JOY – EMPTY NESTS – AND THE NEXT SEASON

Hello friends.

 

When I started blogging I wanted to be so light and airy and positive and uplifting, and hopefully I’m achieving that.  But also there’s real life.  Homes aren’t perfect, rooms aren’t perfectly decorated or clean and organized all the time.

I know this sounds negative, but I don’t want it to be, I want it to be thought provoking.  I’m at that next season, where for the most part the kids have scooted out and it’s just me, hubby and the pets, (2 dogs and 2 goats!).

Every day is new, full of possibilities, and adventures, but slowly and insidiously lately my days have been wrapped in emotions, a roller coaster of highs and lows.

Joy - Empty Nest

Do you have days like this?  If you do, then can I give you a cyber-hug.

We get up in the morning because … we have to go to work, eat, clean house, etc.

We do all these things all our lives because we have a need to feed and clothe and house ourselves.  But what are we doing for ourselves. Just us.  Things that bring us joy?

Joy Empty Nests Next Season

Do you know what brings you joy?

Joy.  Happiness.  A contentment on doing a particular task.

Joy, Empty Nests, The next season
Photo – Ancientbests.co.nz

Usually we’d say something like our family, friends, home etc., But what about just for you?

It’s all so confusing.  What will make the next years fulfilling, exciting, joy-filled and worthy of me.  Because it’s time to think ABOUT ME.

What do I like to do?

No idea – and that is scary.

Besides I realize (sadly) that some of the things I might have liked to try my now 60-year-old body is no longer capable of.  Mentally, too I’m finding that I can no longer multitask like before. Days where I juggled many balls seem to have evaporated.

So what does that leave me with?

Growing old in a rocking chair.

Hibernating?

Giving up?

That would be so easy and in truth the reality of that is tempting.  But it is also so sad.  Life doesn’t need to be sad.  For most of us life is a series of ups and downs and sometimes debilitating, and it would be easy to focus on the bad.

Joy empty nest the next season
Photo – pinterest.com

At this stage in my life when I’ve sort of left a major career, hubby is now retired too, it’s kinda scary and the thoughts of what next keep nagging at me. What do I want to do? What will fulfil me for the next 20-30 years?

For most women we put ourselves last for a majority of years.  Our children/families/work and home lives come first, our thoughts and needs come in a low pecking order on our lists of must dos.

We’ve hardly stopped all these years to actually consider that.  School runs, jobs, home, elderly parents, there was no time for us and if there was, guilt struck at the time we were taking away from our family and everyone else.  They all came first.  Now don’t get me wrong. I believe that to be absolutely true.  They should come first, especially your children.  You’ve brought them into this world, and it’s our responsibility to guide them until they leave the nest. Mind you being a parent never ends, the role of guide and listener is still happening even now they’re in their 20s.  Maybe that’s a time when we’re needed more so.

Photo – Pinterest.com

 

However, physically and spatially we now have time, and sometimes if we’re lucky a little bit extra dollars to go round.  It’s like moving house to a new neighborhood.  The people around us have all changed.  We’re used to our fellow co-workers, etc, now they aren’t a part of our everyday lives, so what will fill that gap?

So what if you now, for the first time have to think what you’d like to do – and shock horror, scary stuff – you can’t think of anything.  It’s like… so what am I/who am I/ what makes me happy?

Take time to list things you thought you might like to try.  Even if it was waaaay back.

Mine was:

Floral art

Growing herbs

Painting furniture

Joining a women’s group of some sort

(Thinking about) Getting fit!

Trying new recipes

Travel if I can.

See more of my own country

Learn to crochet

 

Do I want to start a business?  And why would I?  I’m 60 years old, it’s kinda time to rest surely?

But does that mean I’m not valuable, not capable of trying.  Of course not, but the commitment, the challenge, the effort, time etc, is that what I want now in my life?

