How's the weather with you? It's rain, rain and more rain here which is meaning lots of time at home (and a very soggy veg patch). I've been attempting to use the time wisely and get going with some decluttering because I have a serious hoarding problem!
Sorting through my office led me to rediscovering this red folder which will always hold a special place in my heart. It's just an old ring binder but it was one of my first steps to realising the life I wanted. Perhaps I should backtrack a little bit....
Around 2005, when Cameron had started school for the first time, I was lost. I had been made redundant from the job I had worked so hard to get, I was ill and suffering from anxiety to the point where I barely left the house (and when I did it felt like an expedition just to get to the corner shop), I was struggling with my sense of identity and feeling like there was nothing worth living for. I knew I wanted something more, something different but I didn't know what it was and I didn't hold a shred of belief that I could achieve it, even if I tried. I felt like a failure in every area of my life.
I would often sit and read magazines, escaping into the picture perfect world between the pages, and wish my life were something even close to resembling it and then I'd look around at my life and feel inferior. I decided to make a folder of the magazine clippings - things I'd like to achieve... one day.
It was around this time that I randomly joined Myspace and from there I discovered a community of American housewives, mostly young, newly married women making homes for the first time and sharing ideas and inspiration. These women were doing things like in the magazine articles everyday. If they can do it, I thought, then why can't I?
Something shifted in my brain and I picked a recipe from the folder that didn't look too challenging, bought the ingredients straight away (a big deal when you're almost agoraphobic!) and cooked something new for tea. I'll never forget it - it was butternut squash curry. As I sprinkled the freshly chopped coriander onto the bowls of curry that evening I was so proud of myself for trying something new, for achieving something that had seemed so out of reach.
From that day on I went into overdrive, trying, achieving, blogging about it on Myspace and participating in the groups, there. Martha Stewart's website was my best friend and in the year that followed I transformed our house into a home and - as the saying goes - the rest is history.
I suppose the folder worked for me in a similar way to the now-popular inspiration boards. It was about making intentions and then acting on them. If I committed to tearing the recipe/idea/photograph out of the magazine and putting it into the folder then that was the first step to making it come true.
Looking back through the folder this week was lovely because so many of the things have been tried and have even been incorporated into our traditions.
I looked from the folder to the huge stack of magazines that I deemed too inspirational to throw out and decided to go back to my folder system in the hope that those intentions will be realised, too. I'm finding it a lovely exercise on these rainy afternoons as I work through them a stack at a time. It's like retro-Pinterest!
Do you make inspiration boards/folders to help actualise your dreams?