Unconventional ‘Spring Cleaning’

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Spring is in full force – the sun is peaking through the clouds, pollen is flying through the air and traditional spring cleaning has begun. For me this year, the season of spring is also bringing a desire to participate in an unconventional twist to spring cleaning, de-cluttering all aspects of my life and bring with it a renewed focus.

I recently overheard a woman talking about her two-year-old son and his experience during Christmas this past year. She was sharing how, when married to her former husband, her then mother-in-law would “go crazy” during the holiday season and purchase nearly everything in the store. As a result, her ex-husband cringed each year as the seemingly jolly season would approach. His childhood experience, filled with an overabundance of tangible items left him feeling a void in more ways than one. This Grinch-like attitude was following him into adulthood and leaving a similar impression on his toddler, who, by instruction, was not allowed more than one toy for Christmas.

In a separate visit, I listened in as two men began talking about their upcoming mother’s birthday. She was turning 90 years old. One of the men shared his wife’s stress about what to purchase as a gift, saying “she probably already has everything.” After a short recollection of the previous year, the brothers decided they would purchase a generator for their mother, as she had lost power five times in the past year.

In both of these conversations, it seems, there was more emphasis placed on the actual gift rather than the act of giving, causing unnecessary stress and frustration.

After hearing these stories, I began a self-reflection and audit of my own life’s “stuff” — tangible and intangible. At a time when many are cleaning closets and making room for more purchases, I am joining the crowd. But, this year, rather than adding clothes or shoes, I am hoping  to de-clutter life by making small, subtle changes to my every day routine. A few examples include:

  • Walking with my dogs in the evening instead of Facebook scrolling;
  • Sitting outside in the sun with a magazine instead of inside on the couch;
  • Hosting impromptu get-together’s with new friends rather than wishing I had elaborate dinner plans;
  • Sending already read books to a good friend a few states away in exchange for her already read pieces of work;
  • And, most importantly, making time for long conversations with my good friends and family who matter most.

So far, the plan is moving along nicely, and I am feeling less “cluttered”. One day at a time.

What about you? Are you spring cleaning this year – traditionally or unconventionally? And if not yet, don’t worry, there’s still time.

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Enjoy your morning coffee

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Endlessly Restless

Whether you’re on holiday and relaxing over your morning coffee, or working (as I am!) and getting your regular fix, here are some interesting facts about coffee (courtesy of The Daily Muse).  Enjoy!

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10 Awesome Things – Coffee Shop Edition

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You might have heard the old cliché “stop and smell the roses”.

No?

How about “appreciate the small things in life”? Or, “enjoy every day as if it’s your last”?

They’re all sharing the same message: live a fulfilled life – every day, appreciating every moment.

I recently learned of 1000 Awesome Things, a daily blog pointing out the common joys in life we all share. Among them: getting grass stains, fat baseball players, illegal naps, sleeping in new bed sheets, snow days, high fiving babies.
After reading, smiling and relating to the list I began to wonder: what makes these moments so awesome? How is it we can all be in different stages of life, work in various professions, live in different parts of the world, and yet still have these common threads of enjoyment?

This led me to research and find out more about the 1000 Awesome Things project – how it got started, who was behind it and the impact it’s had. As it turns out, Neil Pasricha started the personal blog in 2008 after experiencing a number of unfortunate life events in a short period of time, amid an economic downturn. The blog was created in an effort to help him consciously recognize and appreciate the small joys in life rather than focusing on the negative.

Fast forward to 2012 and the blog now has over 43 million views, inspired a TED Talk presentation and resulted in the publication of three bestselling books.

As I learned more about this project and its origin, I began to think about how coffee shops follow a similar theme, gathering individuals from all walks of life and various backgrounds to enjoy a simple, yet satisfying treat – coffee. So, I decided to make my own list and share what makes this meeting place so awesome.

1. Abnormally loud laughs – this happens when the coffee grinder stops suddenly and the rest of the customers are greeted with a chuckle from the back corner of the building
2. A barista who knows your name and, sometimes, even your drink order
3. Coffee shop friends – others who frequent the same places at the same time you do, creating a friendship by default
4. A decaffeinated customer – usually found slouched in a leather chair, head back, mouth wide open and enjoying a few minutes of shut eye
5. Stocky men ordering skinny lattes
6. The only seat left near an outlet
7. Coffee served in mugs
8. Chalkboard menus
9. Display cases
10. Free Wi-fi

Awesome.

Twitter Tuesday: Coffee Shop Conversations

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Here’s what coffee shop go-ers are saying on Twitter these days… enjoy!