Ok, now I got your attention. But really, is that how you feel? This simplicity movement is a load of bullsh*t? Calming the chaos. Being less busy. Minimalism is all a hype and a) you don’t believe in it and b) you’d never be able to put it into practice even if you did believe it?
Well it’s true. It is a load of crap and useless to read about, until that is, you’re ready and your life is calling out for it. I ran for over 10 years in advertising; onto planes, around Sydney as I raced to client meetings, back home, up the stairs at work, at lunch to grab something to eat, back home to see the boys before they went to bed. I was running, hustling, making it happen and I loved it. I never stopped and thought, I can’t do this anymore and I don’t love this. I woke most mornings and had a goal, had a never-ending list and loved achieving it, kicking goals and being at the top of my game.
Never did I think I would run faster, more, longer and harder than I did in those years however when I left the advertising agency to start Habitots, I did. This time the passion and joy for what I was doing was 10 fold and I felt even more invigorated and motivated to accomplish my dream. Then something happened in the week I opened my store. I found out I was pregnant with baby #3, that we’d been trying for for some time but had ‘shelved’ as it wasn’t happening despite our efforts. Forty weeks later, in June 2015, Charlie arrived to the storm and somehow, calmed it.
You’d expect a third baby to add to the chaos and have us hustling even more but what happened to me was the opposite. Of course, he was a newborn and had issues feeding so cried for hours every night for the first 8 weeks. And yet, what I felt in my mind and body was calm. It was almost 5 years since we’d had Oliver and for the first time, I sat down, didn’t leave the house in the middle of winter (winter in Australia!), Rob lit the fire in the morning and we just chilled. Habitots ticked along, not as well as it would if I was there every day, but it was ok and people were loving what I’d created. What I was loving more though, was what I’d created at home.
As I eased back into work after a few weeks, helped out in store again and slowly worked the pace back up to break-neck speed again, I longed to be back with my baby and boys at home. I’d had a baby-inflicted hiatus and it was just enough to make me question what we were doing. My business was young though and we’d invested a lot of money, so there was no turning back, at least not now.
And so I put the gears back into drive, put my head down and bum up and went. It was in the winter of 2016 when I started waking in the early mornings. I would wake at 4 or 4:30am and go through the list of things I had to do. I would fret and stress about the shop, staff, cashflow until the sun came up. Often I would get out of bed and go downstairs to get a headstart. This stress & anxiety made me short of breath, made me snap at my kids and husband, made me zip through each day without much notice, only to wake early again the next day before the break of dawn.
The conversations started about our pipedream of going to France and I knew it had to happen. My life was calling out for it, I wanted that calm back, I wanted to slow down, dictate my own pace, spend time with my kids, prioritise my family, travel, my passions. We knew it wouldn’t be easy but we also knew, there was something more out there. Not more things or possessions, but more life to live. Simplifying would give us more space for living and so it was time.
Now, after packing up everything we own and simplifying life, we are much happier. I know that a move to France or outside your city may not be your idea of a dream, but simplifying can be done much more easily. In prioritising what’s important in your life, you can free up time and time is the biggest gift simplifying gives you. When you find an hour or two a day to allocate to your priorities, whether they be your kids, your self, your family, your passions, it starts to fill those empty gaps with joy. You start to feel better about yourself, about those around you and start to find happiness in the smallest of things. The time you spend doing these things is also of a higher quality and you’re less focused on an outcome and more on the present. The stress in your life comes down to manageable levels because I’ll be honest, it never goes away completely. Once you’re hard-wired to stress, it’s a hard habit to break. I have to say though, my early morning wakings are no longer existent and I’m re-programming myself each and every day.
So as you can see, when you are ready for it, there are hundreds of reasons why simplifying is a good thing. Making more space for living has brought me more joy, fulfilment, purpose and personal growth than I have had in 15 years of a successful career. Do I still want to kick goals? Yes! Do I still have big dreams? Yes! The only major difference is I’m not willing to compromise me and my family’s life in the pursuit of those goals and dreams. I’m going to take them along with me, I’m going to remember these days, make these days the best. We’re going to find adventures together and I’m going to savour each and every one of them like they are the last.
I could talk and write forever about why you should do it with your own life, but the how-to isn’t always as easy. We all have different lives so no one manual on ‘how-to simplify’ will work for everyone. I’ve been working hard on a program however, to help break it down, and I want to help others do the same. I’ve seen what a difference it has made in my life and I want to share this with you so that you too can start to find more space to live and more joy in living. I’m starting to believe that one path and journey prepares you for the next. The mums, women and parents that came to Habitots or connected with us as a brand online, get what it means to spend quality time with kids, but sometimes aren’t putting that into practice very well. I’m thrilled to be building something to help and hope that many of you will come along for the journey to see where it can personally lead you.
I have an easy to follow, free challenge coming up in January, that will help you start the process. You can sign up for it here and be the first to kick start your 2019 with a different attitude and mission.
Want to read more about Suzanne or Habitots? You can read all about us here!