When life has looked like the above photo for as long as you can remember, and the to-do lists have closed in on every shred of margin you once had in your days, it’s hard to know where to start to piece back together a “normal” life.
And what is “normal” when you look around and everything is unfamiliar? Your house, your neighbours, your church, your city – none of it recognizable. Nothing familiar.
It can feel so intensely WEIRD some days.
I read somewhere that weird doesn’t have to mean bad, and that’s what got me started in the right direction in my head and my heart.
I don’t want to feel pain – who does? And sometimes unfamiliar is painful. It’s sad. It’s lonely. It’s WEIRD.
But I also read that life is just going to hurt sometimes, and again, that doesn’t have to mean it’s bad.
Another step in the right direction.
And all I have to do is take the next step. Venture a little further into this strange place we’ve landed.
Strange only because it’s not yet “normal” or “familiar”.
Strange doesn’t have to mean bad.
OK, good, let’s get this show on the road.
It’s going to hurt, it’s going to be weird, but it’s going to be OK.
Probably more than OK.
So as the lists start to disappear from my purse, my clipboard, my computer spreadsheets, my laptop sticky notes, my email, my cell phone, etc. etc. etc. I start to see a great emptiness.
And I realize I’ve forgotten what “normal” might have looked like before.
I think hard, try to remember…
Yes, things used to be pretty simple around the house. I used to have some good systems in place to keep things functioning pretty well for myself and my 3 busy guys.
And I worked really hard to find those systems and make them work for our family of four.
I used to have a functional kitchen that didn’t need to look like a magazine cover (not really!) for house showings. I used to be able to stock my fridge and freezer and pantry with all sorts of tasty things because there was no big move coming. I used to have a menu plan (to some extent) that allowed me to know at least a few of our upcoming meals ahead of time. I used to go to the grocery store every week or so. I used to look through the flyers and use my Flipp app and find the best deals and save us TONS of money!
Yes! It’s all coming back to me!
I used to clean only some things every week, and other things only when needed, because who needs to be cleaning when it’s not really necessary? Not me! And especially not after I’ve just come out of a season of trying to sell a house for almost 4 months! And trying to sell a rental house for almost 2 months too! Ack!
OK – settle down Anna, you’re in a better place now 🙂 No more houses to sell just now 🙂
I used to go for bike rides or walks to fill my tank with lovely things like nature and spending quiet time with God.
Sometimes I would just sit and think and dream and come up with all sorts of ideas for my family, for helping others, and for writing.
These things were so simple, yet they worked so well to fill up my days with good stuff.
And my days can look alot like that still, here, in this new place.
So I got to work again, finding ways to get back to simple, tried and true systems for the days ahead.
I sorted through my recipe binder. I updated my menu plans and monthly/weekly shopping lists. I found the nearest grocery stores. I plugged in the freezer. I started to place items on my pantry shelves. I cooked in bulk and froze the extras. All things to move back into a more simple routine around the kitchen.
I put some new systems in place – like the bathroom cleaning bucket I’d always meant to put together but never got around to (took me like a minute – seriously). And kept some old systems – like turning on the dishwasher right before I head up to bed. Simple things but they make the routines run smoothly. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? Maybe just give it an update or a spruce-up from time to time 🙂
There’s lots of other little things in my simple routines and systems – I won’t bore you with the details.
But it’s good to get back to familiar things, even if it’s the details that kept the household functional for so long. Even if it’s putting dishwashing detergent in every night before bed and hearing the hum of the unfamiliar machine as I walk up the unfamiliar stairs to an unfamiliar room and an unfamiliar bed.
The unfamiliar will become familiar.
Simple as that 🙂