Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Motherly Advice...Auditing your life Part One...Letting go of Fantasy Selves....

 
One interesting thing about blogging, is the constant pressure to come up with the next project, the next post, the next great photo.
 
I've often wondered what on Earth some bloggers do with all the 'stuff' they generate through blogging. I mean, I admire their creativity and ingenuity, but wow. They must suffer serious Clutter-bug-itis.
 
I know from my own experience, that I have a craft room full of paraphernalia associated with my blogging efforts. Some of it, like my beautiful lace above, is relevant. Much of it is not.
 
No more.
 
As my youngest child sails into her final 4 months of high school and prepares to enter Tertiary Study, and my husband and I prepare to retire, I think it becomes important to audit our lives. In fact, auditing your life is an important task at least once a decade.
 
Think about it. The way you live is constantly changing and morphing. We all know about the changes from singledom to married life, then from couplehood to family. We then make this quantum leap to 'retirement' without considering all of the smaller changes in between.
 
I know that I am a very different person to who I was 19 years ago today, when I married my husband. I'd already been married, had been a single mum for some years and I had three sons, one with a severe disability. It was the second marriage for my husband too. Being older, we both had very definite ideas about the life we wanted together, and we've worked hard to attain our goals.
 
 
Initially this meant seeing my sons, and my husbands only son, settled into adult life. This included my disabled son, who has Cerebral Palsy. Alby (as we call him), had very clear goals himself. He'd seen his older brothers finish school, and move out of home, and he was determined that he too, would live an independent life. Husband and I moved Heaven and Earth to make this happen in an era where this was mostly seen as pie-in-the-sky dreaming, and Alby has his own home, a team of Support staff, and a life that would be the envy of most able bodied guys his age, never mind one who is totally physically dependent.
 
 
It meant seeing our daughter through her formative years, and into young adult life, offering her the opportunity to pursue her dreams. She has a passion (and a talent) for the Performing Arts, and 15 years of dance, drama, and singing lessons, that kept us poor for many of those 15 years (lol!), have seen her well prepared for whatever comes next. Even if that's Zoology, her other ambition! She's in the top 1% of her school academically too, so that's not unrealistic. We're nearly there. Whatever she chooses, the rest is up to her.
 
So now, we make choices about who WE are for the duration of our...hopefully long...life together.
 
This means some serious discussion, and some hard choices about home, business, and the things for which we'd like to be remembered when our work in this life is done.
 
It means asking ourselves, as we have unconsciously for the decades prior to this one...who am I?
 
I cannot speak for my husband here. That is not my place. But I see my role as:
 
Wife and Companion
Mother and Mentor
Grandmother and Teacher
Friend and Confidante
Sometime Volunteer Costume Seamstress
Cake Decorator
Cook and Recipe Imaginator
French Lifestyle Admirer and Imitator
Blogger and Writer
 
 
From this point on, if something in our home does not fit into one of those categories, it is literally...GONE.
 
Auditing your life is more than saying 'yes this is who I am'. It's ridding your life of anything that does not fit that description. It's letting go of all of those Fantasy Selves that we all have. Fantasy Selves are those parts of us that make us part of the 'one day' brigade. As in "one day I'll have a succulent garden and I'll use that wheelbarrow and that old bicycle with the basket on the front to make a Pinterest worthy succulent display", then said wheelbarrow and old bicycle lays around getting in the way for ten years before being taken to the Waste Recycling Plant. I'm not guilty of that particular one, but I am guilty of others. In my lifetime, I have been the Sewing-all-my-own-clothes Self, the Emergency-Prepper Self, the Homemade-Gift Self and the Feed-my-family-for-under $100-a-week Self. I'm proud to have been all of those Selves for periods of time in my life. Those Selves suited who I was at that moment. Those selves helped me achieve many goals and dreams.
 
They are not who I am now.
 
Are you clinging to Selves that do not represent who you really are any more?
 
