Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Have You Ever Just…

…wanted to scream, laugh, cry, shake, dance, yell, applaud, thank and shout all in the exact same moment?

Well if you have then you’ve got a teeny clue about what the inside of my brain has looked like for the past couple months. I used to come over here and use this space to rant as my personal form of therapy when I felt like my head might just pop off at any second.

But since this summer started my ADD and overwhelmed, overflowing, over capacity mind has been in full-steam overdrive and I couldn’t seem to reign it in enough to even rant.

Every last word of that song just segues so perfectly into the entire point of all of this stupid bullshit that I couldn’t figure out how to stop from taking over my life. But then it all took over anyway.

This past weekend Matt, my mom & I went to see Jason Mraz perform live here in Phoenix. It was the first time I’d seen him take the stage in over four years and I was looking so forward to the show that I could hardly contain my excitement.

As I predicted, the show was amazing. I soaked in all the positivity he spewed from the stage. I let the whole vibe just wash over me like a big fuzzy blanket of awesome and I felt so great.

Then something really weird happened.

The next day we were invited to go and enjoy an afternoon with some great friends. Nothing fancy. No pressure. Just some pool time, wine, fun in the sun. And I couldn’t get my ass off the couch.

All of the blackness that had been bubbling for so long came flooding up through that blanket of awesome, coated it in sludge, and pulled me into its depths of suckage.

Quicksand inside my head that folds my good thoughts into suck-tion and no matter what I do to try to swim out, I just can’t break free.

I was in such a terrible place in my head that I couldn’t imagine spending one second with anyone. I felt insanely vulnerable. Overly self-conscious. But I know it was for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Seriously, no reason. I look fine. I don’t have any weird health stuff going on right now (thankfully). I just couldn’t wrap my head around anyone being around me. I disconnected. I was sitting here on my sofa with my mom and Matt but I was so far away from present I wondered if I would ever get back.

My mind was racing at a billion miles a second with way too many horrible things. Stuff that doesn’t matter for shit in the grand scheme of life. But stuff that makes me feel like I’m balancing precariously on the edge of that proverbial razor blade.

But I know it’s just me. Sometimes it happens and I have no choice other than to sink into it and let it happen.

I hate it though, especially when it stops me from having a good time, but I realized this morning that I can’t feel bad about it. Because when it happens I always come out the other side of it understanding more about who I actually am. I have a greater sense of what I want, what I need in my life. And also what I don’t.

A big house. A cool car. Half an acre of underutilized land. Makeup in every shade under the rainbow. Area rugs for every room. 6 colors of the same pair of jeans.


So much fucking stuff.

I should really follow around one of these urban legends I’ve heard about and find out how they do it. You know the people – they only work 25 hours a week, make over $100,000 a year, have a spotless fresh smelling home, totally weed-free front yards at all times, homemade organic non-GMO meals on the table every night, and bath towels that don’t smell because there hasn’t been a moment to wash them in 3 weeks.

Yeah, I know they don’t really exist, but in this world of “everything in my life is fucking great!” internet perfection it’s easy to be convinced that they do.

And it’s just too much for me to deal with anymore.

I’m weeding down.

Starting today I’m fleshing out all the things I don’t need in my life. I don’t need a Pinterest account. I don’t need a twitter account for my old company. I don’t need email addresses of people I never communicate with. I don’t need tax files from 1999.

And I don’t need a house or yard this big.

Another thing we did over this past weekend was watch the short documentary movie Tiny: A StoryAbout Living Small and it finally hit me:

Matt and I are killing ourselves just to keep up with some perceived notion of what we should have and how we should live. And for what? So I have a place to store books I haven’t read since I was 10 years old just so I can say I have them?

I started thinking about Jason being on tour. Sure, he’s got a home base where he can house all the things that mean something sentimental or otherwise, but for months at a time he lives out of a bus, or a suitcase even, but he’s enjoying the things that matter and not needing to be surrounded by copious crap all the time just to feel fulfilled.

At least I think that’s the case. I don’t know the guy or anything but based on his own statements I believe that all to be true.

And I believe it to be the most inspiring thing I’ve ever heard.

