Like so many, I am now doing my usual spring-cleaning exercises. I’m switching winter clothes to summer and sorting out closets and sheds and sending away bags and bags of stuff. To add to it, I have decided to clean out my computer hard drive as well.
With these tasks I have become ruthless in nature. I have told my children that all clothes and toys found on the floor instead of in a hamper, a drawer or on a shelf will be given away. All photos that are out of focus, too dark, too much like another or not of anything I will ever care to see a photo of again are getting deleted. Music in my iTunes that I don’t think I’ll listen to is getting culled. Everything in my path is now at risk of being removed.
In the bigger picture I have quit my job, stopped my distinct exercise routine (too busy and tired from being physical around the farm now), decided to stop performing music and now, yes, I’m afraid this dear blog is in the ‘consideration’ pile as well. If I simply look at the things, files, people, clothes, activities through one simple lens, it has become very easy to decide what needs to go and what I should keep. The lens is this: does it give back to me, to my family or my community? Or does it just take up space, time, energy and emotions with no return?
I learned about the music performance issue last night where I played a few songs at a local talent show I was asked to participate in. Literally a few hours before I played, I picked up my guitar for the first time in weeks, ran through a few songs guessing at a possible set list and packed up my guitar and lyric sheets before going out for a walk. When it came time to play my set, I was the usual nervous but I found myself unable to focus. I just couldn’t seem to find it in myself to care what happened next. I forgot my lyrics, forgot the chords, stopped in the middle of the songs and the worst part of it all is that it didn’t bother me.
The lack of commitment and preparation made it clear to me that I wasn’t meant to be doing this anymore. I deserved to be spending my energy doing something that inspired me to try my best. It wasn’t fair to the audience to have to watch my apathetic performance. My spot was better given to someone (similar to most of the other acts) that was keen to be there and wanted to grow in this manner. It is time to hang up the guitar for this purpose. I have other ideas of how to keep music in my life but that is for another post.
What has stayed, you ask? In no particular order: my children, husband, chickens and cows. The clothes we wear on a regular basis. My dear friends who do not dump, drain or manipulate us in a negative way (I’ve cut nobody, by the way). Photos that represent the journey our family has taken since each of us were born. Time for our extended families. I do laundry, buy groceries, clean the house, wash dishes and cook because, well, it gives back in ways we can’t possible measure, right? The games we play, the toys we use, the movies we watch, the books we will read, are reading or have read and have touched our lives so greatly that they remain on our shelves as beacons of the past. You get the idea.
Clutter remains of course. But the air is becoming clearer every day.
What does that mean for this blog? Well, I’ve been drafting an ‘in conclusion’ post for a week now as a way to wrap up my original quest. The blog was intended to help me figure out my new place in the home without ‘external’ employment. The purpose was served. But now that the decision has been made, and I am entirely satisfied with how it has all come together, I need a new goal.
In addition, the vegetable growing season has now begun. Everything around us is changing, turning greener and coming to life again. Our farmer's market starts in six days. I started ‘blogging’ in November just after a whirlwind farming season. Though I have always written things down daily, and always will, I may not be able to take the extra time to make it pretty and share it. I will just have to see.
What I will do is try to separate the writings a little more. Put the self-absorbed crap in one pile, the quasi-religious views in another, 'how-to' stuff on farming and cooking/preserving in another, bits about parenting and spout-offs about women’s rights and choices, opinions about nutrition and food choices and inspirational/creativity/artist stuff all into different piles. With this exercise I hope to be able to see which parts should remain and which are just self-indulgent drivel. I know I can’t change food policy or parenting styles with anything I have to say but I’ve always believed that the personal is political. If I can’t leave something productive behind with my shared, written thoughts, I oughtn’t be doin’ it anymore.
Though I must say, so much stuff is leaving that I wonder if I have taken away too much. But I recall learning about how to put a photo portfolio together. The rule of thumb is ‘less is more’. It was better to have three exceptional photos than 20 mediocre ones. Now I see that the less junk there is in my life, the more I can see the greatness of what surrounds me.
Yet, just like I explored in a previous post about feeling like I need an anchor, I find myself now looking for a label, a box, a place to keep my hat. I am no longer a biologist, a policy-advisor, a singer/performer, a mountain climber. Right now I am only ‘everything-else-girl’. All things related to being a mother/wife/farmer. I get the oil changes done. I pick up building supplies. I transplant onions. Whatever is needed of me each day is what I do.
A friend of mine and I have been reading fairy books to our daughters over the past few months. This friend reminds me that just like Rachel and Kirsty found out, sometimes we have to let the magic come to us. You can’t go out and find the fairies, they have to find you.
But I’m certain that if I chuck out a few more rounds of crap, the fairies will have an easier time of getting here.