Mid-Month Musings

With the first step of our multi-step move plan underway, it’s been a hectic couple of weeks.  So this post is just a sampling of things I’ve been musing on this month.


An article I read on hobbies reminded me it’s probably time to do a “where is your time spent” reality check versus my value-based retirement life vision statement. I’ve wanted to establish a creative habit and the article was inspirational in that sense. A few of my take-away points:

  • It recommended looking at time not daily, but weekly. There are 168 hours in a week. How many hours am I spending sleeping (targeting the 8 hours per night I know my body does need!), exercising (OTF, yoga, walking), doing personal care, journaling, reading, blogging, chores (paying bills, cleaning, etc.). Last time I checked where my time was really spent, I was surprised how much time I was “wasting” in mindless social media and it spurred me to reduce it.   I am sure I can find 4-5 hours for a “creative pursuit” hobby!
  • Hobby time is not about over scheduling. The article encourages one to keep scheduling hobby-time loose and not make it feel like “work”.  Hobbies are different than interests also. Interests are areas to learn about. But, hobbies require commitment and action, as well as interest. It could be learning a new skill, collecting something, or creating something. There is a sense of getting more proficient or growing in the hobby area.
  • Think about setting up your hobby space, even if it’s just a section in a closet. Every hobby has something required to maintain it, from craft supplies to musical instruments to books to sports equipment. Make it accessible. As we move into our new space, I need to think about this!

The list of possible hobbies made me realize that I do have some hobbies already.   Some other hobby areas that sparked to me: sports, music, dance, crafts, painting, cooking, birding, etc. Blogging (writing) is definitely a current hobby. Yoga is also a hobby. Lately OrangeTheory is part of my exercise hobby. I want to engage in more cooking and stand-up paddling. And I definitely want to explore more creative hobbies as part of my 2020 plans, so this article was a nice inspirational push.



Christmas is an obvious gifting time. A couple of recent friend interactions reminded me that gifting is NOT one of my easy “love languages” and I need to remember that it IS for a couple of my friends.

If you’re not familiar with Love Languages, it’s a concept that has helped me better understand my loved ones. There’s a ton of info on line, but the basic concept is there are five primary ways that individuals express love and/or appreciation. Most of us have 1-2 dominant ones and don’t necessarily recognize the others are expressions of love/appreciation. They are, simplistically: 1) words, 2) touch, 3) acts, 4) time, and 5) gifts. My dominant ones are time and touch, with words pretty high up as well. My husband’s dominant one’s are acts and time. One of my mom’s dominant one’s is also acts; when mom & hubby are together, it is always a fight as to who will do the dishes!  But gifting is my lowest, by far. Even at Christmas, the only gift giving I think about is for young kids – my nieces & nephews, my godchild – because they are kids and that’s what Christmas is about for them.

I realized over this holiday that I have 2 friends who have gifts as their dominant one. I already knew about 2 other friends who have gifts as a dominant language, but this was new learning on two others. I received Christmas gifts from them and I did not have a gift to give them… Ouch. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to rectify this. Yes, I thanked them (words), but I’m feeling like I missed the boat on expressing appreciation of them!


Organized Chaos

My yearly horoscope encouraged me to organize everything from my closet to my calendar, to scale back care-taking, and get creative. Then, Joanne Franchina at Inner Compass said, “Make room for the things you want in life by letting go of things you no longer need – like resentment, regrets… or clutter.” Moving into our new home had me buying all kinds of bins and basket and storage organizers. And then finally, taking a quiz that was floating around, my Lifestyle Living is apparently “Organized Chaos”!

While I am definitely working on releasing resentment and self-limiting beliefs, I realized I am OK with a bit of chaos, clutter, and complexity. This is probably a good thing, since I am living with a borderline hoarder who firmly believes every horizontal surface is designed to be pilled-upon and if one of something is good, 5 would be better.

My organization (full of lists and journals) is probably complex to others, but it works for me.

  • I created a 20 for 2020 yearly list to help me accomplish my goal of Release. My seasonal lists focus on my 4 vision areas of active, connected, creative, and contemplative. I use Vision Boards for visual reminders and do Tarot Card readings to re-motivate myself.
  • I’ve got a daily “Bullet Journal” with lists full of to-do tasks, commitments, and intentions—things I must get done or would like to accomplish including ideas for the future. I check off items, which gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I’m stealing ideas from other people’s 20 for 2020 lists and adding onto my to-do lists: create 3 playful projects, get a shingles vaccine, digitize our photos, create a charitable fund, and make drinking more water and eating more veggies a habit.
  • I keep track of a New Things (my 2020 goal is 101 things, again). I’m adding a Books Read List this year (my goal is 52 books).
  • My Morning Journal habit provides me with a daily active meditation, which could involve writing out frustrations, body scans, emotional assessment, or dream journaling.
  • I also have an Inspirational Journal where I capture ideas for blogs. And I will be using another journal this year for my Release activities.

