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My New Mantra

by Joe Donlon

Bio | Email | Follow: @pdxpeacock

Posted on November 28, 2007 at 3:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:33 PM

Okay, we're in the middle of the holiday hustle and bustle. So much to do, and so little time to do it.

So, I've recently decided to make a change - and I thought I'd pass it along. It's one little word, but the mere mention alone, will make you feel better. SIMPLIFY. Go ahead, say it out loud - and you'll see what I mean.

This epiphany came to me recently, as I was cleaning out my fish tank. I enjoyed it a great deal, and the kids did, too. But the 'hassle-to-enjoyment' ratio was quickly going in the wrong direction, so I decided to SIMPLIFY. I miss the tank, but I don't miss the stress and workload it added to my daily life.

Time to put the lights up on the house? SIMPLIFY. If the process involves more than one ladder, and a precarious perch more than ten feet in the air -- calmly walk back down the ladder and take another look at what you're doing. Will the house REALLY look that bad, without lights on the dormer? Will anyone notice?

I did this - last weekend, and I can't tell you how much better I feel. Instead of clipping lights around the perimeter of the house, my wife suggested I just light up the two trees in front - and hang a lighted wreath on the window over the front door. Done. And I can't imagine anyone is going to say anything about the 'new' look this year.

Whether you're shopping for gifts, or cooking all the food for a big meal -- think about that one word. Simplify. Would it really be that bad - if you bought a ready made pie, instead of stressing over your recipe -- on top of all the other things you have to do? Maybe that's a 'guy' thing, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't notice. And even if I did, I can tell you with 100% certainty - it wouldn't stop me from eating the pie. :-)

The home I grew up in, was tiny. I took our kids by that house the last time we were in St. Louis, and I couldn't believe it. I almost drove right past the street, because from what I remembered - it seemed like a mile from the main drag. The grassy area in the middle of the 'circle' we lived on -- seemed like ACRES to me as a kid. As we drove down the street on our recent trip, I felt like I could jump from one side to the other. We didn't have much -- but I didn't realize that - until I was an adult. At the time, I thought we had it all. And I think there was one big reason for that. Life was simple.

Perhaps I'm just getting a jump on my New Year's resolution. But I can tell you, I will be carrying that word with me -- into 2008. Simplify.

That's my Dr. Phil moment for the day. Here's hoping it helps you enjoy the things that are REALLY important -- and not just during the holiday season.

Joe Donlon