Life Laundry

Julie Lawford Aug 18I’ve been having a bit of a sort-out and a clear-out lately; physical, emotional, psychological – and digital too. It’s come about through a combination of reasons. Dealing with the clear-out of my mother’s life, possessions and paperwork over the last 18 months has shown me, quite brutally, that just like her, I’ve been holding on to much more stuff (of every kind) than I should be.  It’s made me question what I’ve been keeping, and why, and look afresh at everything, challenging it to show me its value or its beauty.  Gallbladder problems over the last several months have made me feel, well… vulnerable… in a way I haven’t felt for a very long time. With this (hopefully) behind me, the need to reassert control over my life and environment has been compelling.  And for the first time in several years, some old stress symptoms were making a most unwelcome return.  Last time they’d proved difficult to shift and I didn’t want to make the same mistake again – ignoring the early warning signs, failing to deal with the stressors.

Time to think

Over the summer I had a lot of time to think, as I spent a few weeks doing little else whilst my insides settled down and my physical scars mended. This pause for reflection  helped me decide to use the remaining months of 2018 to consolidate, reassess and, personally speaking, regroup.

So as soon as I felt my energy levels pick up again, I got on to it.

Out with the old

I’ve been ruthless with the stuff that needed to go. I’ve been back and forth to my local tip with general and recyclable waste, garage, attic and cupboard clearance. I’ve been shredding… and shredding… and shredding more.  Old financial paperwork and old client work formed the bulk, but my philosophy has always been ‘if in doubt, don’t bin it, shred it’.  My local council very kindly told me it was ok to break the rules just this once  and put six bags of shredding out for the recycle collection in one go. My alternative was living with the six bags blocking my kitchen door, whilst I carefully filtered it out a little each week for, oh, I don’t know how many weeks, but certainly until long after Christmas. I’ve been clearing out my wardrobe and bagged-up stock of old clothes too, so local charity shops and Ebay have benefitted. Horror of horrors, I’ve even been thinning out my bookshelves.

I’ve dusted top shelves, reorganised cupboards, glued and sewed loose bits of stuff, consolidated a giant bag of travel-size toiletries and sprayed some noxious pink treatment all over my lichen-stained patio and decking. (I’m not at all convinced it will deliver the results the marketing blurb promises, but time will tell.)

Emotionally and psychologically speaking, I’ve been tackling issues which have lingered in my life for longer than they should have done. In one instance this involved a difficult conversation, but once the talk was talked, the weight that lifted was palpable. Another, a resignation from a thankless voluntary position I’ve been holding because nobody else wanted to do it. After too many years, I’ve decided it’s someone else’s turn, and that’s that. I’m giving plenty of notice, but I’m not intending to make succession planning my problem.

Other changes are taking place, enthralling and unexpected. In recent months one or two friendships have reappeared, repaired or strengthened in ways I could never have anticipated, whilst I’m consciously letting other less enriching connections fall away.

To the administratively mundane… There was the bundle of more onerous desk-based jobs which have clung to my task list for far too long. You know the kind of jobs I mean; the ones which you stare at on your list every day, knowing they’re on there because they need to be done; but you can’t face actually doing them because they’re too complex, or boring, or tricky, so you move on to do something easier instead. Three down, two more to go, and already I feel so  much more in control.

Digitally speaking, I’ve been busy on the keyboard too. I’ve reorganised my data files, culled my contacts list, sliced away at my slew of email folders, sent thousands of pointless photographs to the trash-can and checked my back-ups are working. Phew!

Somehow, I’ve made the time to have major electrical works done at my house too, the list of little things that needed doing having finally grown so large that it involved three precious weeks of my electrician’s time.  Next stop – finding a painter for the top-to-toe domestic redecorating project – and I’m on it!

To blog, or not to blog

One last thing though, and it concerns you, my lovely readers. I’ve made a decision about my blog. You won’t have seen that much from me lately – and that’s because I’ve let myself off the hook, freeing myself from the self-imposed burden of posting regularly.

The decision I’ve now made, is to stop blogging altogether.

I opened this blog to build an audience for my writing. Initially I wrote about the experience of writing, then of trying to get an agent, then of self-publishing. When I ran out of steam on that front, I began blogging about weight-loss and healthy lifestyle, and lately my blog has ranged all over the place – no core topic, no strong stand, no clear message… and perhaps (though I may be being very self-critical here) not much point at all. So I’ve decided, for now at least, to call it a day.

I didn’t want to disappear without a trace, leaving those who care wondering whether something ghastly has happened to me.  So this post will stay up for a while, perhaps a month, before I take down the whole blog and leave a holding page. Not sure if I’ll be back or not, but I think, probably, not.

I love writing, you see. But I don’t make enough time for it. And when you have a blog, and you find yourself with a couple of hours to write, the obvious thing to do is to write something for the blog. Net result – no actual writing of actual fiction, no developing of Novel Number Two, happens. And that’s another thing that I want to change in this great Life Laundry period.

The process of clearing out the old, makes room for the new. And that’s what I’m hoping – intending – will happen. That in reasserting control, clearing down some of the clutter of my life, I can make time for the things I want to do more of. One of those is to focus more consistently on my health and fitness, and another is to write fiction, properly, again.

So – and I hope you will forgive me – this is me, signing off. For now, or for good, I’m not sure. But I really, really am so very grateful to those people who have actually read (and hopefully enjoyed) my posts over the months and years. Thank you for reading, for making yourself known, for commenting, for interacting – it really has been a pleasure.


