Thursday, December 9, 2010

Priorities and the Holidays

I read lots of blogs for creative inspiration and for fun...but lately, reading blogs has been frustrating. A lot of people are in the "holidays are coming, must rush around and be super busy!" mode.

I don't judge, I've been there before. It's just that when I was busy and rushing around and buying presents and decorating the house...I was miserable. And these people sound pretty miserable too.

I will tell you now that I'm an atheist. Even though the rest of my family is catholic, we never went to church, not even on holidays. To me (and to my family for the most part) christmas is just a nice time to get together, have a good meal and wear pajamas for two days. And I can't be sure about this but I assume that if I were religious, christmas would be a time to reflect on my relationship with god and do nice things for other people.

Now that I'm living mindfully, it surprises me that so many people (my old self included) seem to lose sight of what's important around the holidays. There's constant frantic screaming from the tv in the form of stupid commercials for diamonds and toys. Even my favorite clothing store was filled to the brim with displays of junky appliances and novelty gifts...all on sale for 50% off...why not buy two?!

What I don't understand is the hectic attitude that's not really about anything important. If the holidays are supposed to be a time to see friends and family or to celebrate your chosen religion, how did all this crazy consumerism and time wasting come about? I'm pretty sure the baby Jesus never ran around screaming "OMG, I still need to hang all these ornaments and string these lights and make these cookies and buy some diamonds for all my ladies! I'm so busy that I couldn't possibly find the time to hang out with my disciples. I'll never get this done in time for my birthday and I'm the freaking Son of God!"

I find it so odd that this time of year distracts so many people from what's truly important. The time, money and effort spent on holiday gifts and traditions could be better spent improving our lives, the lives of our friends and family and the lives of people we haven't even met. Why do these priorities fly out the window the moment holiday songs start playing in every store the day after Halloween?

In lieu of holiday decorating and tree purchasing, I'm donating art supplies through my work's "Sponsor a Family Giving Program". Ian and I had a great time picking out all the art supplies we wished we'd had when we were kids. I feel good knowing that some little girl will know what it's like to use a real paintbrush or to draw with charcoal or to sketch her ideas in her very own sketchpad. These are things I never knew as a child.

I challenge everyone reading this today to live mindfully this holiday season. Take a minute to think about your traditions and why they are (or aren't really) important. Think about the time spent on any given task and decide if that time could be put to better use. Think about the things you'd love to experience, the things that will make great memories. Toss out anything that gets in the way of the truly important things. I promise you'll be happier for it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Tiny Houses

So, remember when I said I was going to talk about small houses for a while? Well, while doing research, I found a couple of blogs that are so much better than anything I could (or would) write. So, if you're at all interested in super cool small houses, check out these blogs. Some people are really thinking outside the box which I think is so amazing!

Design Boom
Small Space Living
Tiny House Blog

I've finally figured out what sort of tiny place I want. I was talking to Ian today and he reminded me about "artist's lofts". I love the idea of work space that you can live in.

Rather than several small rooms (like my current house), I'd love one large room that could serve many purposes. The lack of "dedicated" space would allow for flexibility in the layout of furniture and would allow me more space for a particular project, if needed.

In addition to the open work space, I'd like a super tiny kitchen that closes in behind sliding doors. I want a Murphy bed because they're so cool. Oh, and a tiny bathroom would be nice...the smaller, the better.

And I know it's not very "minimalist" to want a vintage diner-style booth but I've always wanted one. It could be used as an eating space but I'd mostly use it as a desk. While I love the idea of wide open spaces for working, I prefer a tiny "nest" for creating and nurturing ideas.

And that's it. No space for "someday", no space for entertaining guests or hosting parties. No dining room, no living room, no home office or library or master bedroom. Just space to create and to sleep. I think it sounds refreshing!

What about you? Would you prefer a smaller traditional-style house or something "outside the box"? What spaces/rooms are the most important to you? What spaces/rooms would you leave behind? Does your current house fit your priorities? Does it help you reach your goals?