It all started with a long business trip, and a fateful plane ride stuck in the middle seat. Knowing the torture that lay ahead after an already long week of meetings and networking, I decided to treat myself with a couple of magazines for the plane ride. Although the new issue of Real Simple would be waiting in my mailbox upon my return, I just couldn’t resist buying it. That one issue (February 2011) inspired me to pare down my life, focus on my needs and desires, and surround myself only with items and people that I love.
Change was already afoot in my life when I had this inspiration. A three year marriage was coming to an end, and many shifts were on the horizon for my personal life. I definitely could not have imagined that at 33, I’d be a twice divorced (yep – twice) mother to a remarkably sweet and easy going two year old. My career has taken off, and in six years, I’ve achieved a very happy level of success in my field. I’m blessed with a job that I never even knew existed, and that challenges me in a way I never anticipated being a lawyer could.
What, you may be asking, does any of this have to do with a copy of Real Simple magazine? My business trip had wrapped up my first introduction to Board of Director membership for a huge national non-profit. Spending several days in the company of these men and women from the upper echalons of their professions and communities was very inspiring. I was ready to take on the world! Before I could even get that thought off the group, my mind jumped to the impending chaos of my separation/divorce, the resulting financial impact, and the horrors of yet another move. As I leafed through the magazine, it occurred to me that the only way I could truly makeover my life would be to use this seismic life shift to start over with a clean slate. Sure, I’ve been successful in the past with organizing one closet at a time, and even throwing a bunch of stuff away, but there’s always been so much of the past cluttered around me that it felt insurmountable. In the end, I’ve always closed up at least a few of those stressful drawers and overstuffed boxes, leaving them untouched and weighing heavily on my soul.
Real Simple magazine has been a favorite of mine for years, as much for their clean page layouts and helpful tips on organizing my pantry, as for the aspirational lifestyle I saw inside their pages. I may be a messy piler and near-hoarder with “stuff,” but perhaps I could use the divorce and move as my chance to start anew. To start small and grow into my new life, instead of packing around all of the baggage of my past and present and then somehow hoping to find serenity among the dusty boxes and old memories. In the days and months ahead, I am going to use this space to document my journey towards a “Real Simple” life surrounded by “only what I love.”