For many, many years, part of my own 'description' was 'Money Saver Extraordinaire', and I was proud of that. My Mum was a Money Saver Extraordinaire, and I wanted to honour her memory by following in her footsteps. So in adopting that title, I was determined that I would be the best I could be at saving money. I earned a bit of pocket money writing for an online newsletter by doing so. I contributed generously of my own time to a money saving forum for nearly a decade because that was 'Who I Was'. My very self, was wrapped up in being a Money Saver Extraordinaire.
 
Now that my family are grown, and I've spent the better part of 50 years of my life, living lean, making do, and being frugal, I am reaping the rewards. I thank my stars for the lessons I have learned, the friends I have made, the people that have come into my life either as Mentors or to be Mentored because of that Self. I've been so very fortunate.
 
BUT Money Saver Extraordinaire, is not who I am now.
 
Now, thanks to having been Money Saver Extraordinaire for so long, which allowed me to see some of the world,  for one thing, I am French Lifestyle Admirer and Imitator.
 
This Self has lead to commencing a year long programme of upgrading and renovating our home. We are now in 'this is our forever decor' mode. Thankfully my husband is a French Lifestyle Admirer too, so on this, we are in agreement.
 
 
We have started by renovating this vintage kitchen hutch, which I'd had for 25 years. Someone had broken a panel of the leadlight about ten years ago, and I've been dithering for years on whether to fix the leadlight panel ($800), or just paint it white in keeping with my French Country ideas and replace the glass with something simpler. Well, I guess you can see which way we went...
 
 

 
This, along with my recent kitchen appliance win, has started us on the road to renovating for our 'forever home', and it's a good feeling.
 
You don't have to renovate to start on the road to your forever home. Maybe it just means discarding the items in your home that you've been keeping for all of those Fantasy Selves. All of those 'one day' projects, all of those 'I'd better keep this just in case' projects. All of the paraphernalia that came with being a person other than who you are today and for the foreseeable future.
 
Sit down today, and ask yourself who you really are. If you are one of my blogging friends, maybe ask yourself, as I have, whether your blog remains a true reflection of your life, or whether in blogging, you've become chained to a lifestyle that is no longer authentic.
 
In commencing my New Year, New You posts for 2017, becoming an authentic Blogger and Writer, was part of my mission.
 
I hope that you, dear reader, are enjoying the journey with me.

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38 comments:

  1. Your posts are always inspired Mimi. A little while ago my sister helped me clear some aspirational clutter from my craft stash and it was very freeing. But I have missed doing creative stuff so I am determined to pick a project - and complete it. There's some other clutter from other fantasy selves or old selves that could go, too.

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    1. Thankyou Jodi. You all inspire me constantly :) Creativity is lifes blood to me. but I have to be careful to, as you say, complete one project before starting another! Love, Mimi xxx

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  2. Mimi that is a great post. I am currently sorting out all the craft items I bought when my granddaughters were very little as I made this and that for them at the time. I don't need so much anymore so it is time for it to go to a new home. Our lives do change as we enter different seasons. Now to just get my hubby to get rid of all his 'this will come in handy one day' clutter :-)

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    1. Thankyou Chel. It's easy I find, to get bogged down in 'a new project', without considering the impact on the existing clutter! A terrible habit of which I am determined to be cured ;-) Mimi xxx

