ADULTHOOD. Ugh. I simultaneously love and hate it. This year has been a crazy transition and has had extreme ups and downs. From bursting into tears the second students leave my classroom to leaping with joy at all of the exciting new things adulthood brings (a salary, a dog, more wine, etc.), this year has been one to remember. In the midst of this transition, I feel like the theme of the whole year has been getting my sh*t together, in so many different arenas. You really don’t realize how much of your sh*t you need to get together until you are the only one responsible for all of it. Like, for example, health insurance.
I have never in my life spent more than 30 seconds thinking about health insurance, because my parents paid for my health insurance and just handed me a little card to put in my wallet. But this year no one handed me a card to put into my wallet, so now I don’t have one. This is an area of sh*t that I have yet to pull together. I’m pretty sure I pay for health insurance and I just need to email someone, honestly. But I haven’t sent that email, and have instead employed the tactic of hoping I don’t get sick or injured. So far it has worked out for me. I’ll get this sh*t together later.
This year I have read quite a few books about getting different arenas of sh*t together. So instead of continuing to write about all of the sh*t that I don’t have together, I figured I could share these books with you. I’m also thinking about unlinking this blog to my classroom blog, because I am saying sh*t too much. Hm. Here are the books.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
I am a things person, I always have been. From earrings to stationary to dog toys, I have always loved things. I’m a sucker for subscription services (that’s another blog post waiting to happen), and I buy every book that catches my eye. I just love pretty things.
My love for things makes moving a nightmare. In the past five years, I have moved all of my things seven times. SEVEN TIMES. This stage of life is miserable in terms of moving. It drives me crazy. Each year gets worse with the more things I accumulate. This year, moving into my own one-bedroom apartment, where there is room for all of the things I have been hoarding at my parents’ house, was the most eye opening of all.
I read this book while I was babysitting a few weeks ago, and I realized how many things I actually have and how ridiculous it is that I have all of these things. So I followed (almost) all of Marie’s advice, and got rid of so much. I’m talking, four trips to Goodwill, 4 bags of clothes shipped off to Schoola, a big trip to Half Price Books, and countless trash bags full of junk.
The whole premise of the book is this that the reason we are constantly cleaning and tidying up is because we are holding on to far too many things. The two primary reasons we hold on to a ridiculous amount of things are, 1) a fear of the future, and 2) an inability to let go of the past. i.e., “what if I want to wear that [ridiculous bridesmaid] dress again?” or, “I really loved that wedding, and I have such great memories in that dress!” Both reasons are poor reasons to keep the dress. We should only hold on to things that bring us joy, and by holding on to things that don’t, we are actually causing more stress in our lives. Marie says it much more beautifully than I do:
“…when we delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future. … It’s important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life. The question of what you own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. Attachment to the past and fears concerning the future not only govern the way you select the things you own but also represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your life, including your relationships with people and your job.”
She then goes through her process of sorting through everything you own and choosing what to get rid of. It really was incredible for me to read and to realize how much I hold on to because of fear. After getting rid of so many things, I feel more free to invest time and energy into worthwhile endeavors. I think this book has changed the way I live and hold onto things forever.
The Stash Plan, Laura Prepon & Elizabeth Troy
I bought this book because I’m really into meal prep right now (which, by the way, is going great. I am saving money and feeling better about my body). What I didn’t know, was this book is about far more than meal prep. I ended up reading about how scary GMOs are and how many crazy things we put into our bodies. We are constantly eating foods that our body can’t even recognize, much less get nutrients from.
So I read all about GMOs and have since then started removing harmful chemicals from my kitchen and my diet. So far, I am loving it. It’s more expensive, but at some point in adulthood, we need to ask ourselves how much our health is worth (especially if we haven’t figured out the whole health insurance game 😁)
Apart from all of the info about GMOs and such, there are some great recipes that I am in the midst of trying out. There’s also a lot of theory in this book that I’m not completely sold on, and I probably won’t be following the book 100%, as I can’t afford to go to the extremes that celebrities do.
Rich Bitch, Nicole Lapin
Still a favorite. I wrote about this book earlier this year, and still follow Lapin’s advice and reference it constantly. This is one of those books that will always stay in my collection, even after the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Everyone should read this book, especially all my fellow single, independent, badass ladies.
So there you go. My top three get your sh*t together books. The beauty in all of it, though, is even though I will never actually have all of my sh*t together, at the foot of Jesus, none of it matters. The Gospel, the only glue that will ever truly hold our lives together, says that we will never have it all together and that’s okay.
So, in the end, whether I feel like I have it all together or I don’t, there is always peace, rest, and hope in knowing that it’s already been taken care of. Thank you, Jesus, that my rest and my worth is found in you and nothing else.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30