I Must

The first thing I’m supposed to do is come up with my Must List. If you’re curious about what I’m talking about, check out the 21-Day Journey to Minimalism. That being said, here’s mine:

  • I must change.
  • I must stop mindlessly spending money.
  • I must make conscious decisions as a consumer.
  • I must only own things that add value and joy to my life.
  • I must make healthier food choices.
  • I must exercise daily.
  • I must foster healthy relationships and let go of (or set boundaries for) toxic ones.
  • I must spend my device time wisely.
  • I must read and write every day.
  • I must meditate.

Coming up with lists always seems to be a difficult task, but this one magically came together in about 30 minutes with only minor editing. What made it easy was I already had a lot of these things in my head as things I “should” be doing, which is exactly what Joshua and Ryan talked about in their Day 2 post. These are things that are meaningful to me already.

What Else I’m Doing to Move Forward

I’ve already listed items I no longer need or use, things like clothes with the tags on them, tote bags and storage bins that aren’t storing anything and only taking up space. I’ve even listed designer eye shadow palettes that have never even been used. For the items that aren’t profitable or in-demand, I’ve already started generating a pile in the garage of stuff to be donated. or thrown away. You can view some of these items on my eBay store.

“Granular changes produce grandiose results,” I repeat to myself. Each time it’s uttered, it feels more and more like a brick in the foundation of a better future.

Featured Image:
Image by Jess Watters from Pixabay


Journeys Always Start Somewhere

Thursday night, I had a couple hours before bedtime when I decided to browse Netflix. It was one of those rare nights when I was in the mood to not just have something on TV, but to actually pay attention to it as well, as opposed to having it be background noise for some other redundant activity like laundry.

That’s when I discovered the film Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. I remember coming across this movie on Netflix a while ago and making a mental note of it. I figured well now was as good a time as any to watch it. And plus I had a new diamond painting next to my bedside that I thought would be a good side activity should there be any dull parts.

But the thing is: I didn’t even touch the diamond painting.

Living With Intent: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

I’ve always been familiar with the term minimalist. I remember learning about the minimalist movement in an art history class in college. I’ve always considered it being the subtraction of things, which has a very negative connotation. However, this documentary helped me see that it’s not just the subtraction of things, but the addition of things that provide value and meaning. And that to me is when it clicked. I mean, what is this life we live if it’s not valuable and meaningful?

Get rid of the excess. Live with purpose. Make every action count. All of these short, pithy sayings that I’ve picked up over the years, my interest in stoicism, my meditation practice, just everything all culminated to a head in this film.

I feel like this is what I’ve been missing. It’s not that I ever needed more money or a bigger house or even some kind of faraway spiritual experience. Everything I could ever need is right here and if anything I have too much stuff and too much stimuli.

What I need to do is start editing my life, removing the unnecessary until only the necessary remains.

“Granular Changes Produce Grandiose Results”

I listened to one of their podcasts on my way to work the next morning and one of them emphasized that same sentiment. “Granular changes produce grandiose results,” he said. I’ve heard this same idea repeated over and over again in other situations, most recently in my therapy sessions with my nutritional psychologist.

So I’m going to start working through their 21-Day Journey to Minimalism. I skimmed through it and I feel like it’s no different from what I’ve already been doing, except this time someone else has pioneered the trail and I’m just there to follow the map.

The next thing: this website. This website has always been a place where I document my phases, but recently it’s become a place of consternation, stalled growth, and dissatisfaction. I’m going to make it a place for me to learn and to foster and document progress. I’ve already spent some time on it this weekend, now I just need to continue that progress.

What’s Next?

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” I’ll continue to document my journey here using their 21-Day roadmap as a guide. Small changes each day, that’s all I’ll do.

Featured Photo:
Image by KatinkavomWolfenmond from Pixabay

Frozen in Time

There I was out in my garage with tears streaming down my face, desperately searching. Searching for my sanity first of all, but second of all, searching for 3 small boxes that I was praying to find. Why? Because I’d looked everywhere else that morning and I couldn’t remember for the life of me where I had last seen them.