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  3. I think when the last child is finishing up school that is kind of the end of an era. Retirement would be a huge change! We have no plans to retire so thats not on the radar, Dads 80th was this week and he isn't retired yet!
    I think blogging helped me be the real me. I always LOVED homemaking and crafts. I kind of feel bad that I had zero desire to have a "career" or even really fit into society as my ideas were often seen as kind of old fashioned etc. I did stick to my guns and on SS with you and Helen I kind of found I liked to write and it was a bit like blogging without me knowing it. When I branched out on my own I could be even more me than before as I could choose any subject I wanted! Mind you it was very similar to the threads I loved which were yours as savings Mimi and our 50 indulgences threads. They were a good foundation for me. Also I found out people liked that stuff and saw it as helpful.
    Now I feel all my loves and missions are truly me. I don't do anything I wouldnt normally do or make anything just for the blog, it is just life but I do find blogging eggs me on and encourages me a lot. I just love it. Funnily the things that once seemed old fashioned... many of them are quite "in" now and more people need help and encouragement it seems than ever especially with the rising costs of food and bills in general. Being the real me turned out ok after all! Ive felt increasingly free to ditch the things I never felt comfortable with, as I have mentioned before these included the ladies lunches, the melbourne cup hats and many things that I really hated but felt obliged to be normal and attend! haha!
    My real self is Australian, Mum and wife, Grandmother, encourager and my mission is to help my family all I can. I agree that life is too short to be someone your aren't really and to try and fit in with things that just don't fit. It is so much easier to just be yourself. Interesting and thought provoking! xxx

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    1. Dear Annabel...so true, so true. The end of an era. That is exactly how I feel. For better and for sadder. I hear you on your Dads retirement. We plan to retire from business life, not from life itself...lol! So many plans to keep us busy from helping families with disabled children, to helping our own children, to continuing to create music, costumes and general frou-frou :) Your love of homemaking oozes from each and every post on your blog, and you continue to inspire me and many others as you well know. I admire you so much. We are the same, and yet different. Love of home and family binds us for sure. I am glad that you feel you have found your mission. I feel I have completed mine in some respects, and am ready to embark on a new one. For some bloggers, this means starting a new blog or making over their current one. For me, I am hoping, it shows my friends and followers that beyond the frugal lifestyle, is a world of peace and serenity, where rewards are great and fulfilling, and are not necessarily anything to do with 'money'. I know you get that! As for Melbourne Cup hats...well I abandoned those for a couple of decades, but I feel the thrill of a pretty thing returning for me at my stage of life, and with good friends involved in the Millinery and Fashions on the Field industries. Maybe next year ;-) I think you are right to blog about your 'real life'. Your real life is inspiring enough for any of us. Love, Mimi xxx

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  4. Mimi I love that term 'Fantasy Self'. I had not really thought about the one day self in this way.
    In the past year Bluey and I have had to make a lot of serious changes in our life and our lifestyle. Due to his illness, hospitalisation, surgery and recovery time(we are still in this period), an active life has been put on hold. I keep thinking about the life of when Bluey is well. This may be a fantasy life but it is one I will continue to hold onto as it provides a light at the end of what has been a very long, and at times dark, tunnel.
    I have always loved colour in my home. Lots of colour. I am gradually moving towards a refined, and very 'Jane' like, edition of bohemian style. Not hippy gypsy but still colourful and lovely.
    I am very much enjoying the posts that you put together Mimi.
    Have a lovely week.

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    1. Dear Jane...funny but that is exactly as I imagined your home. Full of colour and life! I know a little of Blueys trials and certainly good health remains at the top of all of our lists I think. You have to cling to that little pinpoint of light sometimes. It's important to have hope. So my dear Gypsy friend, what next for Jane and Bluey, I wonder? Love, Mimi xxx

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  5. Great post Mimi, and so true. We all live through 'seasons' of our life. I am preparing to retire from work. Have worked for 37 years, and have been in my current employment for 13 years. Am currently on long service leave, and have been decluttering, which is a great feeling, and getting my garden and outdoor area revamped. Enjoyed your post, thanks Mimi, regards Robyne, S.Australia

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    1. Dear Robyne, thankyou for your kind words. Decluttering and revamping is an ongoing mission I think. It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking 'well that's done', and not bothering again for far too long. I guess there was a reason why our Nannas did their 'Spring Clean', although for me, it seems to be more like 'Winter Snuggerising' every year! I hope you enjoy retirement as much as we plan to. Warmly, Mimi xxx

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  6. What a wonderful post! Timely post for sure. I had just started journaling the other day some new goals. Now just to implement for this part of my journey! As always thank you dear one.

