I'm a natural doodler, list maker type with lot's of pieces of paper with every though that comes into my head, it would be funny if one day those thoughts float around as others try to piece it all together.
A few days ago I drew up a chart with what I needed to focus on in my life. In no particular order:
Continuing our family ancestry. We have asked a lot of our family for photos, I've scanned in all my Nana's and Mum's albums and my husband's scanned all of his. We've been on ancestry since the beginning of the year and we both have family trees traced back to the 1700's. It's prompted many conversations with family, and I love the idea of raising our children with an annual Family History Evening so they can learn about their past ancestors.
My marriage is also important to me. I grew up with my Mum and sister since the age of eight, and spent summers since the age of fourteen visiting my dad with my sister. I came to live close by to my dad for college just before I turned nineteen. I think I turned out better than many children raised in two parent families. When I met my husband, I thought my family was nuts, but his family was just as nuts and there were just a lot more of them!
And when things don't always go to plan you can always say "I'm sorry".
My husband and I have been in our new home in the Carolina's for about four months now, and when we moved here we knew nobody. We're taking the time to cultivate new friendships in our neighborhood, at church and with people we work with. We're naturally introverted, so it takes time for us to open up. Another way to build with friendships is to invite them to participate in your traditions.
A lot of our traditions include travel. Sometimes we're questioned how we can afford to travel so much. Our first reason is we have no vices. Our second is that we live on percentages, and it's by no means perfect, but it's a balanced way for us to spend and save for our future. We divide it up into 40% household, 20% Roth IRA and savings, 10% Holidays and donations, 10% Vehicles, 10% Food and eating out and lastly 10% Guilt free spending money (5% each).
Savings also helps us to fix up our home. We bought a short sale, and although at one time it was loved on, it needed an update. We've been in the midst now for four months and I'm sure it will take at least another year. We looked at real estate to see if we'd want to move again in five to ten years, but our home is paid off and putting it towards a future garage guest suite with two additional bedrooms, a sunroom and a kitchen pop out will give us an extra thousand square feet and a reason to stay and raise our family here.
I also like to find balance to spend time working on what I love. I wish my life were a mixture of Susan Branch and Ina Garten. I look up to them for their homemaking wisdom. I also work as an interior designer preserving old properties and on several personal projects like my project life binder, watercoloring and writing a memoir of sorts, maybe one day I'll be a mom, or have my own little shop, or teach more design classes or host tea parties for the elderly.
Last, but not least practicing happiness and health. With all my grandparents passed, and my dad passing away at only fifty-four I've realized life is short. I've come to terms with death, and even find peace in knowing that I will pass one day. If I'm blessed enough to live to a ripe old age, and to fulfill my wishes to have a large family, and to live by my motto...Live Gracefully. Laugh Joyfully. Love Gratefully, then I will be happy.
So, as I laugh along the way as I try find balance, I hope over time as we settle it will fall into place. Any if you are a master balancer, or always juggling, I'd love to hear what's important in you life.