But there they were, stacked on the floor between some other boxes. And my panic subsided.

6 years ago today, my dad passed away. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already. Sometimes it feels like it was just a year ago, but when I think about where I was back then in comparison to where I am today, I know that so much time has passed. 

I’ve been looking at the same photos of my dad for years now. The same ones I have stored on my phone and uploaded to Facebook. I realized my memories were being reduced to just those few photos. That’s when I remembered I had those boxes of photos. So I went in search of them.

The first spot I checked, my office closet, turned up nothing. That’s where I would’ve thought they’d be since pretty much all my junk is in here. Then I checked the bedroom closet but that’s stuffed to the ceiling with suitcases and bins of accessories I haven’t used in years. I started to worry.

I went out into the garage and turned on the light. They had to be out here somewhere, I thought,  this is the only other place they’d be. As I shifted boxes around, I felt the tears welling in my eyes and sobs escaping my throat. I need to find them, I thought. I need to find him.

When we lose someone before we’re ready, our brains freeze that person in our memories. They neither grow older, nor change. No new memories are created, and only old ones remain. This morning, I found myself reliving the same 6 or 7 snapshots over and over again. But I desperately needed different ones. I don’t know why, maybe I just wanted to feel like seeing photos of him that I haven’t looked at in a long time would awaken feelings of newness. 

And there, in the shadow of a stack of plastic storage boxes, I could see the silhouettes of three small photo boxes, one was a glossy white and two were a flat maroon color. There they were. I lifted them out of the shadows and carefully carried them into the house, wiping the tears from my cheeks. I set them down on my kitchen table and started going through them. I remember I had started organizing them with index cards based on general topics, but half of them were still left unorganized, a project long since forgotten. It did not take long to find what I was looking for. 

I thought I would feel better. But as I stared at these old pictures of him, I realized that’s all they were: old pictures. And they would always be that way, no matter how long I put them out of sight. They would not fill the hole left by him when he passed away. I felt disheartened mostly because I wonder if anything ever will. 

Consume Your Craft

*Wave* Hi, there. It’s me. So after 8 long months of radio silence, where do I even begin?

Honestly I’ve been wrestling with a significant case of burnout, which is really very common in my industry. However mine also happened to be fueled by this months-long website migration project I’ve been on at work at least since April. We had to move around 1,800 websites from one system to another. It sounds easy, but it’s not really pick up said assets from point A and move to point B. No, no. It was more pick up from point A, then completely rebuild it on point B. Oh and it can’t look exactly the same as it did when it was at point A.

A project like this normally would’ve taken a couple years, but in our world? 8 months. There were some clients who did not like this one bit and never failed to let us know, whether it be by writing us the most hateful, deriding emails or calling us names over the phone. There were some days where all I could do was cry instead of make dinner.

I’ve always prided myself in having thick skin. Years of art classes, journalism classes, advertising classes, and just generally living and breathing agency life for 15 years has given me the ability to develop it. But this time it was really put to the test.

I began to have a mid-life crisis about my career choice. Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? Is this where I want to be? Do I really want to be hated and bullied and degraded for the rest of my career. Maybe I need something more creative, more enjoyable rather than something that dragged me through the mud every goddamn day.

I believe I have an entrepreneurial spirit. Somewhere deep inside me there’s someone that wants to go out and do her own thing, to be independent and try and succeed on her own. But doing what? I don’t know yet. And “yet” is the operative word.

But right now, my craft is web development, specifically in WordPress. I’ve had a long history with it. I know it well enough to build websites on it, break websites on it, fix websites on it, and make websites on it better. I really need to focus on that.


Craig has always been such a no-muss, no-fuss, low maintenance guy. He never wears cologne. He sometimes goes days without shaving. He’s lucky if he even remembers to look in the mirror when he gets dressed in the morning. And he only uses one product in the shower, which he worships: a 3-in-1 product (shampoo, conditioner, body wash all in one). His method? Pouring the product directly on his head, working up a lather, and then letting it run down the rest of his body so that the suds will catch whatever dirt in its path and wash it away.

