Sunday, August 30, 2015

Unfriending My Clutter

I'm a notorious clutterbug.

I had one friend in high school who used to offer to clean my room for was that bad. Ha. Looking at my dresser from where I'm sitting now, I can see the ol' habit in action: stray jewelry, two bottles of sunscreen, a pile of Canadian coins and a bottle of Febreze lying on its side. (I'm super into Febreze -- I even carry a travel-size bottle when I travel. I swear by it.)

Thankfully, I've been in a decluttery mood this summer.

Obviously, aside from the aforementioned random treasures strewn across my dresser. I realized a couple months ago that I hadn't cleaned out my closet in the entire two years I've lived in my apartment. Translation: randoms piles of random crap. So I attacked it with a vengeance. I donated maybe a solid half of my clothing to Goodwill. It was like once I started, I couldn't stop. I had 8 pairs of sweatpants. EIGHT. And now my closet is beautiful. It's minimal. Getting dressed in the morning used to be somewhat overwhelming because my closet was overflowing -- now it's fun again. It's accessible.

Anyway, this isn't actually all about clothing. I may have lost some of you already. STICK WITH ME.

The thing is, the decluttery mood extended to more than my wardrobe this summer. Between June and now, I've unfriended approximately......well, a thousand people on Facebook. More than half of my friend list. Seriously, just random people from back in college, old jobs, old social circles, etc., who I don't actually have a relationship with now. Ex boyfriends. Ex boyfriends' wives. (Why did I ever do that to myself?) As I started combing through the list of people (which is actually a nice idle activity to accomplish while watching Law & Order in the background) (OK you can choose your own show)....I realized how insane the whole thing was. The whole "having 2,000 friends on Facebook" thing. Who were these people? Some of them, I couldn't even honestly remember their names or faces. Those ones were easy to unfriend. I'm sure neither of us will be worse off or lacking anything for the separation. Truthfully, I doubt many of them will notice because odds are they don't really remember me either. The more I pruned the list, the more particular I became. Did I remember this person? Do their posts or comments add any positive value to my life? If we saw each other at a party, would we happily chat or would we feel awkward that we had been Facebook friends for years but really had no relationship to speak of?

I pruned and I pruned and I pruned. I even got a bit overzealous and accidentally unfriended a couple people I didn't mean to. Yipes. Fixing that.

The end result is that I feel amazing. Much like my closet, my life feels cleaner, and more intentional.

I've done so (SO!) much work the past couple years in pruning out the spiritual clutter in my life, in being intentional in that arena. And I am always better for these choices to clean out the corners. When I scroll through my Facebook feed now, I see only what I want to see. I see people and topics I care about. It's much like looking into my closet -- like I used to have a hard time letting go of all that unwanted clothing and old shoes "because you never know....", much like I used to look at my extensive "friend" list and not want to let any of it go. Now I'm getting less, but I'm getting exactly what I want. And there is so much power in that -- to a degree I never recognized when I was a bit younger. I also upped my privacy settings. The thing is, when you open your whole life to the world like that, you give people permission -- you give them permission to pass judgment on your choices, your words, your look, your life. For better or worse, you open yourself up to that. And you open yourself up to the anxiety of worrying about that, whether or not it's actually happening. And nobody needs that. We really just don't need that. I love blogging and will always do it with a level of transparency that feels comfortable for me, but there is something to be said for being selective with who you fully lay the details of your life out for.

It's a lesson I hope I keep learning and applying as I grow older -- the idea that less really, truly can be more. (Maybe one of these days I'll apply it to that clutter pile on my dresser. Baby steps.)

Signed, the girl who is slowly becoming her introverted father. ;)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Driving the CA Coast + Apple Farm Inn

I took some time off this last weekend to drive the coast with my friend Mariah. No bad decisions were made in the making of this adventure.

Mariah and I met at age 14 at summer camp! So, we go way back. She currently lives out in Texas and was craving some ocean, so she flew out this way. She visited me once before and we did the whole SF bay area thing, so this time I wanted to head southward along Highway 1. So, we packed our bags in my lil' June Cooper and hit the road!

It was a lovely whirlwind of beach picnicking in Carmel (including the best tuna sandwich OF MY LIFE -- from Cafe Carmel), touristing at Big Sur's Bixby Bridge, a failed attempt to explore Hearst Castle (y u so expensive? y u sold out? y u no working bathrooms in the visitor center?), and an ultimate destination of San Luis Obispo, better known as SLO to the locals. Am I a local for central CA? Close enough? It's all California, babe -- and we all share over here. Something. Anyway.

