willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs

How DO You Get it All Done?

2015 has commenced with a bang, greeted headlong with enthusiasm, new found energy and a chance to “do it all over again” mentality. Winter weather and the anticipation of possible “snow days” cause us to turn inwards and reflect on life, our goals, our aspirations and…our junk! Purging and de-cluttering strategies fill up my “To Do List, which really should be kept on a Rolodex file (remember those ?) so I can just keep flipping through them as I shuffle them to tomorrow, next week, month or year. Very little seems to get checked off in it’s entirety.
This list is about two years old and I did pretty well on this one!
In the hopes of not sounding like a braggart, women often ask me, “How do you do it all?” when they first find out that I have a large family, a little farm, a labor of love business and that everything looks “pretty.” I secretly cringe inside as my list of unaccomplished projects, plans and the likes, float in front of my eyes. Sometimes you might even see me blink a bit when asked that question… it kind of looks like a tic.
 I think of the stack of all occasion cards and unwrapped gifts that have both been written and purchased but have never been wrapped or sent. I take inventory in my head of the rooms and closets that need to be de-junked, of their games, artwork, old teaching materials, books, photos etc that I could never throw out. Should one of my children become Picasso what would I have to show of their “early” work. When I have grand kids, surely I will need those “Circle Time” books that I used with their parents? Having four boys, no clothes were EVER thrown out, they were passed down and kept in Rubbermaid containers until someone would grow into them. Umm…I do not think the out grown pants of my 23 year old will ever suffice for my now 13 year old who is at the end of the line. Add the de-cluttering to the list of projects that need to be done and…

What they don’t know won’t kill them, but it’s killing me. Why do so many of us as women, measure ourselves by what we accomplish? By how we keep our houses… By what we do with our kids or don’t do…By what App we can download to organize more easily or quickly so that we can DO MORE. Is it really simplifying our life or is it just creating more stuff that you have to keep up with, to renew, to upgrade…why are we always upgrading??? Isn’t the grade that we are operating at, “good enough”?

The bottom line is, I don’t do it all. I do a lot…but I do not do it all.  One trip into my office will attest to that.
My inspiration board still thinks it is Christmas.
 A trip into the kid’s old art room will blow your mind on cementing what I haven’t done.
 My unfinished photo albums, one for each kid, the knights and castles themed art work that still hangs on my thirteen year olds walls, the lack of a dresser in my 19 year olds room, the fact that I cannot load any more of those “simplifying” Apps onto my phone because I need to properly download and sort my thousands of photos onto my computer. The computer in which my i-photo keeps shutting down so I cannot access the photos I have already downloaded. That requires a trip to the Apple store…and so on and so on and so on. 

“I need to, I need to, I need to,” encircles my head like the smoke from Santa’s pipe…I am still thinking about Christmas people because I still “need to” de- Christmas my house. Yes, I am the person of which you speak of when you say, “I cannot believe that her tree is still up and it is almost February!” It’s not that I want to extend the Holiday season, love it though I do, it’s just that I seem to live life by putting out the fires first and the tree hasn’t caught fire…yet.
The tree has lost some of its girth and won’t the kids who are still left home after the college departures be happy to find out that they will be partaking in the defrocking of the tree this Saturday? They are going to love me for this tidbit of family togetherness!

I am divulging all of my “cluttered” secrets in the hopes that even though you see beautiful photos of pretty rooms, pretty stuff, pretty food and a pretty farm with pretty thoughts on my blog, Face book page and website…that is what is on the surface and we all know that we are so much more than what is on the surface. Don’t compare yourself to those surface images. Enjoy them, copy them, let them inspire you for I truly believe that the beauty of life, with all of its flaws, is inspiring. Wallow in those images on the pages you admire but again, do not compare yourself to them. That creates shame in the fact that you are not keeping it all together like the woman with the pretty pages… so you think. You are trying your best and so is she. 

You can let them elevate your style or your presentation in life to create beautiful spaces. That will lift your mood and your spirits.  I just had a very close friend tell me how she and her daughter put some deep thought into their Christmas Brunch table, which they had never done before. In the past, they had used what they had and never took the extra steps to make it really “pretty.”This year, using some things they got from the barn along with the china she already had she made it beautiful and felt great about it. It was a fun experience that she and her daughter shared for it was her daughter that spearheaded her into doing it. When I walk into my overcrowded art room I know how I feel…overwhelmed. That is an absolutely normal emotion to feel… so I just turn around and head to my computer to write a blog post. A blog post out of the many topics that I would love to write about. I have notes all over the house, scribbled onto little pieces of paper, so as to not loose the thoughts as they pop into my head. You should see the side of my bed! Why is it that thoughts come to me in the middle of the night? If I do not get up and grab them they are a forgotten memory in the morning.
On that note, I will have to wrap this one up and I leave you not with a solution on how to get everything done on your TO-Do list (for I have not figured that one out yet) but with a thought to go easy on yourself…you are doing your best! We all are! If we measured ourselves by what we have been able to cross off of our To- Do lists we would need some serious counseling.  Keep bringing your game to the party and do not let it beat you. You will master it and while mastering it, learn how to poke fun at yourself every now and then…it does a lot to lighten your load, for at least a minute or two.
Now to get back to the projects that I am avoiding of which I will show you the results of in a later blog post…a much later blog post.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Meg – I am one of the friends who always asks you if you somehow have more than the 24 hours the rest of us have been allotted for each day. You DO get a tremendous amount of things done…more than you give yourself credit for! And somehow you always look beautiful and calm doing it. I am guilty of often telling myself that I SHOULD be doing something else or something more, especially when I am taking a break from my ever growing list. I send myself texts and emails and make lists on my memo pad on my phone and on my desk and check them off throughout the day. Still I go to bed at night and say…I SHOULD have gotten more done today! Why do we torture ourselves? What we SHOULD be doing is giving ourselves more credit for all the things we DID accomplish rather than what we didn’t get to. So…on Tuesday, when a friend called in the late morning and said, “Hey, let’s go to the movies this afternoon”, I thought…SHOULD I? And the answer came back YES! Why not? The lists can wait. I am glad I listened because not only was the movie very thought provoking about what’s most important in life, but I learned that what was behind that movie invitation was a friend who needed some girlfriend time and to share some difficult news. I was exactly where I SHOULD have been that day. As busy, involved women we can certainly allow ourselves to take a well deserved break once in awhile and remember to enjoy the moment while giving ourselves a pat on the back for what we DO accomplish each day. xoxo PC

  2. Lifes Patina says:

    Thank you PC for your comment, it meant so very much! Being right where you needed to be because of ignoring your To- Do List and listening to your heart…no random act there! You are correct! We need to pat ourselves on our backs much more often than we do. I am patting yours!! See you soon! xoxo Meg

  3. Stacey says:

    Meg. Love you. And this is a new motto that I follow in the hopes that doing EVERYTHING happens one-by-one.


    My “one thing” for 2015: Get more sleep. Hoping for a domino effect. xo

  4. Cathy Manning says:

    Meg (Midge, the name from long ago) you truly are a unique person and one of many, many talents. xoxo Aunt Cathy

  5. just g says:

    Just want to thank you for being brave enough to put yourself out there in this blogpost.
    I have my organized spaces in my home but I also have my doors I hope no one ever opens….I guess we all do.
    It’s nice to have that confirmation.

  6. Lifes Patina says:

    Ladies, thanks so very much for leaving comments! It is heartwarming to know that my post was received and struck a chord. I thank your for taking the time to figure out how to leave a comment and let me know you read it! Means a lot! xo Meg