7000 Strands of Tinsel (And Other Ways I *Tried* To Simplify in December)

Tinsel tree as dress via Serbian Elle (really)

When I started this blog nearly eight (!!) years ago, my sole intent was to create a space where I could chronicle and celebrate the overlooked but meaningful, magical aspects of everyday life: family dinner (complete with glowy candles and cloth napkins), museum visits, road trips, art projects, et al. And, yet, in looking back over my (albeit infrequent) posts this past year, you wouldn't be far off in thinking the theme of this whole enterprise is something closer to "busy train wreck" than "simple lovely".

I've never been one for the glorification of busy, but somewhere along the way this year I drank the kool-aid and all of the sudden I can't have a conversation without peppering it with a string of busy/overwhelmed/crazed/blah blah blah. It's a bad scene.

So in early December I decided the madness had to stop. Things were, wait for it, busy at work (see what I did there?), so I quick hatched a plan to maintain my sanity through the holidays until I could put some longer term strategies in place. I nixed lights on the house and decided to only take 1/3 of the Christmas decorations out of the attic. (Let's just say I kept things minimal.) Long coveting a tinsel-laden tannenbaum, I decided forgo ornaments all together in lieu of the silvery goodness, nabbing 10 boxes of retro tinsel icicles off the interwebs. After a Saturday morning spent dispersing said tinsel on the (really prickly) limbs of our mighty cedar, and I was firmly ensconced in a zen-like trance and had a really freakin' sparkly tree. A win/win.

We went to exactly two parties and spent the rest of our evenings huddled on the couch watching movies or baking our body weight in cookies (which we ate the next night while watching, yes, more movies). We threw down the cooking gauntlet on Christmas Eve with Julia's beef bourguignon and Alice's cranberry cake and then spent the entire Christmas day in our PJs eating tamales and tortilla soup -- a decidedly no-frills situation. When we felt especially ambitious we did mildly taxing things like making s'moresbowlinghiking (ok, ok nature walking), or partaking in a heated round of UNO...

And friends, the whole enterprise was fantastic. All the not doing felt, awesome and restorative and, frankly, necessary.

So the trick is keeping this low-key mojo going through the rest of the year. We've managed to carry it into the first four days of 2015 but we've also all still been on vacation, so there's that. The real challenge will be keeping things sane and mellow once we're back to the tornado of daily life. The real challenge will be not to succumb to the siren song of "busy."

And here's the thing, we're not going to actually be less busy. In fact by the looks of things, this year is going to be a doozy, so in addition to more family dinners and movie nights and candles and shared calendars and other keep it simple but meaningful (thank you D.D.) strategies on the home front, I'm implementing a tried and true mantra for everything else:

"Fake it til you make it."

We aren't going to be busy in 2015, we're going to be "fulfilled". Things aren't going to be crazy, they're going to be "exhilarating". Screw stressed out, we're "passionate" here people. We're turning this glorification of busy on its head, poking it in the eye and doing a big nanny nanny boo boo.

2015 here we come. (Wish us luck.)

1 comment:

Katie Anderson | Modern-Eve.com said...

Joslyn, I love how you're able to pull back and simplify without sacrificing the magic. Very inspiring. I need more of that in my life instead of the tottering back and forth between the crazy-busy and the complete apathy routine I seem to always find myself in.