So, Organized Chaos is my new lifestyle term – I work towards organization but with a bit of clutter and complexity!


What has gotten you musing this month?


21 thoughts on “Mid-Month Musings

  1. Well, Pat, you may say organized chaos describes you, but the amount of things you make time for – and the lists, vision boards, etc. indicate otherwise. Even if your physical space may not but fully organized (but you are working on that, too, with bins and boxes and decluttering – although your semi-hoarder may slow this a bit, LOL) but your mind is certainly tidy.
    My space has to be neat; clutter and things not picked up create anxiety…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to think neat & clutter-free was the only right way to live and therefore I was failing. It’s more empowering to me to now believe it’s right for some people, but it’s not necessarily the only way. Organized Chaos does describe how my house looks!


  2. Since I first came across the 5 love languages, mine has changed. I used to value touch most. But I am married to a man whose love language is time and so he naturally gave me his time when what I longed for most was his touch. Funny how the way we perceive/receive love affects how we love. Now I think my primary love language would be words. I need reassurance and praise. Sounds so vain and petty but it is true. Gifts are low on my totem pole, too.

    I have organized chaos going on over here, too. I know where everything is – most of the time – but things could be a little better organized or neater looking. Especially in my craft space. Ugh. But there are always projects underway in that area that I can’t put up. Right now it is scrapbooking stuff. Going to get brutal and organize that area of long forgotten, half-completed projects this winter.

    I read Julia Cameron after discovering her on your blog. I like the idea of an artist date…kind of an excuse to enjoy a hobby or artistic endeavor. But scheduling them sometimes make them feel like work. Like something I have to do at a certain time rather than when the time suits me. I am terrible, though, about not allowing myself to play because there is always a meal to prepare, a room to clean, a dish to wash. Hope we can both find time for fun this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve realized that my home will never not look like messy. Yeah, double negatives but you get it. Horizontal surfaces were designed to pile things on. Corners were made to stack boxes. Nothing can be tossed because “I might need it”. Even in this move to a new space… the clutter is already knee deep. Chaos reigns.

      My hubby has neither touch nor words as high on his languages and they are both high on mine. I have to remind myself that just because he doesn’t reach out and touch me, it does not mean anything. I initiate almost every hug; it’s the way it is. His language is acts of service… so when he’s done the laundry or dealt with home projects, I know that’s his way. Sometimes I call him the house-elf…. because I can leave a “project” on the counter and it will get done.

      I need to plan my creative things or it just never happens. I realized that I don’t “naturally” pick up my creative projects. It’s not habit yet. So I schedule time in. The cleaning can wait!


  3. Hi Pat, I’ve heard a lot about love languages but haven’t looked into it any further, maybe I should! You have a lot going on and the way you look at things always impresses me. Thanks for sharing this update with us and all the best with your plans. #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Debbie. I’ve always thought that the Love Languages helped me better “get” people. It’s been helpful as my hubby doesn’t have words or touch as high, while I do. If I didn’t understand it, I’d worry that he didn’t love me. He does, but it’s shown through acts of service … which I’ve learned to really appreciate as a sign of love! There is a book, and lots of stuff on line if you want to explore it more.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Pat – I laughed at your “organized chaos” – personally it would drive me crazy and I’m fortunate to be married to a fellow minimalist, but if you have a border-line hoarder who you love, then I think you’ve probably found your most acceptable middle ground for now – and all those new storage containers might inspire more tidiness in the new place.
    As far as gift giving as a love language, it’s high on my husband’s list and low on mine, I’m forever struggling to find thoughtful gifts for him and trying to stop him buying random gifts for me – it’s like a two-step or a tango (or maybe a cha-cha) where we’re trying to get the balance right!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, I have a number of friends who would go crazy at our “mess” as well. I look at their spaces sometimes with a bit of envy…. they look like they could have pictures in the magazines. But I’ve come to accept it will never be our look. And as we move into the new space, I’m giving up on even having a photo-shoot in Home Beautiful!

      I liked Deb’s perspective as a gift-language person. Accept the gift graciously and don’t worry if you don’t have something to reciprocate. And when you do see something that he would like, get it! Today a couple of friends were talking about a light, and the one women said “my husband would love that”…. it’s those moments to look for.


  5. Hi Pat, you sound incredible organized with your bullet journal and lists and goals. It doesn’t sound chaotic at all to me. I think your IDEAS are organized and sounds like your bins are organizing your life as well. I love it that you have such a good handle on your vision and plans for the future.