25 thoughts on “Life Laundry

  1. A lot of what you say resonates with me – and I totally respect your decision because I completely understand it.

    There’s a lot of baggage in my own life and it’s begun to physically and mentally pile up lately. Unburdened I’m sure you’ll feel metaphorically and physically lighter. Keep going Jools!

    Here’s to the next adventure! So long and thanks for all the fish 🤗

    1. Thanks, Davey – I had a feeling you’d understand. A whole lot of what you’ve been writing lately has resonated with me too. I’ll still be around, following the blogs I enjoy (ahem… yours!). I just don’t plan to post myself any more – at least for now, and probably for good. Thank you so much for your comment – and for understanding where I’m coming from. 🙂 x

      1. Huge hugs 🤗

        Maybe now would be a good time to have a real rather than virtual coffee? ☕️

        You know how to reach me if you fancy one 🤗

        Here’s to continued life improvement 👍🏽

  2. Ah Jools, well done on the positivity involved in these larger decisions. I hope you pop up here and there and if you find yourself in London fancying a coffee, as Davey said id love yo catch up. Take lots of care. Geoff

  3. I have found over the years that there i very little that I miss when it’s gone. When we were getting ready to move to Thailand many years ago I asked my kids to come home and take everything that Mom didn’t want, which was most of my stuff, and take it to Good Will or the junkyard. There are a few things I miss but I can’t really remember what they are. Close you eyes and throw it out. Good luck

    1. That’s great advice, Dannie – thank you 😊. I always thought I was quite good at clearing-out, until I started to look at it in a whole different way, ‘after mum’. Also that psychological and emotional clear-out is an extra and much-needed layer, in life, every now and again. But when it comes to blogging, I will miss the people who connected over such a long while through commenting, as you have always done. 😊

    1. Thank you! And you’re right about the nature of blogging. I’m just taking a good look at almost everything in my life, to prioritise what’s most important. Of course, that changes over time too.

  4. I can not remember who said, if you keep doing the same, you tend to stay the same. So congratulations on the positive life laundry and subsequent life evolvement. I will miss your blog for the Words of Wisdom and beautifully described observations of life’s up and downs, but if it means a second book to enjoy, then we all have something to look forward to. Hope we can still stay in touch my virtual friend. Love, light and peace. Brian

  5. I’m so sorry to hear about the struggles you’ve been going through, Jools, but glad to read the positivity in this post. I agree with everyone else that it’ll be sad to not see you blogging anymore, but the most positive thing about saying that is that you’re obviously on a path that you feel is best for you. And how many times have I told people to look after themselves? You’re certainly on the right journey, and it’s good to know.
    I wish you continued success with your writing, but won’t say goodbye, but ta-ta for now.
    Take care.

    1. Thanks so much, Hugh. It’s certainly been a disrupted few months, but it’s given me much ‘pause for thought’ – and out of that has come some worthwhile decisions and actions. I can warmly recommend the process, and the self-care, but I am sorry I won’t be blogging any more. It has brought me a great deal of pleasure and it’s only now that other priorities are emerging that I am pulling away. I really appreciate your comment and good wishes – thank you. 🙂

  6. Lovely Jools, all that you say reasonates. I understand and have lately discovered myself in the same position. It has been a joy to connect with you on here and I’m wrapping you in love for your new adventures. Hugs and much 💗 and thank you for all you have shared. Xx 💗

    1. Thank you, Jane! I think we all need to take a step back every now and again, from all the things we do, well, because we just DO them. Some things have a place in our lives for ever, and other things may have a place for a while. We can’t make room for new things unless we clear-down the things which no longer fit. Thank you for understanding, and I’m so glad you have enjoyed my blog, as much as I have loved your active and positive contributions.x

    1. Thanks so much for all your support and positive endorsement of Singled Out, Marcus. I really appreciate it. All the very best with your future writing projects. As you know, I thought The Bomb Makers was a brilliant read!

  7. Ahh. You can tell I’ve been lost in my own world and issues that I didn’t find this until now. I’m sad to see you go, but glad you are making healthy choices!

    All of the decisions we make in life should be to build the very best version of ourselves. I hope you find all the tools you need, even if letting go of blogging means we lose your insights and thoughtful contributions.

    Be well and be kind to yourself! Perhaps the world will respect and reward you!

    1. Thank you so much for these lovely words. 😀 I totally get how life overwhelms and from what you share on your blog, you do seem to have been in the thick of it. I suspect (with the need to keep certain things back from the world at large) that your challenges have been multiple and probably intense. You have all my good wishes and hopes for a less stressful future. I’ll still be around at the reading end of the blogosphere, just not the writing end – at least for now. x

  8. It’s a sad state of affairs that I managed not to realize “Elvis” had left the building. I always enjoy your pieces, probably because I have a similar self-reflection going on in mine. But, I understand wanting to clear out the debris that is holding you back and rededicating yourself to your writing. I wish you all the best and more. Keep finding your center and working your way out to finding the rest of you as you go.

    1. Hi Kiri… well, it’s fair to say you have had quite a bit on your plate lately. I hope most deeply that all is going well for you and your health issue most particularly. I always enjoy reading your blog – you have such an engaging and wry style, and such an amazing way of interpreting your world. As for me, yes, I’m ‘retiring’ from blogging, for various reasons, but I will still be lurking around your blog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s