We stayed at the adorable Apple Farm Inn, which I discovered via my friend Emi's blog here. If you're into cushy grandmotherly country decor (raises hand high), this is so your scene. Throw in some robes and martinelli's in your room, plus fresh cookies and hot apple cider and wine available on arrival, and you've got yourself some OPTIONS, yo! I loved the whole place. So much that I'm going back in a few months. Because I'm a creature of habit.

Habit case in point, my Facebook post from last week:

And if you're in the SLO area, please don't miss the Madonna Inn. It's like Vegas in a hotel. You just must see it. I'll be going back for the piece of pink champagne cake they were sold out of when we arrived (sad face for days) -- but they made up for it with the mint hot cocoa. Not mad. Not mad at all. Creekside dining at Novo was also a good choice, as was drinking martinelli's in bed the next morning and watching Charmed reruns on the TV. And also a Lifetime movie about the Full House cast? And it was so bad? Like really bad? SO MUCH WINNING.

We wrapped it all up with a legit beach day at Pismo Beach, where we swam in the ocean and giggled/squealed like children, then rented a surry and rode it across a wooden bridge to a 7-11 for a slushie. Also there's a swingset on this beach?? Glory amen.

Old friends are some of the best friends. My lil' soul is feeling good. (Come back again, Mahoorah little bird!)

^^^ my two hot rides!

Monday, August 10, 2015

A piece of cinnamon toast, please

Lately I feel a lot of feels.

If you're not hip on it, feels = feelings. Like the emotional kind. I am not actually out and about touching strangers, perhaps inappropriately, as that first line perhaps implied. Nope. I'm busy as usual avoiding touching 99% of people in general.

So back to my emotional feels.

I feel good ones. And sometimes tumultuous ones. And deep ones. But mostly good ones....ones that are good and deep all at once.

I love the moments in life when happiness just washes over me. It's like I pause, and have a brief out-of-body experience, and look at that little slice of my life right then and there and just....and just don't feel like breathing for a second, because it's so so good and if I keep on living and let time keep on marching, then I don't get to be in that moment anymore. I often just want to stop the clock and dig my heels and toes into the ground and refuse to budge for a minute because wait life is delicious don't make me finish the last bite of this part.

Lately I think a lot about the fragility of life.

My mind just drifts back to the topic, many times a day. How it can all just be a flash. So fast. So unexpectedly. People come and go, or you come and go, or maybe sometimes you stick around for a hundred years, no one knows! None of us know. And when that feeling of "this is all so fleeting, oh no where is it all going wait please I want to keep it" washes over me, it can go one of two ways. Sometimes, it cripples me. I feel frustrated that things and times can't last. I'll just suddenly miss a good friend from back in the day, or the electric feeling of being a freshman in college, or the days back when I was in like 5 choirs and sang endlessly all the time, or I'll have stopped into Kohl's to look for a pair of shorts and then, oh man, since when did Kohl's smell like my mom? What? And suddenly I'm back-to-school shopping over a dozen Augusts while she pulls all those coupons out of her purse and my heart doesn't know why I'm not on the nearest flight home to watch HGTV and eat cinnamon toast on my parents' couch. Can't every minute of my life just be warm Arizona nights and cinnamon toast on my parents' couch? Can I bottle that up and keep it somewhere where time can't take it from me?

And then other times, the mood shifts and the fleeting nature of life fuels me forward. And I want to live now! Act fast! Don't waste a minute! Express my feelings! Pick a 2016 presidential candidate! Get that tattoo I've always wanted! Apply to grad school! Make a 5-year plan! Make a 10-year plan! Invest some money! Save some money! Have long-term goals! Go on all the trips! Do all the things!

And I think it's a balance, really.

I feel like I've got half my body in either direction, most days -- hanging on tight to the good ol' times while also going 90 mph toward what's next, next, next. And really, I want both. I want progress and I want youth. I want to be an established adult and I want the quiet calm of HGTV and cinnamon toast. All at once. All mixed up inside me.

My life is deliciously good right now. I feel authentic, and happy, and free, and independent, and loved. And sometimes that's because of some grand adventure that looks nice on Instagram, and other times it's because I'm watching Law & Order while eating a tuna sandwich in bed and I'm deliriously happy about it. And always, the feelings. The feels. I feel passion and rage and tenderness and courage and fear and ferocity and frustration and sweet, sweet joy. Every day. All of it. All bundled up together. All part of this life I'm building.

It's kind of like I spent a lot of years picking plots of land and changing my mind and digging and excavating and repositioning and pouring foundations and crumpling up blueprints just to write new ones over and over....and now I feel like I'm laying bricks. Putting up walls. Seeing things take shape. It's like I've caught an architectural vision in my head and I'm finally thinking, "Yes, there it is. Put that thing together and live in it."

And time marches on. And I'm just some kind of emerging adult with fire in one hand and cinnamon toast in the other. And both hands hold me together.