2019 One Word – Less

Kind of ironic that my blog is named “More” at Forty and I’m choosing my one word for 2019 to be “Less,” but I think it makes sense for me. Maybe I should rename my blog, “More at Forty and Less at Fifty”. I have come to the realization that I need to do something to give myself more space for rest and recovery and fun and relaxation and enjoyment. But, to do that, I need to have a lot LESS scheduled into my life and a lot LESS stuff to move around, take care of, clean, and deal with. I have been reading about minimalism and I realize that my mind craves space to think and reflect.

I have spent so long feeling like I needed to be something more or do something more that I am constantly exhausted. Today I realized that I am often striving to be someone I don’t even know or like, but that others think I SHOULD be. I am constantly seeking approval from others and it is exhausting. So, the first thing I will be looking for less of is approval from others. I am going to focus on my own approval. What do I approve of for myself? What do I want for myself? And that, my friends, will be my focus. I am tired of wanting to please others all. the. time. It is exhausting. And usually disappointing.

I am also going to be looking to have and do less. As I look around my home, I notice that we have so much. And a lot of that never goes to its intended use. I have so many books that I have never read and still I go to the library. Why have all the books? I also have piles of papers from students (the semester just ended and there is lots of grading to be done). Why have all the grading? Most of them will not learn anything from my grading. They have either learned from the process or will simply not learn. So, why have it all? I am stuck with it now, but moving forward, I realize neither me nor my students need all this grading. Why have so many clothes? Why have so much camping gear for our once a year (maybe twice a year) trips? Why have so many glasses for three people? So many bowls? So many plates. The volume of it all is overwhelming when I think about it. We don’t appreciate it or use it and love it. We simply have it. And having is no longer enough for me.

I am sure that this commitment to less will be hard to do at times. After all, I am a person who is constantly suffering from FOMO and I spontaneously buy things often. I often feel “need” when really it is simply “want”. And that want isn’t even something that exists beyond that first burst of good feeling after purchasing or getting something.

I look at photos of simple, minimalist homes online and I immediately feel comforted. I feel calm. I want that in my everyday life, not just when I’m looking at things online. I also want to give my daughter a better idea of what it means to be comfortable and calm. I can already see in her this need for “more” constantly and I want to stop it before it gets to be something that is so difficult to change.