It's only the second day of school, and I can already feel the chaos that comes along with the last few months of the year creeping in. I can smell the pumpkin spice and see my calendar filling up with field trips and meetings and holiday parties. My mind is racing with questions like whether I filled out that form or when I should sign up to volunteer and what to make for dinner, or the bake sale, or the hundredth day of school celebration. I can see it on other people's faces too; and I hear it in their voices when we talk about going "back to school" and stepping into "a busier season."
Oh summer, where art thou????
In summer, whether in reality or perception, things seem to slow down. We stay up later. We go on vacation. We linger over dinner al fresco. Then we reach the end of August; and whether you have school age kids or not--but especially if you do have children--something shifts. Something in us becomes busier, more schedule oriented and, honestly, more stressed out as we approach the end of the calendar year.
But what if it didn't have to be this way? What if the start of school simply meant a different schedule, not necessarily a more hectic one? What if the dawn of fall and the end of the calendar year meant having a few more months to do the things we love and more reasons to spend time with our loved ones?
At the start of summer, I set three goals:
1.) Slow down
2.) Spend time with people I love
3.) Love others well
I loved how those three things centered my focus and my days these past three months, so much so that I intend to keep them as guidelines for my life for the rest of the year. And I've devised a plan to keep myself accountable those goals and help all of you live a less chaotic life for the remainder of 2018...or at least the month of September.
I'm calling it the "Simplify September" project (#simplifySeptember for those of you who want to follow along on Instagram). Starting September 1st, I'll be doing the following:
- Posting weekly challenges that help you simplify your time, possessions, relationships and mind
- Sharing a calendar of 30 things (one for each day) that you can do to live more intentionally
- Creating a This is Thirty Four Facebook Group where you can go to find encouragement and chat with others about how you're focusing on calm over chaos in September and for the rest of 2018
If you're like me, however, you hear about a challenge like Simplify September, and you want to GET STARTED RIGHT NOW. Good news! You can...on Monday!
Part of Simplify September will be creating a capsule wardrobe for the month. If there's one thing my Year Without Clothes has taught me, it's that when we simplify our wardrobes--and the amount of time we spend thinking about our wardrobes--it frees us up to do SO MANY OTHER THINGS. Since capsule wardrobes actually take a bit of pre-planning, I'm created a post for Monday, August 20th that explains what pieces I'm putting in my Simplify September Capsule Wardrobe, why I chose them and where you can find those items if you want to create a similar capsule wardrobe.
I hope you'll join me in the Simplify September Project--not because I want more blog traffic or Instagram followers or Facebook friends, but because I truly believe that life is too short to be lived in a constant state of chaos. Let's take back our time, stress less about things that don't matter and create more space for the things that do. Let's Simplify September together.