Shrinking & Expanding

With a title like that you may assume that this post will address weight loss and weight gain. That is only one tiny part of what I anticipate sharing here.

Every time I move I learn a little bit about myself. The overarching lesson of the current move is that I seem to shrink or expand to fit my circumstances. I’ve lived in all sorts of situations, from sharing a bedroom in an apartment with four other women to the situation that I just left—2500 square feet, 5-bedroom, 3 full bath, 2 car garage kind of thing—all to myself.

When I moved into that large house I came from a modest 3-bedroom 1 bathroom home that was less than 1100 square feet. In that home I had to be judicious about how large my furniture was, how many dishes I had and how much storage was available. When I first moved into the large home, I did it with the intent of having a roommate. It didn’t work out. Gratefully, my friend that lived there for a few months with me is still my friend. It was a difficult time for both of us and I’m so grateful that we made it through with our friendship intact.

Here I sat with way more home than I needed and a bunch of empty rooms. What do I do? I hit the classifieds and fill up all of those rooms. I also decide, even though I’ve never done it before, that I’m going to refinish furniture, so I have way more side tables than a home twice this size should have. My closet slowly but surely gets more occupants and before you know it, I am a single gal in a 5-bedroom home that appears to be inhabited by at least 5 people.

As I’ve been culling my things in preparation to make this move it occurred to me that I tend to expand into whatever size home I have available. Likewise I will shrink to fit my new living conditions. Prior to moving I sold my piano, gave away two couches and a day bed and took about 4 loads of items that I don’t use on a regular basis to the local thrift store. Even with all of those things leaving my possession, I still find myself looking around my new apartment and wondering how I ever thought I would fit all of these things in here and why on earth I need them.  Many of these things are just that—things—that I don’t use often, that don’t add to my life like they should for the amount of space and anxiety that they occupy.  I will be making a few more trips to the thrift store as I unpack and reassess what it is that I really need, want and love.

Similarly, I find that I often shrink or expand to fit the clothes that I have in my closet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought an article of clothing and thought it was too big or didn’t fit quite right, only to try it on in 6 months to find that it fits perfectly. My weight and waistline shrink or expand along with the mindset and the level of discipline (room) I give them.

I think this applies to so many things in my life. The love in my life shrinks or expands in conjunctions with how open minded and how open hearted I am. This shrinks or expands the number of friends and relationships that I have in my life. My bank account shrinks or expands similarly—based on how much attention I pay to what I do with what I have and the level of gratitude I have, and along with my levels of generosity.

What is the lesson in all of this? I believe it is that I need to be very intentional in setting up the different areas of my life so that I can shrink or expand in a way that will allow me to be my best self. Too much of my past life has been left to chance–with me either shrinking or expanding in ways that leave me tired, frustrated, confused and living a life that is far removed from what I know could be my best life.

Deep thoughts these days people! Deep thoughts!

Here’s to shrinking or expanding in the ways that bring out the best in us, allow us to be grateful and generous and fill us with all of the love and confidence we need to be well, happy and living our best lives!

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