    The hobbies section got me thinking. I am not good with hobbies! In the past I didn’t have time for them. Now my biggest hobby is writing, which is also part of my work and it all blends together. I guess swimming is a hobby as well. Maybe travel too, but that seems more of a lifestyle for me. I do think I might like to explore some sort of art- I’ll think about that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Holy smokes – you pack a lot in! 52 books, 101 things to do and loads to organize, daily journal and meditation. I would wager you run on a lot more organized than chaos! The horizontal surface clutter is brutal on my borderline OCD and even part way through a project I have to sort and clean.
    Interesting about the love languages — mine would be touch and give but like Deb I try hard to give the right gift at the right time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bernie, Maybe because I struggle with feelings of belonging, for me it’s been helpful to know the love languages of key friends and family, so I recognize when they express love/appreciation. I’m targeting 52 books…it was a random number to pick. I’m an avid reader because I prefer that to listening to music (while doing hand crafts) or watching TV. I know when I am in “reading mode” I can read a book in 1-2 days; I’ll read for hours sitting in a patch of sunlight or bundled under a throw on the couch.


  7. yep, with you on organised chaos. I’m planning my days quite tightly at present, with social media & blogs only at certain times during the day. Otherwise between my day job & committee responsibilities my writing and exercise is the first things to go – and, other than family, they’re the two areas I want to give priority to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right now, with contractors and sub-contractors popping in at any time of the day (house repairs, move-in needs, and garage building), I believe the chaos is overpowering the organized. I’m trying hard to keep healthy eating and exercise going… and fitting in blogging when I can. Planning things and getting together with friends is what’s going. But it will all settle soon (I hope!) and I am trying not to stress over the “snafu’s”…. just had another one today.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Pat. I’ve been musing about heavy stuff recently–the meaning of life, is there life after death…you know, just your everyday thoughts. 🙂 Actually, I have also been thinking about love languages as well. I’d say my primary love languages are words and touch, followed by acts and time. I struggle with gifts at the holidays or scripted times. It seems I can never think of something meaningful when I’m put on the spot. But then there are those times when you see something that you know would be perfect for someone and spontaneously gift them something. Those gifts I love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, I am the same with gifts! I just felt so bad when they had things for me & I had nothing for them. Gosh darn, those societal expectations! I’m putting off the heavy stuff thinking…and it was pointed out to me the other day by a friend. I said I was going to work on the release thinking…. and I keep finding other stuff to do. Maybe this weekend….


  9. I have Love Languages on my Kindle… now you’ve prompted me to actually read it. I can guess at mine, and probably my husband’s but I think knowing for sure could help us both better give each other the love and support we need in the language that best speaks to us.

    Btw, last week, there was a series on NPR (“All Things Considered” out of WBUR Chicago) on Secular Spirituality. It was so interesting and it made me think of your journey. If you didn’t catch the series, I’m pretty sure you can find it online.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, Thanks for that referral… I did find it on line and will give it a listen.

      I’ve never read the Love Languages book myself, but have looked at the descriptions on line and had talks with family and friends about it. I’ve found that just being aware of them is helpful… and I do think you can probably guess someone’s if you know them well and are observant. Awareness is the key…I have a good friend who has touch as her 5th… meaning she never does hugs as a sign of affection. But she also knows it’s higher for me and will give me a hug when we haven’t seen each other for awhile… even saying “this is for you”. And gifts are really high for her, so if I ever see something I know she’ll like, I do get it for her… just because.


  10. Re: the love languages. This is something I wonder about. Should we respect each others’ love languages without needing to adopt them? I know someone who on the surface appears to have a gifting love language but in my opinion it is really a mask for a shopping addiction. The gifts are given without any thought to the receiver’s taste or preferences – it seems like this person is just trying to get rid of stuff (so more can be bought) or purchasing gifts because it feeds the addiction. I struggle with giving gifts to this person as they are already drowning in stuff so I usually give gifts from my kitchen, that can be consumed.

    I have a love/don’t love relationship with gifts. I love to give things to people that I know will thrill them – whether a material gift or an experience. I try to choose with great care and the recipient in mind. I don’t love generic gifts or gift giving for the sake of reciprocity alone. And I certainly don’t expect gifts back – a thank you is all I need.

    Your post has gotten me musing about this! Thanks Pat,


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deb, Thanks for the perspective of someone with gifting as their love language. Hopefully my friends, like you, appreciated the heart-felt “thanks you” I gave! BTW, when I do look for gifts, it is definitely with the recipient in mind… it’s just not very often I even think about it! And I’m also very happy when someone gifts me things I can consume!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s