeze my membership with my old gym for three months so that I’m paying for two gyms. It will cost me $20/month more for the month to month and the fee to freeze my gym, which is coming out of my spending money, but it’s better than nothing, and it’s close enough that I can go and swim or do a quick strength workout at lunch.

I also am starting to make double batches of soups and stews for the freezer this month so that dinner is simplified as well. I’ve also printed a bunch of one-skillet recipes which I’ve been compiling for use. One night of leftovers, taco night, pasta night. We’ll have to start prepping the next day’s meal at night, I think. I’m also considering spending a few Sundays in the kitchen, cooking for the week ahead.

Winter really lends itself to this kind of stuff, actually – soups and slow cooker recipes are incredibly forgiving in that way.

I’ve also let go of two of my responsibilities – there will be a new Treasurer for my running club and my MBSR class ends on 11/12, so that will free up some of my time.

I’m also fortunate enough to be working close by where my best friend lives, so I’ll be able to see her for lunch periodically, which will be awesome.

Interestingly enough, the fact that my job will be full time makes me wonder if it’ll be easier to simplify, just because I will be forced to prioritize better. Part of me wonders if the reason I do so much is because I tell myself I can – because, hey, I’m only working part time, I have time to do this stuff! So I fill up my days and weeks.

Only time will tell, I suppose.

What are the ways you try and make your life simpler? Any advice for me?

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3 Responses to Simplifying. It Ain’t Easy. Or Is It?

  1. Turia says:

    I think the thing with the new job is to just take it one day at a time for the first four months (which will be really really busy- full-time plus commute plus all the associated stress of starting a new job and learning how it all fits together). And then, once the first four months are over, give it a month or two and then make sure you assess it again to make sure the job is the fit that you wanted it to be.

    E. and I are meeting Q. at an appliance warehouse after school today because we need to buy a chest freezer. We just bought a slow cooker a couple of weeks ago and you’re right- it’s so easy to do a double batch. We want to get really organized with meal planning (especially lunches).

    For me, everything revolves around two things: I need to get enough sleep, and I need to get in some time to read for fun, preferably every day but at least a few times a week. If I get both of those (which can be a challenge) then I can usually handle everything else on my plate.


  2. noemi says:

    I have NO IDEA how to simplify my life. All I know is that right now I REALLY need to do another purge because the amount of stuff in my house is becoming overwhelming again. So that is really the only way I know how to simplify my life right now: simplifying my things so I can spend less time tending to them. I wish I had more answers.

  3. sharah says:

    This sounds silly, but the biggest thing for me has been figuring out a plan for my clothes. I pack my gym bag and lay out my and the kids outfits for the next day before bedtime. That way none of us have to fight through make those decisions early in the morning. I’ve also been trying to work with Project 333 and simply cut down on the amount of pieces I have while making sure that whatever is left is very flexible.

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