Friday, March 28, 2014

One Little Word: March - Making a Collage

As you know, my word for the year is simplify.

Here it is - the end of March and my year 2014 is not going at all like I envisioned it would at the beginning of January when I first chose this word.

Update January to March

I applied for, scored an interview, and was offered a new job. I will be making the transition of teaching high school students for the past 11 years to teaching university students. Finally, some dreams coming true in the career department. However, the transition has not been all roses as finding new teachers to replace us (Adie also got a new job!) was quite troublesome and time-consuming. All behind us now as our last day at work was March 24th.

I agreed to let my daughter take part in a dance event, which required 2 1/2 months of intense training. Much parental support expected! This was certainly NOT a way to simplify my life. But now that it is nearly over, I can see it was totally worth it, and she has made great strides in her skills and confidence.

A close friendship ended in March. It was quite a surprise to me, and certainly not what I had in mind when I contemplated simplifying my social life. But, these things happen and perhaps it was for the better. We were good friends for many years, and I have many great memories of spending time with her, so I'll never forget how special she was to me. It is ironic that it occurred soon after I was reminiscing about a past friendship that had ended suddenly (a few blog entries back), and how I was trying to make myself feel better by saying, "Friends enter and exit our lives for reasons that are sometimes beyond our control." I think this still holds true.

In order to simplify our family schedules, I attempted to transfer my son to a daycare closer to our house, as opposed to the one close to my workplace, where I will no longer be working. This week, I finally got the results. The daycares in our area are full, so he will continue at the same one unless an opening comes up within the next year. This means that my morning commute will be complicated by the fact that I have to ride my bike (with him on the back) all the way to his daycare and then backtrack to the station, park the bike, and get on the train 3x (maybe 4x) a week. (Thursdays will be my really early day as my first class begins at 9am and I probably need to be on the train by 7:30...the other days between 8-8:30 will suffice).

I am still contemplating the many options I have before me as I find out details about this new job, the schedule, the workload, and the salary. For the rest of March and April and May, as I acclimate myself and my family to these changes, I have many things to think about. However, I do know one thing. This job will help improve our lifestyle in a number of ways. 2 years plus 9 months of grad school while working full time was worth it.

One Little Word March Assignment
Ali's assignment for the month of March was to cull magazines for words and images that catch my eye, cut them out, and arrange them into a collage. She suggested we arrange the words into sort of a poem, and she emphasized that we DO NOT need to choose words that relate directly to our OLW. In fact, just by choosing words/pictures that jump out at us, and then by arranging them in a certain way, we may discover something new about ourselves or even a new direction that our OLW journey will take us.

I used an A4 size muse board, and since A4 is actually quite small, I decided to divide up my cuttings into to two groups and arrange two collages.


Collage One seems to represent my desires for a better family life. The words don't really seem like a coherent poem, but in my mind, as I read from top to bottom, I imagine some extra words.
The Word Poem:
At last, time is on your side.
You can be reliable.
Have courage...and let go of being perfect.

Your family matters.
You can be better together.
You have the ability to change their world
because you want to give them the sun and the moon.
Just Reconnect.

Keep in mind that nobody's perfect.
Every day is a new beginning.

The image in the background is a very peaceful nature trail, similar to the one that extends behind our apartment building - the one I intend to start USING with some of my newfound free time. So, the collage is also a reminder that I can/should start exercising again, not just for the purpose of losing weight, but also for the purpose of clearing my mind, thus ridding myself of mind-clutter on a more regular basis.

Collage Two seems to represent my inner-desires and my need for creativity and continual self-development.
The Word Poem:
Get inspired!
Get creative, get organized.
Get healthier.
Get yourself on an even keel.
Make it a habit.

Streamlining is the key to a simple life.

Do more of what you love.
Find new roads.
Give thanks.
Thrive every day.
Show your love.

Shine on!

The main image in the background is of P!nk in a Covergirl ad. She is, incidentally, one of my favorite musicians. She has two sides to her: a very hard, tattooed bitch side and a very soft and sensitive side. I think that recently I have been trying to show my sensitive side more by being honest with people about my feelings and experiences. Her Covergirl ads really speak to me.

The second image is of an eclectically organized bookshelf. I love the arrangement of doodads, photos and books. Not only does it inspire me to read more, but it also gets me thinking about how to use our space better in order to continue creating a colorful, simple home.

To be honest, I am not quite sure yet what these collages mean or how they will help me, but I am interested in finding out.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Final Assignment: Choose a Motto

My motto has always been "Just do it". Much like the Nike motto, which should send any potential sporty person into action, I used it to force myself to do things whether I was afraid or not. I don't really appreciate hedging, hemming and hawing, hesitating...although I do find myself doing it when I want to say no, but can't for whatever reason.

Last year, while working on my Masters thesis, I altered my motto to "I AM doing it". In the present-progressive tense, it tricked my mind into thinking that I was ALREADY making progress and that I NEEDED TO KEEP GOING.

A quick Google search brought me to this gem of a motto, which I have adopted for this purpose.

It is simple, but it implies an entire story about who I am, how I see myself and what I can accomplish in the future.

I can. I will. I am.

I have signed up for Part 2 of Brene Brown's class, so I will continue to blog about my progress along with other things.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cultivating Gratitude: Letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark

Documenting a week in your life to see what daily occurrences are a part of you, what you are thankful for, and what you might miss if you suddenly didn't have it anymore. That was our assignment for the week.

I would miss the sunsets, working with Adie, seeing Ailin's pure joy at her weekly dance and swimming lessons. I would miss Max and his cute eyebrow and black spots and his loud snoring. I would miss cuddling with the kids, watching Ailin's face when I announce we are having "American" food for dinner. I would miss seeing Luka grow and develop as he starts to do daily things (like, getting dressed) all by himself. I would miss my view from the kitchen out into the living room, and I would even miss washing gads of dishes every night while I watch the kids doing whatever they do while they wait for me to finish. I would miss weekend dinners at Yuki-chan's house, and I'd miss watching Yusuke play with (not, yell at) the kids.

After taking a look at this collage, I needed to decide on a three or four simple things that truly bring me joy.

Sunsets
Cuddling
Laughter
Podcasts

It's the little things in life that can bring us happiness in small doses.