.March was a hard month. January and February brought about a lot of simplifying and decluttering, which lead to a lot less stress and more motivation, March really knocked the wind out of me. Because of that, I took most of the month of March off from doing much of anything and since then, put a lot of my simplifying on hold.
I’ve had two cats for almost all of my adult life. The older one, Yokaze, I got before my senior year of high school and had truly been with me through everything, from getting through senior year, boarding a plane to Colorado, moving many times while there, joining me for college, moving to Pennsylvania, getting married, the birth of by daughter… everything. He definitely had a lot of personality and stood by me through all of the hard times and trials of my life and especially my 20s. There were cuddles when needed and loud purrs to go with them.
Unfortunately, he stopped eating. The vet did what they could to try and get his appetite back and after almost a week at the vet, we brought him home for some rest and final cuddles. After two days at home, I took him back to the vet and it was my turn to stay with him until the end.
After that, I took a week off, mentally and emotionally. While I had a few things to do for clients that were urgent, most were able to be pushed back for a little bit and I took that time. It’s very hard to put on that creative problem-solving hat when the only things running through my mind were “This time last week, my cat was alive…”
So I rested.
Thank goodness so much had been decluttered. I’m grateful we had a reasonable amount of clothes to make laundry quick. What a relief I had spent the beginning of the year simplifying my schedule so that I had the ability to rest and sit with my thoughts.
I know what some may be thinking. It was a cat. While we love our pets, what’s the big deal with a cat? I get it. Logically speaking, I do get it, but this ended up being about so much more than a cat. His death cracked the foundation I had built my adult life on, and cracked a wall I didn’t realize I had even built over the last few years. I didn’t just feel his loss, I felt that of everyone that I had known, loved ones others had lost, every tragedy in the news and around the world.
Time to Rest
Simplicity gave me the chance to slow down. To do nothing and not feel guilt for doing nothing. Simplifying gave me the ability to rest when I needed it.
After he was gone, I began to realize how much this cat was a part of my life. There wasn’t anyone chirping and prancing to the sound of a can opening in the morning. There wasn’t anyone to greet us at the door every time we came home. I don’t have anyone pawing at me while I’m busy on the computer. I don’t hear his loud purrs around here. Or his high-pitched meowing when he feels like testing the acoustics in the corners. There was a very noticeable emptiness in the house where his huge presence used to be, that I didn’t realize he had until he was gone.
The heart of minimalism is being able to get past the stuff so that we can find and invest in the things that truly matter in life.
All of this is to say how grateful I am to minimalism and simplifying. I didn’t feel like I had to be doing something because an overwhelming to-do list told me so. There wasn’t a calendar full of obligations I couldn’t get out of. Part of the journey of minimalism is discovering one’s priorities and how much I’ve done was really shown during this trial.
After putting this minimalism journey on hold, I’m finally ready to start it again. At this point, work has been busy so it will be at a much slower progress than the beginning of the year, but the goal is to keep going. I still have a lot of work to do.
A lot has happened since March. Since then, my daughter finished kindergarten and is ready to begin first grade. We’ve had a chance to enjoy a few small trips and recharge. My daughter celebrated a year of hard work with a great dance recital and great marks on her report card. There’s been a lot of sunshine and coffee on the front porch, though next year I’m hoping a laptop will turn that into my summer office. Our straw bale garden is busy growing away and looking to be really good this year. We even adopted a kitten from the humane society. While he’s been the perfect fit for our family, he has some big shoes to fill.
Life doesn’t stand still. As much as we sometimes wish it would when we need time, those minutes will always tick by. We rest when we can, stumble at times, dust ourselves off, smile, and keep going. Here’s to moving forward!