This post was originally titled “Saying No, Just For Now”. But that’s too final for what we want to talk about. We learned that there’s no shame in putting things on hold if they don’t fit in our life right now. It’s not about saying “no”, but prioritizing what is important and what is not. If we cannot commit to something 100%, maybe we will sometime in the future. Saying “not yet” leaves space for something to return when it does finally fit. There’s nothing stopping a goal or dream from returning. But for now, it must be let go.
One of our goals for 2017 is to step up our hiking frequency. We discovered the awesomeness of getting our nature on last year, so we want to double down on how often we hit the trail. We stumbled upon #52HikeChallenge on Instagram and felt instantly inspired to join this community of hikers, who run the gambit from beginners to experts.
2016 has been a year of change for Team Rustic Walks. It was our first full year of living together, which gave us a surprising insight into what was working for us and what wasn’t. Things like spending willy-nilly, letting our health decline, and filling our home with excess stuff. We saw these problems, and we made a pledge to fix them. By the end of 2016, we wanted to give ourselves space physically and mentally to figure out what’s truly important.
We’re in the homestretch of 2016, and along with the shorter days and falling temperatures comes a mountain of year-end stress. Pressure to fill our calendar with holiday gatherings, project deadlines, doctor’s appointments, and tax preparations. Attempts to throw a hail mary at our goals for the year before time runs out. As if these obligations vanish on January 1st, 2017. We’re learning that is certainly not the case.
My family went hard during the holidays when I was a child. The decorations, the parties, the food, and, most of all, the gifts. It pains me to imagine all the time and money spent on holiday gifts that I honestly can’t recall now. This isn’t to say that giving gifts is inherently bad – it just should not be the primary focus of the holiday. Years down the line the things we remember aren’t how many gifts we received, but the memories we shared.
The past three weeks have felt like a bombardment of distractions. There’s been a constant humming of noise, just in our periphery, that makes meeting our obligations that much harder. Maybe it’s the holiday season and all that goes with it, or perhaps we’re especially busy trying to juggle competing demands. So many things need our attention, but we only have so much attention to give. As a result, some things may have slipped through the cracks. We’re coming out of this fog now, but the battle against noise is far from won.
The holiday season could be a touchy affair this year. Tensions are high, people are divided, and there’s a lot of uncertainty in the coming months. Some are still struggling to come to terms with their feelings, which is certainly understandable. They want time to process and heal. Everyone does so in their own way, and in many cases that means confiding in the people closest to us.
But I’ve seen folks saying that they want to avoid holiday gatherings this year. They want to prevent conflict and argument by steering clear of family and friends who think differently. Bitterness, animosity, and fear has made people retreat into their respective corners. The pain of confronting our differences eclipses our need for community.
This weekend the Rustic Walks household settled into our new apartment. We moved from our home of three years to a new place just down the street. It was a whirlwind of packing and schlepping, but we made it across the finish line. There’s one thing we can say with absolute certainty: decluttering was the best thing we did for ourselves this year.
We went into 2016 knowing we would be moving, so we took every opportunity to get rid of as much clutter as possible. We cleaned out our closet, threw packing parties just for fun, and thought hard about what we truly needed for our new home.
In a recent post about Minimalism vs Frugality, Ms. Rustic Walks mentioned that just under a year ago, we discovered who are likely the first two people anyone researching this stuff would come across: The Minimalists. Their message sat well with us: less is more. We found that we had a good amount of things, but they were not improving our life anymore.
For years, I have had an aversion to clutter. Keeping my life in order physically meant less work for my future self when looking for something, or needing to run out the door. Meanwhile, Ms. RW moved around a lot and had to keep her possessions to a minimum. We both already had a predisposition to curating our possessions, but we needed extra motivation to get rid of things we no longer needed.