When I read blog posts and see the lovely homes and everything just so, that little green devil in me gets loud!  I love the rooms, admire the talent, but I am a little bit envious too.  I see these vital women working hard to create beautiful homes, lives so full and active and I wonder where my life is taking me and why and how and oh so many questions.

Do you have those too?

As a semi empty nester you think you have so much time, but after years of raising a family and now not needed so much, it’s more about what’s next.  What do I fill my life with now?

One thing I think we must be thankful for as we age is that we are able to actually do that.  So many can’t Some also don’t have the good health to be able to be as vital as they once were or want to be.  Today give those around you who are not as fortunate in this vitality, a hug and compassion and encouragement.

Photo- Pinterest

Something I read recently about smiling, inspired me, and made me stop and …well, smile, and be grateful.  I also remembered that advert on TV where a person smiles as she passes another in the street, then that person smiles at another going passed in a bus and so on?  The smile is contagious.  This simple advert makes me smile and I think the knowledge that my smile could benefit someone else’s day, is awesome.

I’m out to find my pot of gold …. My joy, my reason, my fun. And smile!

Photo – askideas.com

It may be a business, it may be going to floral art classes or creating a myriad of life experiences and adventures, but it will be mine.

So I choose to turn today’s sense of overwhelm into a positive (hence this post) and smile at everyone from the lady at the bakery as we chuckled about giving in to the chocolate cake and the shop assistant who recognised me at Bed bath and Beyond (oops obviously I’ve been shopping too much).

So stop and smile and be grateful for today. And yep, smile and smile and smile.

And because you can’t stop smiling at this little girl, my first grandchild.

 

Happy days

Jane

 

 

Just Some Pretty Stuff

Hello everyone,

It’s been a frantic week this end of the world.  On Monday i drove about 4 hours north to visit my eldest sister who has chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.  It is so hard seeing her struggle and the limitations these horrible illnesses put on her, especially when she’s such a vital person and still wants to lead that vital life with her family.

That said, age is really enduring as was a testament when i went to Rotorua on Saturday to my mother’s sister’s 90th birthday.  It was a lovely occassion with family from Australia and the USA coming in to celebrate those 90 glorious years.  Saturday too was the start of clocks going forward for daylight saving and New Zealand’s government elections, so three momentous things on one day.  That, unfortunately meant that i was dead toast on Sunday.  We had to leave Rotorua early as our daughter was going to Hawaii and we had to do the airport drop off.

So finally home, catching up on the laundry and real life in full bloom as I juggle getting it all done.  Or at least attempt to.

But rather than focus on what has to be done, and my growing list, i thought i would post a few pics of little bits and pieces i have gotten done lately.

 

My little corner of my garden

First was a few pots getting ready for spring.  My green thumb has turned more black these days and don’t ask me to grow parsley – for some reason I seem to kill all parsley plants.

Cooking up ham and sun dried tomato pinwheel scones, great for Saturday/Sunday lunch was a weekend task

Ham and Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Pinwheel Scones

 

Next on the agenda was play around with some old front door wreaths I made.  I’m a complete novice at this and am hoping to do a new one in a few days, so check back and see.  I adore seeing ones others have done, but i’m not very up on the technical skills of it, but it is fun to do and that’s the most important thing.

I also wanted to add some interest to the smallest room in the house (yes the toilet!)  Ideally i’d love to paint the walls a dark color, but that’s not happening yet (have to convince hubby).  He thinks it would be too dark, because a small room, but it’s small, nothing is going to change that LOL.  I had the vintage gold mirror that is all curves and scrolls – it was my mothers, so i gathered up some old picture frames, painted them with a gray chalk paint, then i had a can of gold spray paint, dabbed a bit on an old cloth and sort of sponged it on the frames.

I don’t the room is finished yet.  It needs that color.  What do you think?  Any suggestions.

So that’s me lately, doing a few fluffy things, and enjoying the creativity.

A bit of this and a bit of that, a good way to recharge the body, mind and soul.

What have you done lately that helps you recharge.  Do comment below and let me know.

