Written Off

Officially written off. That’s our car. By the time the remaining of the loan is paid out, we’ll have little to have as deposit for another car. 

Fortunately, we’re still in possession of my Pa’s 24 year old Magna. It’s a tank, gas guzzling and clunky, but it’s well looked after and should do a few more years while we save for another car.

The job he’s got is pretty much written off also. It has been troublesome from the beginning within the organisation, which is poorly structured and stinky in culture. There is no guarantee that if we move up there with him that the job will last, and I’m hesitant to throw away my job security just so my husband can say he’s gainfully employed. I may only have a part time job, but it’s a sure bet, and a well-balanced position.

Being away from our daughter is taking its toll. He’s missed her 5th birthday, first day of school, first school award and so many play dates this year. 

He’s missed the first human looking scan of our baby and being present as my belly grows. He’s missed being that smudge more connected to the pregnancy by engaging with us in the day to day. Now baby is halfway through incubation the fun part for Dads begin- the midnight kick in the back when we’re snuggling in bed, and the last couple of scans that ignite anticipation.

Our daughter cries at least twice a week because she’s had to deal with a lot of change at a young age. She’s resilient but Daddy lives in a different town, she’s going to be a big sister after 5.5 years and a school girl now. Emotionally she’s had to grow quickly, but I see how it’s wearing her in places.

His absence has little impact on me emotionally,  apart from the domestic workload and being the exclusive parent day to day. I’ve always been rather self-sufficient. Sometimes though, it would be nice to not be the one to always hang out the washing or be the main source of comfort for our girl.

Life is drama. That’s a reality. It’s often out of control and grappling with the uncertainty is trying at the best of times. Now, it is necessary to decide on the non-negotiables. 

After nearly losing him last week, and not gaining anything tangible from his absence, it’s time to cease this experiment. He’s hopefully putting in his notice on Monday and coming home the following week.

This comes with a new set of challenges. There are always consequences to decisions. We take comfort in not being separated being the best decision for us.

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Just Five Seconds

Five seconds.

That’s all it takes.

Before responding or reacting to any conversation, a testing child, a grumpy partner, an email or any other moment in your day;  take five seconds to think…

What do I really know about the other person, people, situation or interactions involved?

How will my perception affect the wisest response?

Is it worth saying anything, or can I let the moment pass acknowledged and unanswered?

Do I know enough to enrich or solve any present difficulties?

Taking five seconds to think before responding could transform your life and the patch you influence. At the very least, it will minimise some potentially embarrassing moments. Just five seconds is all it takes.

The Wedding Dress

Earlier this month, in the middle of the week, we were about to walk run out the door to get to work when I commented on the date. He looked at me blankly. I casually remarked that we had been married nine years. I was stoic in my reply. We looked at each other for a moment, sighed, and kept on moving hustling the child out the door (we may only have one child but, oh, the time it takes to get to the car). There was never any mention of the milestone again until today.

Today, I started to pack our belongings, to get a head start on the impending move. I opened the drawer in my great grandmother’s wardrobe where the photos, baby blankets, favourite childhood books and stuffed toys are. I dragged out the vacuum sealed bag with my wedding dress in it. Suddenly, I was overcome with emotions I had cradled since our wedding.

This last few years have been challenging to understate considerably. It seems at times that carrying this vow, this ring, this dress has been a kind of epic journey like a certain Tolkien tale. So many times, I’ve had to choose to continue through my own Dead Marshes, desperately trying to ignore the Candles of Corpses. I often brace myself for the next part of the journey.

Finally though, this nebulas emotional skeleton grabbed me with both of its gnarly hands and decided it was time to fight. It wanted to drag me under, to the same fate as his parents. Anger welled up, my chest heaving as the mass of emotion malignantly expanded more quickly than I thought possible.

