Whenever I’m asked how I spent the summer, I flounder in my attempts to articulate what I did with my time. I slowed down and therefore I don’t have the usual extensive list of seasonal activities to talk about.
Sure…trips abroad, a weekend music festival and a visit from David’s youngest sister for a fortnight were definite highlights. Plus each time I sat down to paint or to write, swam laps as part of a little adventure I dreamed up for myself or simply infused more beauty and joy into my everyday life, felt like time well spent.
That’s not why I find it difficult to articulate what I did this summer though. I struggle because what I treasure the most probably won’t make sense.
This was the summer of fixing and improving and purging, and it was a home full of boxes and dust and tradesmen who drank seemingly endless cups of tea.
It was a season spent preparing for the next chapter of my life – whilst keeping in mind the importance of continuing to live well in the chapter I’m in right now.
In some ways I’ve intentionally made my life very small over the past few months, in order to create the space required to do this work. David and I moved into our home over 10 years ago and whilst I’m grateful for our abode and we’ve made a lot of happy memories here, the truth is, it’s often felt like a weight hanging around my neck.
There are various reasons why I felt this way but partly it’s because we’ve frequently made plans to fix and improve things and we’d often begin the work only to get distracted by our careers or dare I say it, more interesting pursuits. And sometimes I’d think about everything that needed doing and end up paralysed with indecision; where to begin? So, inevitably, projects would be disregarded before they were completed, or even started. And whilst I didn’t understand it at the time, whenever this happened, a little piece of me would die inside because I didn’t follow through.
When you don’t do the things you say you’re going to do, they begin to pile up and rest heavily on your heart. I shared this with a friend who replied, “That’s just the way life is”, but I refuse to believe this. I no longer blindly accept the status quo.
So, whilst others were sharing their fabulous summers on social media and living lives I want to live, I constantly reminded myself that this wasn’t an exercise in curating a beautiful home or ‘nothing work’ – which was often how the most mundane tasks felt – but rather, preparation for what’s coming next; a new chapter of life which is being designed with intention and purpose. It was this thought and by viewing each task as just one of a series of small steps that would take me to where I want to be, that gave me the impetus to keep going.
There were delays and disasters, but this summer, I became the girl who follows through.
Sometimes this is how new chapters begin. They don’t always start with movie-worthy scenes, but with a series of small steps that don’t really look like much on the outside, but feel like everything on the inside.
Whilst there are obvious, tangible benefits, it’s the intangible ones I treasure the most. I took control of my life; each time I followed through on even the smallest of tasks my confidence grew and each time I let go of items I no longer loved or needed, I could feel internal layers being peeled away too.
The weight lifted and I feel an inner spaciousness I’ve never felt before. I don’t know exactly when the next chapter of my life will begin, but I do know that what I want is coming.
© 2017 Esther Zimmer