Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

I have been doing my “half project” for just over a month now and I’m so glad I decided to take on this challenge! It has already helped me to pare down my wardrobe, become happier with my outfits, and better understand what I do and don’t wear and need. In today’s post, I’ll give you an update on how things have gone for me during the first month of the challenge and what I have learned thus far.

half project closet pare-down - June update

I would eventually like my closet to look more like this (except with a lot more black and striped pieces). 

What I’ve Noticed So Far

One of the first things I noticed was how much happier I felt with the size of my “active wardrobe,” which is just half of what I started out with before beginning my “half project.” Previously, my main closet felt overly crowded and it was difficult for me to see what I had and to select what to wear. My favorites were in there, but there were also a lot of less loved pieces occupying much of the space surrounding them. After making my challenge selections and relocating everything else elsewhere (to my “holding zone” and my “skinny box”), there was a lot more breathing room in my closet and I could better see what I have.

I found myself feeling confident that a wardrobe of that size – or even smaller – would be more than sufficient for me, provided that it consisted of the right pieces. Of course, that’s what my “half project” is all about: curating a smaller and more workable wardrobe. I’m glad that I gave myself a whole year to accomplish this goal, as it’s going to take some time to figure out what’s working, what isn’t, and what new pieces might fill in the gaps.

Continue reading

As we’re more than five months into 2019, I thought this would be a good time to update you on how I’m doing with my theme for the year. As you may remember, I selected “freedom” as my word/theme for 2019. I explained my reasons for this choice back in January, but I’d like to delve a bit deeper today and highlight some of the areas I’m planning to focus on for the remainder of the year.

I hope that shining a spotlight on my theme for the year will help you think about what you’d like to shift in your life before the year 2020 begins. It doesn’t matter if you’ve chosen a theme or specific goals for this year or not, as most of us have some sense of what we’d like to change in our lives. Also, it’s not too late to choose a theme or set a few intentions now, as there’s really nothing magical about January 1st in terms of goal-setting. We have the power and the possibility to change our lives at any time. June 4th – or any other day – is as good a time as any to think about what is and isn’t working for you in the various areas of your life.

2019 freedom theme june update

My theme for 2019 is “freedom” and it has already impacted my life more than I thought. 

Why “Freedom”?

I selected freedom as my word for 2019 because I noticed a distinct lack of feeling free in my life despite the reality of my situation. What’s true is that I have a lot more freedom than many in terms of my time, money, and advantages. But freedom doesn’t only have to do with objective reality; it’s also about how we feel inside and how we live our lives. It’s all too easy to place shackles on ourselves that aren’t really there through our self-imposed rules, restrictions, and expectations. If we think we’re supposed to do, be, act, or accomplish particular things, we may be less likely to embrace the freedom we are fortunate to have in our lives. This has definitely been the case for me.

Continue reading

When I introduced my “Half Project” last week, I was going to share information about what I did and didn’t include in the active half of my wardrobe. However, since the post was already on the longer side, I decided to do a “part two” this week on that topic. I will fill you in on why some items didn’t make the cut. I’ll also let you know what my active wardrobe selections, holding zone pieces, and purged items have in common and what I’ve learned from analyzing these categories. If you’re a fan of analysis and “navel gazing,” you’ll enjoy this post. I also hope you’ll be able to apply my lessons to your own wardrobes, especially if you’re joining me for the challenge or are working on downsizing your closet.

My closet may never look this amazing, but I hope to pare my wardrobe down by half this year. 

What I Passed On and Why

A lot of thought went into my active wardrobe selections and during the process of making my choices, I opted to pass a number of items on. Consequently, my total wardrobe is already considerably smaller, which means that the challenge is off to a good start! While I didn’t try every single item on, if I was unsure about the fit of a particular garment or how much I liked it, I put it on my body so that I could make an educated determination about its fate.

Let’s look first at some of the items I opted to purge from my closet.  Although I didn’t include shoes and purses in my “half project,” I still reviewed those categories when I was going through my wardrobe, as I want to get rid of as much excess as possible. After all, the less clutter and overwhelm, the more freedom I will experience when looking in my closet and getting dressed each day!