I. HATE. MY .WEDDING. DRESS.

I picked it. Out of pressure. Mum and Dad loved it (they were paying for the wedding) and really, with the event only 6 weeks aways I didn’t have a lot of time for looking. That was how a lot of the wedding went actually. I picked lots of things to spite the matron of honour. She had tried to hijack the wedding so many times I just made decisions to annoy her. My husband was overwhelmed with a promotion at work and had left me to make most of the decisions. The decision I did charge him with was the venue. I had told him I wanted a beach wedding. He picked a church (a crappy looking one at that) and had arranged the minister before consulting me. My father almost died in a motorcycle accident just weeks before the ‘happy day.’

Basically,  the wedding dress had become the ultimate symbol of how tragic the wedding plans were and subsequently an omen for the next few years to come. I may go into a bit of detail later about just how horrible things were when we first got married, but for now, back to the dress… I had planned on keeping it, have it redesigned for our tenth anniversary. Now, I am not so sure.

I pulled it out of the vacuum seal bag today and desperately wanted to take a pair of scissors to it and shred it and pour all the frustrations and trauma from the first years of our married life into destroying this object that ultimate contains no value judgements or moral quality at all. I felt like I was losing my mind. I burst into tears and kind of shocked my husband a little.

I’m not really one to cry these days. We’ve been through so many ridiculous situations that I just don’t let out the tears so much anymore. I think that is my problem. Even though we have been purging our physical items, have made deliberate and effective changes to the way our life flows and regularly reassess whether things are working or not, I’m still largely defragging my mind, spirit and body.

For me, I’m beginning to wonder if the whole process of minimalism has been to get me to where the external is no longer crowding out my self. I am beginning to hear me for the first time in, well, to be honest; since I was four. That’s an incredibly significant thing… the wedding dress… not so much. I still hate it.

Maybe this part of the journey is to the top of the mountain, where I’ll symbolically throw it into the only place it can be destroyed… the past.

Minimalism and the Din

I was one before I knew that there was a label for it and it has only been in the last two years that I knew that other people were doing the same and calling it a ‘movement.’ It’s still considered an alternate lifestyle by most accounts even though it’s been around since the dawn of time. The Spartans subscribed to it, making them the formidable society there were. Many religions hint or explicitly praise its benefits in the pursuit of actualisation and highest spiritual practice and being. Its modern title is minimalism though its form has sat within stoicism, simplicity and occasionally frugality.

Personally, in the last few years I’ve pared back a lot of items in my house as well as wants, attitudes, mindsets and relationships. I’ve learned to say “No” and now have finding the quiet within me to entertain the deeper thoughts that meander through my mind. I’ve retreated from a lot of groups and distractions to learn to hear not only my own voice, but also the Divine. I’m learning to discern between the value judgements that I thought were more noble than the passions and dreams I have. In its essence I feel like it is about becoming more human. There is room to nurture myself and therefore nurture the world around me.

Now, I know there are billions of people around the world who don’t get to choose to empty their homes, schedules etc. They simply have nothing at all and are physical minimalists because of where they were born and the situations they have been born into or had thrust upon them. I get that. For the rest of us however, who have something, who have allowed too much in because it’s readily available- we need an epiphany or two.

Many of us have debt we are not coping with financially or emotionally. We work so hard to keep homes and stuff that are bigger than we can enjoy. We think that we have to do and be and get certain things but let me tell you-it’s not true.

This. Is. Why…

We all have one life. It would be sad to waste time accumulating physical and mental clutter and missing out on some glorious experiences and a lot of fun. We are all individuals with talents, passions and a destiny. If we never push against the resistance then we never discover our capacity, creativity, intuition or the fun we could have. Most of us have friends and family that love us and should have that love reciprocated. If you don’t have family or friends, then you owe it to yourself and others to make time to be family or a friend to others. We are born into this world with nothing, yet born instilled with a unique combination of qualities that leave the world indelibly marked. A small mark we may be, but a mark worth optimising.

Which leads me to share a little about fear… but I’m going to share that thought for another time…

Tell me me though, if you’re brave, one thing that you feel is weighing you down and one thing you would like to do if that weight was lifted?

In the meantime,

Bless.