 

Happy days

Jane xxx

HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN MINI-SANCTUARY

Hello everyone,

I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey.  How has your week been?  I bet, like most of us, you find yourselves rushing from chore to chore, job, to school, to work, to the gym (okay so maybe I don’t rush to the gym!!), but you get the idea.  We’re busy. We don’t have time for EVERYTHING. And most of all we often find we DON’T have time for ourselves.

 

Busy Moms

 

If this sounds like your life, then it’s time to create your own mini-sanctuary.

THE WHY WHAT AND WHERE

But first you need to determine the why, the what, the how and the when, so read on and let me help you work that exactly out.

 

The Why

Why do u need a mini-sanctuary?  And what does the word sanctuary mean to you?

Is it a place of respite, a place to recharge and regenerate body and soul? Quiet time.   A time that is just for you.

Solitude and Sanctuary

It is important to have a place that gives you a moment to be inspired, that gives you sustenance physically and mentally amidst the chaos of life. You, me and every other woman has commitments.  Family, children, parents who may be ageing, demands from work or even if you are retired, there are new questions.  What now? Sometimes no matter what stage of a life season we are at, we need a place of quiet from the ever present noise of life and our and our electronic world to have time to simply BE.

 

Have you ever noticed that during the day you have the tv sound up higher than at night?  At night everything seems quieter, no electrical noise, the clatter and chatter of disruptions and interruptions. And yet, by the end of the day, of doing our tasks for everyone around us, we often don’t have time to just sit and think, or what I call JUST BEING.  A quiet time to contemplate.

If you live with any of these happenings and let’s be real here, we all do in some way or another, then having a place of sanctuary and a special moment in time just for you alone, is a good enough reason in the first place.

 

The What?

First you need to evaluate what a mini-sanctuary mean to you? Not simply the idea of what it is, but what the actual physical-ness (if that is a word) does a mini-sanctuary look like to you?  This can only be answered by you.  But first you have to ask yourself a few questions.

What is it I need my sanctuary to give me?

Is it quiet time?

Is it a place to read?

A place to commune with nature? To be able to go for a walk, or exercise.

A place to just be, to luxuriate in quiet time?  Does silence equal bliss to you?

quiet time, a sanctuary

 

Many years ago I was asked the question what did I really want to do that was just for ME?  The question actually took me by surprise, I’d never thought about me time, something just for me, and didn’t really even know what I would want.  For a few moments I simply sat and thought about it.  What did I really want, what would recharge me and I would bring me joy?  Just for me.  Alone.  With no one else to consider.  Now I’m not saying we ignore our family/friends/demands on us as mothers/wives/partners, but maybe just for 15 minutes a day we can do something just for US.  A rather liberating thought, isn’t it?  Does thinking it make you feel guilty?

 

Time to get over that.  In the scheme of things, really, you know that 15 minutes a day isn’t much.  A few moments. That’s all.

Finally, after deliberation, I spoke up.  A bath I said, I want a bubble bath.

relaxing time, a bubble bath, a sanctuary

Well as soon as I was out of that appointment I got myself to the supermarket to buy some bubbles.  No expensive bubble bath, but it did smell good.  The cost of what I purchased wasn’t important.  What the deal was that I was doing something just for me…. And boy did I Iove that bubble bath, in fact I had one every night, a couple of tea light candles, bubbles, the door shut to household noise with the instructions that no one was to enter unless they were bleeding to death.

 

The morale here is that sometimes you have to think hard about what you want just for you.  It’s not easy. We’re used to putting ourselves last on the list of importance, because often as women we get out of practice of thinking about US.  It’s something I wonder is actually inbuilt in us.  Everyone else first. Ourselves lasts.  But don’t give up and think you don’t matter because you do, you are the glue to those around you.

So what would you like to do?