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    1. Dearest Lynn, thankyou. Journalling is another great way of working out 'Who Am I', especially as we go through the various life changes that our 40s, 50s and 60s bring. Good job to you I say...xxx

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  7. Very inspiring!! Our 'selves' do truly evolve as life goes on.

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    1. Penpen, it's interesting. I've met many people whose 'self' is so tied up in their work, or their volunteering, or their parenting, that they truly are lost when those things come to their natural conclusion. Not me! Life is still full of possibilities and exciting opportunities, that I am certain, I'm not even aware of yet. Yes, we evolve, so true. Mimi xxx

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  8. A great post, Mimi! I have always been an... I'll keep this just in case person. The end result, however, is clutter. In recent times I've begun to de-clutter and let go of my Fantasy Selves, and it feels good. It's still a work in progress, but I'm getting there.

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    1. Pam I am too. And isn't it infuriating that sometimes, as soon as that thing is discarded, you need it...lol! But I can be at peace with that. There is very little these days, between online shopping, retail and thrifting, that cannot be had again. Best to let go of 10 fantasies, and have to resurrect one or two, than to leave your family a house full of clutter to disseminate when you're gone, I think. Not that I'm planning on going anywhere for a few decades, but still. Now is the time to stay on top of things. We've seen too many homes of the elderly that rated an episode of Hoarders in our line of business, to be lax on that point! Love, Mimi xxx

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  9. Dear Mimi!
    Alby looks so happily contented, and your wedding photo is beautiful!!
    I agree totally with auditing of one's own life. You look to be thriving on being yourself, and this is very good!!
    I, too, audit my own life, and feel, more and more, that I was made for the home-based work that I am doing now. The best way for me to help others is for me to do the work ahead of me at home!!
    Warm regards,
    Rachel

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    1. Dear Rachel, yes our young man is happy and content and we are so very proud of him and the life we've negotiated for him. Thankyou. Sometimes I think it takes us till our 40s and 50s to become the authentic 'me', and auditing your life, not just of possessions and fantasy selves, but of irrelevant ambitions, friends and commitments, becomes more essential as the years go by, don't you? I too, love being a homemaker, as opposed to a 'housekeeper', and relish the challenges that that brings every day. You're ahead of the game on me in that respect! Love, Mimi xxx

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  10. Mimi, You never cease to amaze me. Your posts come along at just the right time. I am on this journey too!

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    1. Dear Laurie, perhaps after a while, we all have a collective consciousness moment on these sorts of topics. Be it seasonal, chronological, or generated by events outside of your control, I do believe a minor annual review, and a more wholistic one ever decade is sensible, don't you? Love Mimi xxx

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  11. HI Mimi,
    Loved this post..........love your honesty and you are well on your way to not
    struggling so much with the empty nest.......there will be those, but you are wise to start early on figuring out who you are.......at this point in your life........I was never a Mom who thought my life would be over when
    my children left home.......but have to say when it did happen it through
    we off balance quite a bit as so many things changed at the same time. This
    will be a new era for you....and it takes a bit of emotional maneuvering,
    as does any big life change.........but eventually we get a new normal and
    really enjoy watching our children fly.........and find new things that
    are enjoyable to us and make us happy, and have plenty of time to enjoy and
    spend time with the person we first started out with before the kids......
    Loved this post. Exciting times ahead........
    Blessings dear Mimi.
    Love and Hugs, Nellie

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    1. Dearest Nellie, yes! The Empty Nest. I have so loved having a daughter later in life when I could give her my full attention, unlike having my sons younger and being a working single Mum. It's been a very different parenting experience, and one that will be hard to let go. That said, my husband and I have so many exciting plans, and I cannot imagine my daughter moving out anytime soon, so I will enjoy her company as a young adult, just as much as I have when she was little, I am sure. I hope she does 'fly', as my sons have, and I will feel an enormous sense of peace in seeing her dreams come to fruition. It's a good feeling to get to this stage of life, and see that all the sacrifice has been worthwhile, that is for certain. Love you lots. Mimi xxx

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  12. Oh and forgot to say....what a beautiful bride you were......and also love what you did with your hutch.....hope you will share your whole kitchen with us when you are done........and what a wonderful gift you have given to your sone Alby.
    Blessings, Nellie

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  13. Mimi, I love this post. I am a homemaker from the old school, a wife, mother, grandmommie and blogger, but most of all I am happy and content. In my opinion, you just can't put a price on that! A very thought provoking post!