Because, why should Matt have to work 50 hours a week, me at least 45, just to make the money to pay for all of this stuff we don’t really need? It’s a pitiful existence and causes stupid shit like this to spew out of my fingers but it doesn’t actually do anything for either of us.

All it seems to do is make me feel like crap because I have too much crap. An avalanche of stuff that doesn’t help me feel any happier.

The time has come to sit down together and figure out how to release all the things that don’t matter so we can embrace more of the stuff that does.

Laughter. Hugs. Family. Friends. Passion for my career. Music. Travel. Love.

Maybe if I do that I’ll be able to make it to the next pool party my friends invite me to. Because instead of feeling chaotic, like I’m nailed to the floor but could tornado across the world at any second, I’ll have a fighting chance for a calmer mind. 

It's time to fight for focus.

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alan edwards said...


I really identify with this post.

During the recent great depression we had to modify our spending as most folks did. We really gave up nothing that mattered to us - we have family and friends, a place to live and etc. In other words, hard economic times taught us that accumulating junk we did not want or need is nuts.

With a recovered economy, we both (freelancers in different fields) work fewer hours, still manage to save and want for nothing - we only want stuff that is important to us, not stuff that is important to others.

#1Nana said...

It's interesting to me that once the spouse and I retired on a somewhat reduced income, we no longer felt the need for stuff. We just enjoy what we have. Because we now have the gift of time, we eat at home more, putter around the house more, and enjoy a low stress life.

Launna said...

I have missed you Jenn... it's like you write what I feel all the time.

I am moving next year and no matter what I am not taking unnecessary items. I have weeded out some, I will be selling lots and giving away more. The older I get the less I want stuff... the more I want connections.

You are right, stuff gets in the way of that.

Yay for your rant, I always learn something :)

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

That's exactly what we're after Alan. Back in 2007 we went through some really, really tough financial times and I think our mentality swung in an opposite direction to compensate. It's definitely time to bring back the balance.

Time is the best possible commodity Jann, that's where all this spawned from in a manner of speaking. We'd rather have time to do things we love than have nothing left because we're so tired all the time from working ourselves to death for crap that we don't need.

Aw thanks Launna! Good for you on paring down your stuff before the move. I swear that's why I move so often - so I accumulate less :-) Where are you off to?

Joan said...

Hi Jenn. Yes I have :-), and yes for the documentary. I watched another one along the same line, but can't remember the name. I'll look it up and send it to you.

Rosebud Collection said...

You know Jenn, as a man from India told my husband years ago.."possession is possession .You own nothing, it owns you.." happiness is from within..the secret to this life is " peace within yourself." Notice how you get something new and in a few days, the newness wears off..then on to the next thing..
Thinking of you..xoxoCarolyn/Rosebud

Karen Goltz said...

OK, so I'm a week behind on all my blogs, but I wanted to comment on this even though it's a bit late.

I SO GET IT!!! Tom and I are in the process of going through all the things we've dragged across the country and back because we 'might need it someday.' It's a lot of crap, and I'm tired of being owned by my possessions. And whenever I do a time log to see how I'm spending my most precious resource, I feel guilty if I'm not doing 'work' things at least 60 hours per week. I know that other moms have to work a paid full-time job on top of family and household management, so I feel I should at least match those full-time jobs with the time I put into homeschooling, managing Tom's company, writing, and trying to pretend I'm Donna Reed and Martha Stewart all rolled into one. But why? Why should I if it's not necessary for my economic survival?

I hope and Matt are able to figure out what's really important to you and just focus on those things. The other crap just isn't worth it.

Glad to see you back!

Rob-bear said...

We moved from a medium-sized house, to an apartment, to a big house. (Don't ask why.) But as Karen observed, I do get tired of being owned by my possessions. I keep trying to get rid of stuff. I also keep adding stuff.

Meantime, I keep living (and struggling with) my chronic depression. Sometimes "the Black Dog" is very big, indeed. Huge. Enormous!

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Barbara Westberg said...

We still love you. My anxiety about having people over to my dog and dust filled home temporarily waxed at the sme moment that your anxiety waned. We will figure our shot out and you'll come over one day. Or we won't. But we will always be friends. <3