Have a reading spot

reading time, quiet time, sanctuary

Sit in the sun /shade outside and just listen to the birds

relaxing, sanctuary

Have that bubble bath like me.  Make it a spa time. Relax in luxurious fragrance and bubbles.

bubble bath, sanctuary, quiet time

Go a walk along the beach/Forrest path.

walking, beaches, quiet time, sanctuary

It may take you a few days to come up with some ideas.  We’re not used to thinking about alone time.  So every time you think of something you may like to do, don’t ignore it, write it down, no matter how silly it might sound. Put pen to paper.  Then, when you can get that first 15 minutes alone, re-read your list of ideas.  Evaluate them, maybe giving them a score of 1-10 – ten being the most important to you.

Silence.   Sun     Relaxing      Reading

Having a home made facial, giving yourself a manicure/pedicure.

Sewing even, or a craft piece you can pick up and put down easily.

Give every idea a value, and slowly you will see which type of ‘relaxing time’ is important to you.

 

Now we get to the next step.

 

The Where?

Once you have chosen what you want to do, the next is to decide where.

 

A reading spot

Create a little corner that’s just for you.  A comfy chair, a good reading light, maybe a cushion and pretty throw just for you.   In your bedroom, a sunroom, a corner of the home office, out on the deck/patio in this chair. A place that brings you serenity and is relaxing.  Tell the family this is your special place and when they see you in this chair then it’s your quiet time.  It may take them a little to figure this one out – you know the repeat, repeat process until they get it.  It doesn’t mean you’re not available, just not right this minute.  It’s like the Mum I need you.  Mum. Mum, they say whenever you’re on the phone.  My practice with that was to hold up my hand to them, they knew then I was aware they needed me, and if they waited a few moments I would give them all the attention in the world.  I wasn’t ignoring them, but was not available right at that minute.

 

A Bubble Bath

relax, bubble bath, sanctuary

Create a spa-like sanctuary in your bathroom.  Beautiful candles, dim the bathroom light or turn it off, add those sweet smelling bubbles to the bath. A little hint here.  You may not want to leave out all your beauties for the entire family. This is your treat, so store it in a decorative box that you bring out for your special time, as you make it your ‘event’.  Some other ideas for your spa.  A loofa, maybe even a face mask, music, and even some wine to go with those bubbles in the bath.  Then the ultimate wrap yourself up in softly luxurious bath towels as you get out, massaging fragranced bath lotion all over.

 

Nature and Quiet Time

solitude, quiet time, sanctuary, nature, walking

Actually if you really listen, nature isn’t that quiet.  It’s full of noise, animals, the wind, rain, the click click click of insects.

But if sitting or walking in nature is your idea of bliss, then create a little piece of native solitude outside.  A chair, maybe a cushion and throw (yes you can tell I’m a cushion gal), a pair of sunglasses and a coffee or cold drink, heck why not a glass of chilled wine.  Now sit and listen.  Let nature wash through you, revive you and reveal its wonder, because it is such a beautiful thing.  Can you hear the wind rustling through the leaves, the grass, the bees buzzing to garner the nectar from the flowers?  Relax and enjoy this moment because it’s just for you.

 

I’ll leave you with a few sayings about relaxation:

 

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”   Mark Black

 

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”    Jim Goodwin

 

“Relaxation means releasing all concern and tension and letting the natural order of life flow through one’s being.”   Donald Curtis

 

“Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.”   Norman Vincent Peale

 

“Put duties aside at least an hour before bed and perform soothing, quiet activities that will help you relax.”   Dianne Hales

 

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”    Chinese Proverb

 

“Taking time out each day to relax and renew is essential to living well.”   Judith Hanson Lasater

 

And this one reiterates exactly why YOU should create that mini-sanctuary and moment each day, just for you.

 

“When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing – just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?”     Ralph Marston

 

 

Remember, be kind to YOU and make time for that mini-sanctuary – but most importantly, make sure you use it because you deserve it.

I would love to hear about your sanctuary spot.  What is it? Where is it?  How did you create it?  Comment below.

 

Happy days

Jane xxx

PS: thanks to my daughter Yana for being my photo model!