I will admit, this uncomplicated simplicity is mostly why I fell in love with him. Though probably because I see him the way an artist sees a blank canvas upon which to paint a masterpiece.

But every artist struggles with her subject sometimes. For example, his haircuts have been a source of contention. His idea of a good haircut was to get it all completely shaved off so that within two weeks time, he can have a good looking haircut.

I thought that was completely absurd. Why wait two weeks for your hair to grow out into a good haircut? Why not get it cut and have it look good immediately? And who’s to say it would even grow out well? But again–uncomplicated simplicity. That was his thing.

It wasn’t until this week when we had some particularly cold weather that Craig came home from a long day, pulled off his winter hat and displayed the worst case of hat hair I’ve ever seen.

“What’s going on up there?” I asked, smiling and looking at his head when he walked into my office.


“You’ve got some major hat hair,” I said. “You look like a mad scientist. Or Krusty the Klown.”

He walked into the bathroom and turned on the light. “Oh fucking hell.”

That pretty much decided it. I had plans this weekend to see my esthetician for my monthly facial treatment. She also happened to be located inside a hair salon. So while I would be getting my treatment, I scheduled an appointment for him to get his haircut.

While some women thought the salon or spa was their sacred space where they could get away from their husbands, I didn’t mind having him there.  In fact, it was actually kinda cute that we would be spending the afternoon at the salon together. “Do you need any waxing done?” I asked him. We were sitting in the car in the parking lot right before the appointment. “Maybe get your back waxed? Get your chest waxed? Make you nice and smooth.”

“No, thank you.”

“There’s a nail salon next door,” I said. “You could get a manicure and a pedicure without polish.”

“Ok, c’mon. Let’s just get this over with,” he said.

Within a few minutes of Oahn getting started on him, Jennifer my esthetician arrived and called me in for my treatment (more on that later). I was a little nervous for him just because I had no idea what this woman would do to this hair. The last thing I wanted was for him to have a bad experience here.

But when I was finished, I met him out in the waiting area where he was sitting there reading something on his phone and sporting a very handsome new look. I smiled at him, “Wow you look great.”

The other ladies in the salon were totally gawking over him. “Your husband is so sweet!” Swan, the owner, said to me. “You trained him well.”

I laughed and Craig blushed, “Ok, c’mon, let’s get out of here. I’m already embarrassed,” he said. I thanked my esthetician and said goodbye to the other ladies.

“Oanh did such a great job,” I said as we got into the car.

“Are you sure? I can’t even tell,” he said. He was probably too nervous to really notice when she had finished. It wasn’t until we stopped at Taco Bell and he looked at himself in the mirror of the men’s restroom that he was able to take in what he really looked like.

“Ok, I have to say…” he inserted a dramatic pause, “This is the best goddamn haircut of my life.”

“See! I told you!”

All throughout lunch, I kept gazing at him from across the table. He looked so different. Like a new man almost. “I can’t stop looking at you,” I said. “You look so handsome.”

“Wow you’re totally into me aren’t you?” he said, really impressed with himself.

“Yeah I kinda wish we got our food to go. I want to hurry up and take you home,” I said suggestively. And then followed by my Joey Tribbiani impression, “How you dooin’?” We both laughed.

His new haircut gave him newfound confidence that he hadn’t known before. All weekend he strutted around the house like a stallion, chest puffed out like the only rooster in the hen house. I noticed he took Izzie out on a neighborhood walk despite the twenty-degree weather. And then Sunday afternoon, he said, “Shady’s? For dinner?”

Craig’s not usually one to suggest going out to eat.

“Wait a second! I know what you’re doing,” I said. “You’re peacocking!”

“Peacocking? What’s that?”

“You know, when male peacocks are trying to attract a mate, they strut around displaying their feathers,” I said. “You’re strutting around displaying you’re new hair cut! You’re peacocking!”

He patted his coiffed hair. “Maybe.”

I laughed. I didn’t mind. If all my husband needed was a good haircut to make him feel as confident as I believed he should be, then it’s worth it.