by Penelope Smallbone

For the past few months I haven’t been as up-beat as usual. I’ve been in a slump creatively, emotionally, and a little bit physically (though I’ve corrected that with more frequent exercise!). I feel like I’ve had more down days than up days, something that is completely uncharacteristic of my happy-go-lucky optimistic personality. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about WHY this is happening.

1. Growing Up.
Apparently part of this whole “maturation” concept means having more awareness of the world around you, and understanding your role in the grand scheme of things. I feel like I’ve been hit with a ton of bricks. Bricks of awareness, that is. You know what I’ve learned about life over this process of growing up? Parts of life really SUCK. It’s been a little harder to maintain my optimism when I’ve suddenly realized how crappy things can be sometimes.

2. Drama.
We are all familiar with this term. Its original use was to describe a play, or a tv show or movie that has a lot of intense plot development and complex relationships between characters. It is now common vernacular in our lives to describe the ridiculousness that occurs between people (read: females). In my friend’s words, I am the girl who runs from drama. I don’t put up with it. I hate it. I will generally do whatever is in my power to avoid drama. And yet lately my life has been all about drama. I’m not entirely sure why, but it seems like everything is a big deal lately, when it full well shouldn’t be. We don’t need to endlessly discuss the implied meaning of something which is clearly meaningless, or what someone did to someone else somewhere. There are more important things to worry about, and honestly, I don’t know why we can’t all just get along!

3. Too much _____.
I’ve been way too freakin busy again. I was super busy last fall until I came down with a case of pneumonia. That put a serious halt in my over-booking, over-planning habits. After having pneumonia I tried really hard to limit my plans and made sure to keep a few nights a week for myself. Things have spun out of control again, with my calendar booked every night of the week. This concept of “too much” also applies to the boys in my life (in case you haven’t noticed, there have been too many). I need to stand out in a field like an air traffic controller and wave the orange cones to signify “STOP!!”

Simplify. I just finished John Maeda’s latest book, The Laws of Simplicity. Although I didn’t find any *new* or groundbreaking information there, I think he did a nice job of presenting design concepts in a way that relates to ordinary things in every person’s life. When thinking about the resolution to the conflicts written above, all I can think of to fix them is “simplify.” Take away half my plans every week. Take away half the talking about meaningless crap that turns into gossip that turns into drama. Stop worrying about half of the complexities that make life seem overwhelming.

Bottom Line: I need to re-focus on what is necessary at this moment in my life, which is me, and the people in my life who make it great.