In March this year I wrote about waste. I wrote about accumulation of possessions that can start to take over your life and consume your time and energy. That was 7 months ago, and by the end of that month i’d completed my challenge of ridding my life of a lot of excess ‘stuff’. I’m happy to say that in the last few months I’ve continued to maintain the level of tidiness I reached, and that I still fold all my clothes (knickers included!) in the Marie Kondo style, and bar a rising pile of magazines on the floor next to the bookshelf, I’ve managed to keep all the floors and surfaces pretty much clear, which was one of my aims back in March. However, having settled on a particular level of ‘stuff ownership’, already I’m starting to feel a bit weighed down again. Everything is tidy and put away in its own place, but i’m starting to feel again as though i’ve still got far too much, and I need to have a clear out (I should say that when I typed ‘clear out’ my computer auto-corrected it to Claret. That’s not a bad idea…).
It’s been a bit of an unusual month. When I think back to 12 months ago, I was so consumed by the thought of turning 40 that I think I felt a bit stuck – I couldn’t just get on with my life without figuring out in my head how I felt about this milestone, and how to get through it without feeling like I was not where I should be in life at such an age. Well it’s fair to say that although I’m nearly 41, I’ve barely given a thought to being even older! I think turning 40 was a bit of a catalyst to leave that part of my life behind and focus on the future. So that’s what i’ve done. The day I ran the Brighton 10 miler also felt like a bit of a pivotal day. I woke up feeling stressed, and really it wasn’t just about that race, but all those that will follow. If I’m dreading this, how will I manage to keep training and finish the marathon next year? A million thoughts went through my head. In the end, I had such an unexpectedly great day that it felt like something just switched. I’ve been in this place many times, where i’m on the edge of giving up and admitting defeat (I’ll always be crap so no sense trying) or else powering on ahead and giving it a real go. Thankfully it turned into the latter.
So as my 41st birthday approaches, I can honestly say I’m looking at life a bit differently. The need to free up my life a little bit more by clearing out the past and getting rid of unneeded possessions still lingers so in November i’m going to do the Minimalist Challenge again, and everyday get rid of a number of items matching the day of the month. Letting go is such a fundamental part of life, and this year has taught me that no matter how much you want to, sometimes you have to let go of things that don’t bring you joy anymore, that take up too much of your time for the wrong reasons, especially when they give nothing in return. I’m really enjoying my running at the moment, and I’m just keeping it ticking over until my marathon plan starts in earnest on December 5th. I’ve started going back to the gym which I just love, and it will help my running no end. I’ve re-started the LCHF way of eating after a bit of a rocky patch with it, and all-in-all since May I’ve lost 20 lbs. Lots more to go, but it’s moving in the right direction.
In terms of waste, I’ve also started to be more conscientious in general. When I buy fruit and veg, I avoid plastic containers or wrapping whenever possible. I’ve started using a refillable cup at work if I go and get a tea or coffee so that it’s not another paper cup wasted. I take shopping bags everywhere, I buy less fresh veggies at once so there’s less risk of food going off. I’ve bought a new wooden toothbrush instead of a plastic one. Lots of little things that I’ve always tried to do but never carried out with any consistency. It’s not only wasted consumables, but it’s about money too. I’ve still got debts to pay off that I make in-roads into but never manage to clear. Wasting money is so easy (a little coffee there, and magazine here, oh I forgot lunch so I’ll buy it…etc. etc.), and yet so easily preventable. By the end of next year I’m determined to be completely and utterly debt free. This will take some effort, but it’s do-able. I’ve already got a budget I work to and I record everything I spend (to the penny) but I can reduce unnecessary spent further and get shot of the debt once and for all. It feels like this is the biggest ‘waste’ on my list, and once it’s gone, i’ll finally feel free. So there’s a lot of do and think about, but it feels quite exciting. Onwards and upwards 🙂