The girls and I moved into our place three years ago and ever since, I have been waking up to a wall. That is, when I am not waking up to a small person jumping elbow-first on to my pancreas, I wake up and stare straight ahead at a blank wall. For a long while, I had a large multi-photo frame on the wall with pictures of my girls. While waking up to photos of my two favourite people is lovely, it's important that I note that there are in fact (I've just counted) 66 other photos up in my tiny house that feature one or both of my daughters. That's a little crazy, particularly when you consider that they also live here. So, recently, I decided that it would probably be okay if there was one surface in this house without their sweet, smiling faces on it. (And truthfully, I was also thinking that it might be nice if my room were a little less "mom" and a little more "amazing woman who a man might want to spend time with in that room". Ahem.)
I've been thinking a lot, then, about what I want to wake up to (other than the aforementioned man) and I decided that I want to start my day with a view that inspires me to get up and get going and have the best day possible. For lack of a better name, let's call it an "inspiration wall". At first I thought it might take the form of a sort of vision board, but I quickly realized that I don't really have a problem with vision: I am a pro-star at setting goals and I have a very clear idea of what I want in my future. What I have trouble with is staying in the present, and keeping my values and priorities front and center so I can live the life I want to live right now.
About a year or so ago, I found a little mirror I love as well as a pretty framed cork board, both at Home Sense I believe. I put them in my closet, alongside an old picture frame, not really knowing where I wanted to put them. Then a few weeks ago, I found a shadow box at Value Village that features four squares just the perfect size for these 4 inch by 4 inch illustrations of motivational quotes that I cut out of two books I bought last spring (at Urban Outfitters, if memory serves). Suddenly I had all the pieces I needed.
The organized, perfectionist side of me is pretty happy with how it has come together and how lovely and clean it all looks. The rebellious side thinks it's altogether too pretty and is dying to throw things askew and add a "Fuck Yeah Let's Do This!" alongside the more classy, grown-up quotes. Mama might need a secret inspiration wall in the closet for her more subversive thoughts.
In the coming weeks, I'll be talking about some of the elements included here in more depth, the scrawlings and quotes and why I've chosen them, but I'll share a little about the details here too, below. I'm sharing this not because I think I'm so great or because I think I've come up with a perfectly curated collection that you should copy immediately. What is pretty and inspiring for me will not be what is pretty and inspiring for you. I am hoping though that this project might spur you on to think about your own values, priorities and goals and how you might put them in full view, whether on a wall or a post-it note or a screensaver, should you be so moved. If nothing else, let me tell you that this is a pretty excellent project for a cold and snowy Tuesday afternoon. The driveway will shovel itself (or it should, it's 2016, for goodness' sake).
- Frame within the frame bought at Michael's, then painted.
- Five priorities for self-care: create, move, connect, rest, laugh.
- "❤️ & soul" is a reference to my daughters, as well as to what I feel are my two vocations (work in social service and my writing). "Action" is my word for 2016. "Sisu" is a Finnish word that is about perseverance in the face of adversity; my youngest wanted to help so she wrote it out for me. "You are awake. You are awesome. Live like it." is a quote from Kid President, who is awesome.
- Some pretty, inspirational words. I plan to switch these out every now and then. These are the ones that I feel I most need to hear right now.
- "There must be a Pony!" is a funny little story about optimism, told on a postcard I found in Vancouver. One of my favourite photos of my sister and I, taken outside our grandparents' farmhouse. Flowers from the girls. A Corky and the Juice Pigs pin that reminds me of my high school friends. For some random reason, a note that says "Little Suzy Girl" contributed by my five-year-old. And words to make me brave.
Jump for Joy is a series on JTTG about small, simple ways to boost the joy in your life.