4 dogs. 2 houses. 4 cars. 2 sewing machines. Births of 3 grandchildren. 1 son's wedding. Death of my mother, 1 cousin, an aunt and uncle, and several dear friends. 3 jobs. 3 foreign exchange students in the family. 12 wall quilts and several bed quilts and many homemade garments. That’s one way to interpret the past 13 years.
Since I started this blog in February 2005, it has been a great source of introspection and pleasure for me. I started it to keep a record of our journey to simplify and downsize. I took ordinary times and turned them into learning episodes. I experienced adventures, not in the exotic sense of extensive travel or fame, but in the everyday experiences of a human life - watching a loved one suffer, listening to my grandchildren's observations, dealing with frustration, fear, anger, and change. I learned so much about myself, about relationships, about response to changes, some welcome, some not so welcome.
The time has come for me to end the formal recording of this journey for several reasons. One is that in our current political situation and general conflict, our journey to simplicity, although still active, has taken a back burner to more pressing things, and I certainly did not want to turn this into another political blog. Also with my mother dying in January, I feel a new chapter has begun in my life and it is time to close this chapter.
The process of writing is always more illuminating for the writer than the reader. I have learned so much about myself - my faults as well as my strengths. I have watched my body age with frustration and alarm, mourning the things I’ve lost, but grateful for what I can still do.
During the time I have worked on this blog, I have had a professional photo shoot for an online magazine, left my medical transcription career after 22 years, lost and gained and lost and gained a few pounds, got over my fear of flying, worried about things that never happened, started a Facebook page for my childhood church members, and worked with my sister, Joy, to digitalize reel-to-reel recordings to preserve family home movies, church home movies, and audio recordings of family and church to include Joy and me when we were little girls, all priceless. One of the gifts that sprang from this is that our dad, who died in 1980, got to sing "How Great Thou Art" for our mom's funeral this year via crystal-clear tape-to-mp3 recording.
Next month I will turn 64, coincidentally the age my dad was when he died. I think of all he missed and how much I have witnessed so far. I wonder what our future holds. Losing my best friend Kathleen and my cousin Mike reminds me that, cliche as it is, every day is a gift. My former job of medical transcriptionist and my new job of working in a local medical office continually reminds me that there are many folks in poor health, some terminal, who would probably give anything for my daily aches and pains.
My husband and I will still strive to simplify as we move forward. Back in 2005, I believed the journey to simplicity was a single drawn-out process, but the ensuing years have shown me it is a never-ending task. We are still giving away books, we are still evaluating our needs and wants, and we are still unfortunately wasting time instead of appreciating the beauty and blessing of each moment. Life will always be a learning process.
Thank you to those who journeyed with me in this blogging experience so I did not feel as if I were speaking to the wind. May the world and our country finally experience the peace and stability that comes with integrity, courage, and appreciation of our diverse, and yes, flawed, system, so we can reach our true potential as individuals and as groups who value human dignity.