July.2018.5Imagine you have a tangled up mess of Christmas lights, and you want to know if you have enough to string your tree.  Or you want to discover how much yarn you have in a twisted up ball.  Maybe you want to wear a necklace but it’s become knotted in your jewelry box.  In each of these situations, you must first unravel the item before if becomes useful.

I stumbled upon the phrase “midlife unraveling” in a Bréné Brown book last month, and it struck a chord with me.  I liked it so much better than “midlife crisis”, because I don’t feel like I am in the midst of any catastrophe, but I do feel like I am at a place where I want to take a good hard look at my life – where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going. I have, with my wonderful husband, been unknowingly doing this for the last 6 months or so.

With four busy school age and teen boys, we had been finding our home life increasingly chaotic – and while the activities add up quickly (even with less than one sport and one music lesson per child), it was the grown-up activities that seemed to be causing a level of stress that wasn’t sustainable. We were irritable, tired, distracted, and frustrated.  This stage of family life requires attention and intention, and both of these were spread thin – to quote Bilbo Baggins, “like butter scraped across too much bread”.  Something had to change.

So we have phased out and declined and reduced to the point where I believe we can see the forest. We know how many lights there are, and now we need to decide what needs to be illuminated. I’m not entirely sure how to go about this, but I think a wee bit of time will help. We plan to camp out here for a season or two, to write a family mission statement this month – our WHY – and to see when and if new activities and commitments help us achieve that mission before we say yes to them.  Stay tuned for more on this – our Mission-with-a-capital-M, our attempt to deOWN stuff, and how we all feel about it as we go.

I’d love to hear from you – write a comment or send me an email!