How to describe my friend Dallas… Imagine Nancy Drew, she of the yellow 1970s hardbacks – earnest, wholesome, smart, with that twinkle in her eye. Add some Bewitched charm and sparkle. Reese Witherspoon class and style. Do you have a picture? Dallas is of course her own protagonist, her own heroine – living an energetic life, raising her daughters, taking care of Fleming, and making a difference in a variety of educational and philanthropic circles.
Also thinking about things. Trying to figure out how to be the best person she can be. While keeping everything in balance.
She inspired my thinking about a theme for 2019 (“Radical Acceptance”) – and I’m so delighted for her to stop in today to talk about hers.
Jennifer mentioned that I like to go into every new year with a theme. For 2019, it’s “Less is More.”
Toward the end of 2018, I began making lists of things I wanted to do less of and things I wanted to do more of. As I made those lists, I realized that I’m already very good at more and don’t really need to do much more of anything. Excess has always been my strong suit. I realized that what I really needed to focus on in 2019 was doing less of almost everything.
In order to remember things, I usually have to come up with a mnemonic. I came up with C.A.S.E. and decided it would be easy for me to remember to “Stay on the C.A.S.E.”…
I recognize that those are extremely rudimentary, and yet I find each of them exceedingly difficult to do. By focusing on these “lesses,” I hope to enjoy the “mores” they will promote. Consuming less will hopefully lead to better health. Accumulating less (and getting rid of much that has already been accumulated) will hopefully lead to more freedom and peace of mind. Stressing less (about everything) will hopefully lead to more sleep, which will then circle back around to better health.
Expecting less will probably prove the most difficult for me. I have always had high expectations of myself and others. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the quickest way to disappointment is to set your bar too high. So I’m granting myself and others a lot more grace these days, and I look forward to more of that in the new year. By expecting less, I’m hopeful to free myself to experience more joy, and I want to be able to spread some of that around!
Bottom line: I’m hoping that all these lesses will make me a better wife, mother, daughter and friend.
I’ll probably do a pretty good job with the first three items on the less list, at least in January and February, and if I am successful at the last one, I’ll easily forgive myself for not “Staying on the C.A.S.E.” for the remainder of the year, because, well, I just didn’t have such high expectations for myself. Looks like it’s going to be a great year!
One thing that I definitely DON’T want to do less of in 2019 is read. Seriously, it was on the top of my more list before I abandoned it to focus on the lesses. One of my favorite quotes is “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” Two of the books I read last year that informed my thinking about less were “The Craving Brain” by Barbara Thompson and “the life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo.
Two books I’m hoping to read in 2019 to help me “Stay on the C.A.S.E.” are “Clean” by Alejandro Junger and “Stumbling into Grace” by Lisa Harper.
I also found myself enjoying several books last year that focus on familial relationships…
“I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This” – Nadja Spiegelman
“Reconstructing Amelia” – Kimberly McCreight
“Our Family Trouble” – Don Winston
“Southernmost” – Silas House
“All We Ever Wanted” – Emily Giffin
“News of the World” – Paulette Jiles
“The Alice Network” –Kate Quinn
“Imagine Me Gone” – Adam Haslett
On my nightstand in this genre is “Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and I can’t wait to dive in. Surely all these lesses will create more time for reading, right?