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Life Changing Content

(Click the photo to find the books on Amazon)

Let me go back to two years ago. I was working all the time. The same company, but in a different position than I am now. This is not in anyway because my work took advantage of me. Quite the opposite in fact, They are the most supportive, wonderful, and hard-working group of people. This makes it easy want to give it your all, and my all is a lot. However, pushing yourself all day really wears you down by the end of 8 hours. Then it's time to come home, and relax. Except it's not. There are 3 children at home, that need dinner, and help with homework. Followed by, cleaning up, getting ready for the next day, and now it's time for bed. But wait, I forgot to shower. Cue literally passing out as soon as I can wrap up the days to-dos. I always told myself we are living for the weekend, and that was enough?

Did I mention we were saving money for surgery so we could have a 4th child. Did I mention the surgery was successful and now I'm doing all of this pregnant. I was convinced I was content being exhausted because we were getting everything we ever wanted. 

I've struggled with anxiety and OCD tendencies most of my life. To me these we're the things that made our life run. Not concerned with how mentally exhausted I was, I believed my meticulous worrying about being prepared is what allowed us to work full-time, raise 3 children, and plan for a baby. We always had the weekend.

Until we didn't. Plans, dance activities, baseball tournaments, birthday parties, laundry, life. It was work all day, chores all night, plans all weekend, so tired and no relief in sight. 

The logical answer, you're taking on to much, but what do we actually tell ourselves? I'm not good enough. I'm always mad, always yelling, not enough patience, which makes us a terrible person, we don't spend enough time with our kids, "no, I can make slime right now", "no, we can't go to the park", "you're going to have to figure it out, I'm busy", I'm a terrible parent. When really, they will be fine and we are just tired. 

Somewhere around the 5th month of pregnancy, I knew I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't want to feel like this anymore. Despite how wonderful my life was I wasn't enjoying it. Change would come. 

I started working part time. I had no idea how we would ever survive on half my income, but we have. I thought this would solve all my problems, however less time working had just been replaced with all the to-dos of a new baby. 

Fast forward to today. I'm still only working part time, the children's to-dos have no lessened, but I am very happy and enjoying our life much more. 

There are 4 things that cultivated this change. Marie, Lauren, Josh/Ryan, and Dan.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was the show that really triggered my path to bettering my life. At the time I didn't even know it. I am already a very tidy person, so I didn't feel like I needed a complete home makeover at the time. I did however, completely redo the way we fold and store out clothes. That alone was life-changing, for us at least. Also, her clever use of boxes to organize was a big takeaway. We first watched it about half way through my pregnancy, and I recently watched it again. A really enjoyable experience both times. This was the beginning.

Laura Fenton's Little Book of Living Small was the second thing to put me on my path to wellness before I even knew what was happening. I love this book so much that I read it on kindle, but then also bought a physical copy.

Much like binging Marie, I picked up this book because it was so pleasing and visually stimulating to absorb. The pages were beautiful and really spoke to me despite the wage gap, I'm sure there must be, between myself and the inhabitants. 

The townhome we own is about 1500sq feet. It is smaller compared to the other homes in the area, and even smaller still considering we bought it already a family of 5, with a baby on the way. At the time of purchase it was exactly right. We had a temporary living situation when we moved to the area from North Carolina, and it was time to buy. We had not found our forever home yet, but the townhouse was right for the time. Very much in our price range, truly a great deal, and I always thought will be easy to sell later. 

Then I read this book and it really changed things for me. I realized this didn't have to be just our for now home, till we moved on to the bigger and better things I had always imagined. There was a lot to love about out smaller space, I just didn't know how to use it and appreciate it properly, until I did. This book provided a great change in my way of thinking. A new appreciation for living in just enough space.

This brings us to Minimalism. I have friends who are minimalist and I always thought never me. I love stuff.

This documentary on Netflix was the next step to life change. I found this documentary about a year after Marie Kondo. This was the time I was ready for big change.

Having just enjoying the Tiny Book of Living Small I was already trying to declutter to better fit our space. I wanted to enjoy our home. I liked the idea of having just enough for what we needed. It felt right at this point in our life.

Josh and Ryan, The Minimalists, had a lot to offer that just made sense. It went with everything I was already thinking. I was already downsizing our stuff, so the idea of living with less to make myself happier was hard to refuse. I wouldn't call myself a minimalism, but I do now practice a lot of minimalism ideals. Truly life changing ways of thinking.

The Minimalists mention 10% Happier by Dan Harris in their documentary. My thought was "yes I need that". I honestly suggest that everyone reads this book.

The next day I started on the audiobook. Knowing this would be the most efficient way to take it in with my busy schedule. Every morning, as I got ready for work, Dan took me through the biggest change of his life. 

Reading his book, was the first time on my journey to being better, that I knew it was changing my life when it was happening. It's not a self-help book in the traditional sense, but it offers a lot to help yourself. It is an autobiography, but Dan Harris has a good story to tell.

My mind and Dan's are very similar. As he spoke, I just connected with all of it. My way of thinking, my way of reacting, it was all the same. This pulled me in because he had already gone through life change and was just going to tell me how to get there. It was fantastic. He took me on a real journey and I loved every minute. 

In the end meditation was not my biggest takeaway. (Though I do meditate daily now). There were so many things that made me go "I didn't know you could make the choice to think like that," but you can and I did.

These 4 things truly changed my life. My way of thinking. I suggest them to anyone over worked, over stressed, feeling not enough, mentally exhausted, and looking for change.


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