There was a time in my life when I was somewhat organized. During that time, I would organize and clean out closets and drawers. It soothed me. I liked having things in order.
Then I decided to write and market a book.
That’s when the free time to organize anything got sucked into a lint filled vacuum bag.
There are probably people who would say that my life is out of balance right now. I’m co-writing a book that is due to the publisher in early January, and I’m trying to publicize Project: Happily Ever After, which debuts right around the same time. I’m doing media interviews. I’m flying around the country to give speeches. I’m traipsing into the city for business events, and I’m cranking out words every which way.
I’m earmarking a good portion of my income and savings to pay for freelance publicists, promotion materials (like these cute little pens with a frog and book title on them), giveaways, travel expenses and more.
As a result, I’ve got my family on the tightest budget imaginable. My socks all have holes in them, but I won’t buy more. Part of the reason I’ve been on a diet these past few months isn’t because I care that deeply about my body size. It’s because I can’t afford to buy larger sized clothes.
A couple years ago, as the cost cutting and time commitment were ramping up, I thought that this would all depress me. I thought that I would miss all of the things that we could no longer buy.
You know what? I don’t. Although I am somewhat on the edge of exhaustion, I am perhaps happier than I’ve ever been. I found it all seemingly contradictory.
Initially, when I picked up her book, I thought it was going to put me to shame and cause me to feel guilty about all of the things I don’t do—like sew my own clothes. Or sew anything for that matter.
But the book did nothing of the sort. If anything, reading her book was like sitting with the most open minded, supportive friend. You know the type. She stops over to say, “Hello.” You apologize about the mess—the socks on the floor that never did get sorted or the dog that stinks like a sewage treatment plant because no one has the heart to give him a bath. You tell her you are embarrassed that you have nothing to offer her to drink because you haven’t gotten around to going to the grocery store because you’ve been too busy writing the book that is due in January.
She’s the friend who looks at you and says, “This is what I love about you.”
That’s Tsh. She doesn’t judge. She only guides you on a journey to create a simple life—whatever that means for you.
And by the end of the book, I realized that I was already well on my way to simplicity, and that’s probably why the cost cutting and book writing has made me so happy. In zeroing in on this goal, I’ve allowed every other unnecessary commitment in my life to drop off the to-do list.
And I am free-er and lighter as a result.
Note #1: In her book, Tsh includes dozens of DIY home products. For instance, she includes a simple recipe to make your own toilet bowl cleaner out of baking soda and vinegar. Since we ran out of toilet bowl cleaner a long time ago and I never did get around to buying more of the stuff, I found that recipe quite refreshing. I do happen to have baking soda and vinegar. Now I can clean my toilet. In her next book, I hope she includes a shampoo recipe for stinky dogs.
Note #2: For Tsh’s tips on simplifying the holiday season, hop on over to my Morning Call health column.
A professional journalist, Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir of how she saved her marriage, and coauthor of Pitch Perfect, a must-read if you've ever had a sense of dread tie up your insides before a speech, presentation, or conversation. If you enjoyed this post, you will no doubt love her updates on Facebook and Twitter.