Continue reading

Years ago, I read an article that posed the following question, “If your house was on fire and you could only save half of your wardrobe, which items would you pick?”  Although the premise is somewhat morbid, the question is quite thought-provoking. Back when I was writing Recovering Shopaholic, I considered creating a challenge based upon this question, but I never quite got around to doing it. However, my mounting frustration with my burgeoning wardrobe brought this concept top of mind once again.

In today’s post, I introduce the start of what I’m terming the “Half Project.”  I explain why I decided to take it on, what I’m hoping to accomplish through this effort, and the rules that I will be following over the course of the challenge. The “Half Project” will last for one year and I will post periodic updates between now and its close on April 30, 2020.  As with my previous challenges, including Project 333 and LIWI, you’re welcome to join in – the more the merrier! I always love when others are doing the same challenge as I am, and I enjoy reading about what everyone is learning along the way.

less is more wardrobe

I’m doing the “Half Project” as part of my freedom theme for 2019. I want to do more with less! 

Why I Decided to Do the “Half Project”

Back in January, I shared that my theme for 2019 is “freedom.” There are many ways in which my life doesn’t feel free and I’m going to address as many of them as possible over the course of this year. It pains me to say that more than six years after I started writing about my struggles with my shopping and wardrobe, I continue to experience difficulties in these areas. In fact, I definitely have to admit that I have backslid since I stopped writing Recovering Shopaholic. While I’m not back to square one by any means in terms of how much I spend and own, my closet is too full and I’m feeling overwhelmed by my wardrobe.

Continue reading

I recently concluded a three-part series on essentials for happiness and peace (see HERE, HERE, and HERE), and I continue to give a lot of thought to practices that help us to experience more calm and fulfillment in our lives. In my last post, I included the following brief reader comment on the importance of novelty for her personal happiness:

“One thing that jumps out to me that I would add as a helpful practice/concept is novelty, which I view as seeing, trying, doing and thinking new things.”

The concept of novelty wasn’t something I considered when putting together my own list of helpful practices, but it has come into play for me at least twice in the past couple of weeks. In today’s post, I explain why novelty can help us to be happier while also mitigating the all too common phenomenon of time “speeding by” as we age. I will also share two novel experiences I’ve had this month, highlighted by some of my favorite photos taken to commemorate those times (you can see many of my previous photos HERE).

Why Does Time “Fly”?

As you look at your calendar, do you find yourself thinking, “I can’t believe it’s almost May! Where did the time go?” I know that I have had such thoughts many times, and the incidence of these sentiments has increased for me as I’ve gotten older. It often feels like my life is virtually racing by. This both scares me and gives me pause, but I never really understood why time seems to have sped up as I entered into my forties and fifties (I’ll be 53 in August). It wasn’t until I heard a podcast interview with time management expert Laura Vanderkam that I had any inkling as to what was going on.

It turns out that our experience of time going by faster has to do with a lack of novelty in our lives. Most people become very set in their ways as they age and they develop hard and fast routines that are followed on a daily basis. We tend to become comfortable with the way we live our lives and don’t often try new things or vary how we spend our time. Because of the way our brains work, this leads to the subjective feeling of time going by fast.

As Laura Vanderkam explains in the second chapter of her book, Off the Clock (which I’m currently reading and am finding fascinating…), as powerful as our brains are, it’s too unwieldy to catalog every single data point from our daily 16 to 18 waking hours. Consequently, the brain decides which information is useful to remember at a later date and it culls out all repetitive data. If we do the same thing every day, we won’t actually remember most of those days. For example, if we drive the same exact route each workday, those hundreds of trips will be “telescoped” into our memory as one single trip. If we do many types of repetitive activities each day or week, we’ll have a lot of telescoped memories, and this lack of distinct memories leads to the feeling that time is going by rapidly. We’re simply not remembering all that much of our days, weeks, months, and years due to this “sameness.”

Continue reading