Good morning. Part two was promised for yesterday, but I was interrupted by having to mindfully buying a vacuum cleaner, having managed to blow up mine. Blogging time was, highly ironically, taken up by shopping online instead.
I cannot say I enjoyed the vacuum shopping particularly though – utterly boring. We did discuss whether or not we should repair the vacuum, but as it was a fairly dramatic blowing out of motor and the remaining carcass smells really quite bad, we are abandoning it. Fixing rather than replacing is of course a really important part of the process. It is specifically not-shopping, rather than shopping. My focus here is on the times when it feels we have run out of choices.
Yesterday’s shopping was a good example of the budget I mentioned earlier this week helping me enjoy shopping a bit more. Buying things for the house used to be a bit freeform. Sometimes I would not buy things that would be useful, because I thought they were too expensive, other times I would randomly buy things we probably did not need (Ikea I blame you). Having to decide how much money to put aside for house decoration and maintenance (pretty much the same thing in my book) has helped make those decisions really clear and relatively painless.
I have found reducing plastic has been another way to simplify shopping. It’s a good way to stop mindless purchase of beauty and hair products. It surprised me how much I did this. Instead I have found one shop which sells bars of shampoo so I am working my way through their selection. It will take me a while as the bars last a long time. I stopped buying shower gels and liquid hand soaps and moved to soap instead, it has been great fun experimenting with different soaps and scents. Some are great. Some are awful, but it is definitely a more intentional process than buying whatever is on sale.
All in all, it seems that reducing choice and having some internal rules about what I can and cannot buy has helped enormously. Less sense of overwhelm, a shared hobby or a specific purpose and surprisingly shopping has become much less of a dread.
I am struggling with making myself write in the mornings. Yesterday was a good lesson in why I should though. There is always a list of things I should be doing in the mornings; various parts of my volunteering roles are very much email or computer based, so this precious 15 minutes could definitely be used for the greater good.
This morning is no different. I need to write a report, it should have been done a few days ago, so I need to crack on. Yesterday I got the laptop out deciding I would check my diary for the week and then do my account reconciliations – also overdue. I wrote this blog instead.
The result surprised me. It gave me a bit more energy than crossing things off the list would have done. I had forgotten that this exercise of putting thoughts onto paper first thing seems to straighten out my thinking for the morning and enables me to just get on with things a little bit faster.
I still didn’t get the report written, but I did get lots of other bits and bobs done yesterday, which I suspect I would not have had I not taken this bit of time to do something fun first. To get my own thoughts sorted and out there before I start writing for everyone else and doing the chores that enable everyone to flourish together.
This is my version of putting on my oxygen mask before helping others. I still need to plan what I am going to write though, eventually this is going to descend into sheer babbling if I don’t. Some may say it already has!
I am trying to write this whilst also having a conversation with two members of my family and dealing with a dog who is insisting on being cuddled over the top of the laptop. The teen has just read the first line and has just jokingly accused me of prioritising screen time over him. I have suggested he head towards the shower as he is supposed to be. All fairly normal family chaos.
We have, as the children have got older, settled into a lovely morning routine. We all wake up and prepare for the day in our own way. Not all of us want large amounts of social interaction over breakfast.
But we eventually gather for a walk, which each of us does our best to prioritise. And it is that walk that is the key. We know that whatever else we do in the morning, we will get to hang out with each other at some point very soon.
This has always been true, the walk to school was always the time for us to chat and sort out problems and listen to the news from school, or the latest obsession in the minds of a small child.
It still took me decades to work out that this is our happy time though. My one slight regret is that I did not realise years earlier that we all really enjoy the bustle of the mornings. We all like the noise of a house getting ready for the day. We’re not always cheerful, but somehow it’s at least understandable, and therefore acceptable, to be grumpy or stressed in the morning, so those moods don’t affect others quite so much. It took me years and years though to let go of a vision of bright sunny mornings filled with cheerful humans.
I am pleased we have all reached the point of enjoying mornings though. It makes life much easier. Not much quieter or calmer, but I can’t have everything.