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    1. Dearest Patsi, yes contentment...a vastly undervalued thing. In all that I've ever done in my life, at the end, all I wanted out of it, was a feeling of peace and contentment. It's wonderful to have been accepted so willingly into this international community of bloggers, who value the same thing. Who could have imagined! Love, Mimi xxx

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  14. I have never stumbled across your blog before, but I read this and it really spoke to me. I will certainly be dropping by again! Tracy in the UK

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    1. Dear Tracy, I am so happy to meet you. Blogging brings us together, as it has so many of my friends. I am pleased that my scribblings called to you, and I'll be thrilled to have you drop by more often. Warmly, Mimi xxx

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    2. Thanks Mimi, I certainly will!

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  15. This is a wonderful post Mimi! We moved house (and region) earlier in the year, so made some major decisions about what was coming and what had to go. I went through my craft supplies very carefully and even got rid of some projects that I'd already started and were sitting unfinished for a reason, I didn't want to finish them. But I understand that what you are saying is about far more than decluttering stuff. Part of our reason for moving to a rural area was that we wanted a quieter lifestyle, as much as that is possible with five children under 10! So I have been determined to not fill our schedules with things we don't really want to do. Which has meant I've needed to politely decline some invitations.

    There was an exception I went to one of those 'demonstration parties' where you are meant to buy loads of stuff at the end. I hated it! And then felt uncomfortable when people around were making huge orders while I was flicking through the brochure looking for the cheapest item lol. In the end, I just said that some of the products appealed to me, but I ended to pay for my children's sports fees that week instead. A very good (if slightly painful!) reminder of why I don't want to fill life with things I don't like.

    Although we are in different stages of life Mimi, I find so many of your posts relevant. You are very good at passing on what you have learned so that can apply to anyone.

    Thanks for this post, I'm feeling like June is going to be a great month for me to get things done, I've started well and I think this post will help.

    Jen in NZ

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    1. Dear Jen, it's always lovely to hear from you. I admire you greatly for making this huge decision for you and your children. You are giving them a quality of life to be envied. It's an art, isn't it, to do what you said about declining invitations. I filled my life with those demonstration parties when I was younger, and it was a good social outlet, but gosh...the things I bought that I didn't really want! Sheesh! I think you were right to just be honest. I am honoured that you think my posts are helpful in your life, and I hope to continue to offer my life experience as inspiration for how frugal and conscious living can be a path to contentment. June is good. June is Snuggerising month for me. I didn't always call it that and I have another online friend, Helen, to thank for that term. It's so very descriptive of my annual reassessments. Wishing you a lovely Snuggerising month too. Love, Mimi xxx

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  16. Love your thinking Mimi. I would have done the same with the kitchen hutch it will still look great when you have finished with it. I'm sure you've already thought of it but keep that good door and use it on something else unless you can incorporate it into the new hutch.
    Our youngest left school at the end of last year. I'm finding it really good to be free of school. I certainly enjoyed our school years with the kids. I was on the P&F, involved in the fetes, trivia nights, social nights, reading, craft etc but it was fine to move on. Funnily enough I've been doing the same by culling the things we don't need anymore and looking to what the future will bring and feeling positive about it.
    Keep up your brilliant work Mimi. You have a real talent for so eloquently writing what you're all about.
    Janiebabe

