It’s okay to be done

No one should expect to keep the exact same tastes their entire life. Times change, people grow and get exposed to new ideas and cultures and sub-cultures. Change is actually pretty fun when you roll with it.

Take a look at the things you've had in front of you so long you've stopped seeing them. Do they still match who you are?

Is the artwork on your walls – when you look at it with fresh eyes – still what you want to see every day? How about that stuff on the front of your fridge and next to the phoone? And those knick-knacks there on the shelf?

If it isn't you anymore, send it on to a new home.

If you aren't quite sure you're ready for that, set it aside for a while. (More about that tomorrow).

Let go of nationalism and anti-nationalism, they’re both highly flawed

Here's a really excellent essay by the smart friend of a friend about recognizing your perceptions and misconceptions and biases. It's called Hating America and it's one of those things that reinforces my long-held idea that travel outside your native country should be mandatory. It's also kicked me in my mental ass and reminded me that travel inside my native country and losing some snobbery should also be mandatory.

Paper Purge

Grab a paper sack and see how fast you can fill it up with recycling.

Old newspapers, magazines, junk mail that didn't get properly processed when you carried it in, out-of-date coupons, sure, knock out the easy stuff.

But flex some real muscle and effect some real change in your file drawers by also purging user manuals for devices you no longer own, utility bills from 1998, and similar dead documents. (Don't forget to shred papers with personal information on them).

Get online and switch one bill over to electronic billing or pick up the phone and cancel one of those magazines or catalogs that helped fill your bag.

Now carry that bag out and put it in the bin. Hooray!

Do Your Worst Wednesday

We're now in the downhill side of the year and it's time to lean hard on those things you most want to have gone from your to-do list and least want to do.

What's the chore or project you just keep putting off? What stays on the list but always gets passed over in favor of a less icky item?

Today spend 30 minutes during the day (probably on something for work) chipping away at the worst of those tasks. Just 30 minutes. You can do it!

Tonight spend 20 minutes on your least liked housecleaning activity. Set a kitchen timer and work on it good and hard for a solid 20 minutes and then you're free.

Heal Thyself

If you do not have 3.5 hours free tonight, find the next day or night when you do and mark it off for yourself. If that's more than a week out, maybe it's time to cancel something, mm? Parents may wish to make a deal in which one gets tonight off and the other gets a night next week; send your partner away with the kids to pizza & the movies or minature golf or something similarly time consuming.

First, take 20 minutes to clear the clutter out of the bathroom and the bedroom and any sight path between them so they're nice places to be.

Wash your hands.

Put on some very relaxing music.

Change out of your clothes into a robe.

Pour a nice big glass of water.

Drink the water while you locate a few books or magazines you've been thinking about reading. Get sucked into something for a chapter or an article.

Finish the water and pour a second glass.

Make a little treat for yourself to indulge in a little later. Perhaps a cheese plate or some bread & chocolate or a glass of sherry and seasoned nuts. Put it next to the bed.

Make sure the lighting and air circulation are pleasant & soothing.

Stretch.

Bath lovers, it's time for a really good soak; break out the bubbles or scented oils if you like. Shower fans, have a long one with some nice scrubby exfoliating soap or some similar treat.

When you come out all fresh and nice, retire to the bed to enjoy your treat and get lost in a book.

The rest of the world will do just fine without you for a while…