Happy New Year everyone!
Despite the fact that January can be the coldest and longest month of winter, full of post-holiday blues and the bills that inevitably accompany our December merriment, there is something so beautiful about the changeover to a new year.
New beginnings and a fresh start are amidst and I always find myself in the mindset to make the changes that I neglected to truly make the previous 11 months of the year.
For me, that includes a change in the type of article I get to prepare for my wonderful readers each month.
For the past six years or so, I have enjoyed being the Shore Frugalista, sharing tips for saving money using everything from coupons to thrifty habits.
I could talk about and write on this topic forever but I am excited to shift into a new topic for my favorite readers that I hope will take us all on a journey toward a more meaningful and mindful existence.
Moving forward, the name of my new article is “Sweet Simplicity,” and each month, I will share ways to live a simpler, saner and, hopefully, more satisfying existence.
I have a ton of initial ideas in mind, but articles will cover everything from ways to de-clutter, tools for simplifying your daily routine to tips on teaching mindfulness to your own family.
As a busy working mom and college student, I find that my day-to-day life is full of clutter.
There are always too many things on the agenda, too many obligations to give my meaningful attention and not enough hours or energy in the day to enjoy any of it.
Sound familiar?
I am not sure if it was always this way or if we have, through the years, just oversaturated our lives with expectations and obligations.
About a year ago, I gave up a well-paying job and the job title I thought I always wanted to pursue a longtime dream of becoming an elementary school teacher.
It meant giving up financial security, making some serious sacrifices and making some real changes in the way my family did everything.
The end result?
The wallet is paper-thin, bills are often paid late and I worry often about the next month’s cash flow — but it has been one of the most meaningful years of my life.
Rather than spend a ton of money on my kids, I have spent a ton of time with my kids — and it has made a difference in all of our hearts and happiness levels.
I am not telling everyone to make such a drastic change but my goal for you, dear reader, is to offer ideas to help you find a more mindful approach to your own unique situation.
Whether that is decluttering your home and physical environment, finding some time managements tools to maximize your productivity in order to make more time for family or simply offering tools for organizing your life, I am excited to share with you some of the lessons I have learned in my own journey toward a more minimalist, mindful life.
Since this article is intended to be an introductory one, I do want to leave you with some food for thought as you think about your own New Year’s resolutions.
First of all, I am fully aware that most of those January resolutions end up falling by the wayside within a month — just compare the parking lot of your local gym on the first week in January and again around Valentine’s Day for proof of that fact!
This month’s homework is easy: Take five minutes today to think about — and write down if you are so inclined — five things that make you happy.
Is it spending time with your kids, drinking your morning coffee or just watching your favorite show on television? Is there something that you think would make you happy that you aren’t doing? Could you find room in your life for that?
Last year, this exercise, which led me to realize that working with children gave me more joy than anything I had ever done in my life before, is what gave me the courage to go back to school for that degree I mentioned earlier.
Yours can be as simple as budgeting time for a 15-minute phone call to that long-distance friend or letting go of an activity that takes up time and money without giving you much gratification.
Regardless of what other resolutions 2018 finds you making, I ask you to resolve to do at least one more thing this year that makes you happy.
Throughout the coming months, I promise to offer tips for doing that in ways that help you live simpler, live a smarter and live more satisfying existence.
Happy New Year!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)