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    1. Dear Janiebabe. Gosh I wish I'd just painted that hutch ten years ago, honestly. I had this big internal thing about it being a precious antique, and really, it ain't that precious...lol! Silly the things we procrastinate on, and for the craziest of reasons. No more. That one thing has been a lesson for me. As the kids say YOLO (you only live once). Paint the furniture, buy the crazy lamp, wear the expensive pearls every day...all that stuff I've applied in my homemaking efforts, as you know (set the table, use the good china), but which for some reason, didn't extend to other parts of my life. Now is the time. Sieze the Day. Yes, move on. Life is full of possibilities that won't present themselves if you stay stuck in a rut, right? Love, Mimi xxx

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  17. Wow there have many times this year that your blog has resonated with me and this was another. At 44 I have feeling for a while that trying to live up to my fantasy self wasn't working and that I need to embrace the real me. All my life I have tried to be an extrovert when I am in fact an introvert. While I do enjoy going out in truth I am happiest at home with my family that's when I am the most relaxed and content. I love all those 'old fashioned' past times gardening, decorating, sewing, crocheting etc. I am happiest in a small group, I have a quiet, gentle personality that can sometimes get lost in a larger crowd. I have always been frugal and our strategies are paying off, even while living in expensive Sydney. We are also on the home run to the end of school with our daughter also in year 12. So its lovely to read about your family and your daughters journey to school end. A journey that is bitter sweet but the horizon also holds promises of new adventures for us all. Thank you for your blog and insights. Much needed by me today. Thank you. Lisa xo

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    1. Dear Lisa, what a lovely thing to say, thankyou! As for the Fantasy Selves, I sometimes think these put more pressure on us than anything. Fantasy Selves can include Career Girl, Perfect Mum, Volunteer Extraordinaire, On Call Grandparent, Magazine Worthy Wife, Quilter, Jewellery Maker and so on. How many times have I been told that I could make money from a hobby, just because I happen to enjoy doing it. Frankly 'making money' from my hobbies sounds like the worst thing EVER to me. It would take all the pleasure out of it, and turn it into another pressure! So it's hard sometimes not to invest time and energy into a Fantasy Self, just because everyone ELSE thinks it's a good idea. You are wise indeed to work out that being an introvert is okay. I am too. I make sure I don't turn into a hermit, but truth is, I'm happiest at home too. This year of Grade 12 is, as you say, bittersweet, but I know that we have many happy years of Mumma/Daughter time together. I bet you do too. Thankyou for your lovely uplifting comment. Love, Mimi xxx

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  18. great post Mimi. I am culling my fantasy selves at the moment as I am not expecting to have much time in the near future to fulfill those selves. DH has been diagnosed with memory loss, so the next season of my life is to continue being his carer but at a higher level. Not something either of us were expecting but just something that happens. There is also the possibility of DD#1 and her 4 children moving back to Victoria in a couple of years so that I can care for her if/when she becomes wheelchair bound. Again just another season in our lives. And I aim to make the best possible job I can of these seasons.
    Margaret

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    1. Dear Margaret, I am so sorry to hear about your husband! What a terrible shock, and a life changing one. What a blow for you both :( Being the Primary Carer can be exhausting, so please be sure to look after yourself too. It can be hard to find time to do this, but even something small like viewing blogs, using a nice hand cream, or reading a loved book for half an hour, can be a good and restorative practice. As for your daughter and her four children moving back to be close, well...you'll have your hands full. There will be government funding and supports that exist to help you, so maybe now is the time to look into those. I know we bag Centrelink, but sometimes they are a wonderful source of information on these things if you get the right person. Also various support organisations exist that just help you to have a network of people who understand the commitment, and who can be a shoulder to lean on when you need it. Here in Queensland, there were three or four that I found immensely helpful for respite care, funding for things like support when I was unwell and my disabled son was still at home, and so on. This is not the season you hoped for I guess, but within that, there may well be moments of joy that are completely unexpected. I know that has been the case for us with Alby. Sending you love, Mimi xxx

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  19. You make so many points that I'm sure ring true for a lot of us. It sounds like you're in a good place now:) Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx