2017 began with a bit of a mindset shift for me.
I was no longer interested in (or motivated to) complete constant BFPs (big fat projects). Instead, I wanted to really ENJOY and LIVE IN our home. Isn’t that what we’ve worked for all these years?
- I wanted to look around and feel gratitude, not stress.
- I wanted lazy days at home.
- I wanted to have time to tend to our home.
- I wanted to create memories and routines with my family that didn’t only involve sawdust.
After ten years of renovating and moving and building and working … I wanted to actually enjoy the fruits of our labor. And looking back on the year as a whole, I truly feel like we were able to step back and enjoy this home and life we’ve built.
We spent plenty of days putzing around in our pajamas. We spent plenty of days relaxing on the back porch. We spent plenty of days doing unproductive things we actually enjoy.
Here are a few things I’ve learned from a year of finding contentment at home.
Being content doesn’t mean everything is perfect.
Last year, we had ups and downs, just like any year.
Ryan broke five ribs. I had a challenging pregnancy that ended in bed rest (not something I’ve very good at, even when I like to think I’m getting more zen). We faced challenges with our rental properties. Henry has been sick more than the rest of his life combined (thanks, kindergarten).
And there were plenty of things that popped up at home that had to be dealt with.
But even with challenges, I found contentment. Because I learned that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be content.
It isn’t all about home.
At the beginning of the year, I really wanted to be content with home. But I found that contentment went beyond just what was within our four walls. So many of the most special moments of the year – the parts that truly made me burst with gratitude and contentment, had little to do with home:
- The birth of Lucille Rose, who has brought incredible more joy to our lives. She truly filled a place in our hearts and home that we didn’t really know was empty.
- Henry’s kindergarten debut, which was a new chapter in our family. He’s truly thriving and learning so much. And momma’s getting used to her sidekick being gone all day (kind of).
- An incredible road trip with stops in Rapid City, S.D., Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.
- Our tenth anniversary, with time spent with just the two of us celebrating a fast decade.
These seasons of life go far beyond just creating a beautiful home. And I’m happy that I wasn’t so wrapped up in projects that I could take time to enjoy these moments more fully.
It’s not all or nothing.
While we spent plenty of time stepping away from those BFPs this year, we also managed to work on a few special projects at home. And by reigning in the number of projects, we had a lot less stress and financial burden.
- Lucy’s modern floral nursery, which is truly such a special space for us. Almost every night, we cram the entire family (including the dogs) into the tiny room to read books and wind down. It’s a tight squeeze, but it just seems to fit us all perfectly.
- Our basement multipurpose room, which is coming along beautifully with new shiplap walls and lighting. It’s still not totally “done,” but it’s been a wonderful spot to hang out as a family, play with toys and relax.
- Our master bedroom, which received some decorative touches at the beginning of the year to feel more “put together.”
Less big projects meant more time for the little things.
Because we only took on a few bigger projects, I found myself more available to maintain and tend to our home. That means more pockets of time for cleaning, organizing, purging, and decorating.
It also gave me more time to decorate for the seasons (See: Spring, Summer, Fall, Christmas). These small tweaks were a fun way to change things up and stretch my creative muscles.They were also much more affordable than huge projects.
Less home projects also gave us more time to open our home to others. We entertained more this year – and I was more open to inviting friends to a simple play date or dinner without the constant stress of projects.
Ryan also spent time planting trees and cleaning up our property, which is something he enjoys and wanted to make time for.
Contentment and gratitude are linked.
We have so much to be thankful for.
And this year, I started really trying to focus on those things for which I was grateful. Being intentional about gratitude has given me a different perspective.
When I notice something I’m grateful for, I immediately acknowledge it silently. It’s become a habit to say a prayer of thankfulness when a tiny moment or thought creeps up. And it happens nearly every day, in the most mundane moments.
It may sound really silly. But for me, it’s a much more maintainable way to show gratitude for moments in my daily life.
The moment I’m driving down the road with Henry and Lucy and I’m totally overcome by gratitude. That I have two beautiful, healthy kids. That we have a car that runs. That we live in such a beautiful place. That the sun is shining.
The moment I’m having dinner with Ryan and realize I hit the jackpot when I married him.
The moment I’m dropping my kids off at the grandparents and I recognize the thankfulness for all the people who love us and our kids.
The moment I drop into bed and remember that this home is what Ryan and I have dreamed of and worked toward for years.
It probably sounds a little silly, but saying a silent prayer of gratitude right in the moment is the best way for me to acknowledge it. If I tried to remember these moments to journal them or share them, it would probably be too late. They would slip from my mind among a sea of other to-dos.
And these moments of gratitude have truly helped me cultivate a spirit of contentment at home and in life.
Sometimes this feels a bit lazy. And that’s okay.
In almost 10 years, I’ve never had as many lazy days as i’ve had this year. Ever.
And sometimes, that feels weird. There were times when I felt like I should be doing more. But I think this was the year we needed to take some time away from constant stress and projects.
It feels weird. But it also feels great.
I don’t want to go back.
This year was a good reminder that we thrive when with some white space in our lives. This white space gives us time to recharge.
I am grateful that 2017 gave us time to enjoy the time and home we’ve built. And I can truly say that I’m more content than ever.
In 2018, I think we’ll take on a few small home projects as they fit into our lives. And I have goals I want to accomplish. But we are in a place where we don’t have to do huge projects all the time.
So I hope that we can find even more time to enjoy this home we’ve created. Because in this case, last year’s mindset shift was a shift in the right direction.
Did you have any mindset shifts in 2017? Anything you want to accomplish in 2018?
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