Transforming Self and Home
In the late spring and early summer of 2022, my husband Jonathan and I went through Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
We’re relatively neat and averse to clutter, and we had just moved in October 2021 so, to be honest, I didn’t think we would have that much to tidy up. Even as someone who believes in magic, I was skeptical of Marie Kondo’s promise that my life would change.
But luckily for me, I was very much mistaken!
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What You Take With You
Before we go further, if you are Kondo-curious (have heard about her or watched one of her shows), please allow me to encourage you to read her book or, if you’re short on time, to check out her course. I actually started with the course and then read the book and added in Joy at Work as well (though I’m still working my way through that one). The course is not expensive, and I found it incredibly helpful for helping me cast a vision forward and for organizing.
One of my favorite things about the book and course that I either missed or didn’t fully understand while watching the show is the future-oriented focus. It’s not about getting rid of your excess stuff. It’s about choosing what you want to take forward with you.
As my husband Jonathan and I chose what we wanted to bring with us into the future, a few themes emerged. For me, those themes revolved around witchcraft, druidry, and spirituality, alongside gardening, indoor plant care, and a pinch of home decor. These interests had been growing for a couple years, but it wasn’t until I took a step back and removed some of my old interests and passions that I was able to see how deeply rooted these new passions were. I removed the old (not without some pain!) and made more space for my new interests.
Books that Light the Way
For both of us, the process of whittling down our personal libraries was daunting and difficult. We met while pursuing our master’s degrees in English, so you can just imagine how many books we had to start with as well as the purges that had already taken place! What we found in going through this new selection process, though, was that we were shaping who we wanted to be in the future. Which thinkers and ideas did we want to carry forward with us? Who did we want to turn to for future inspiration and help?
I’m hoping to have more posts about my favorites among these selections, but you’ll find my recommendations for cut flower gardening and indoor plant care here!
Redefining myself in this way has deepened my spiritual practice and my personal sense of identity. And that is life-changing magic indeed.
Growing Something New
These tidied garden beds of ideas made space for additional interests to take root. I recognized the ways in which I had grown out of old identities that no longer suited me and reassessed to see which new identities were a better fit. We had both previously self-identified as people who didn’t really like to or care about exercise, but that had changed first for Jonathan and then for me. We thought back over some of our favorite experiences together, most especially the Carolina Renaissance Festival, and realized how much we actually like spending time outdoors together. Pretty soon we were hiking together on the weekends and planning camping trips!
We have big dreams for the future of getting a camper (and have the perfect one picked out!) and going on longer trips. Travel where our dogs can come with us would be both more fun and much more affordable, and our growing interest in outdoorsy experiences makes the trips we’ve been looking at more earthy and outdoors focused too! I’m putting together a future video on our camping gear, and we’re hoping to share our experience of tent camping with our dogs too!
I also started investigating ways we could bring a connection to nature indoors. We have a decent array of houseplants already (though you can never have too many of course!), and so we started researching fish and cats! Fish were the simpler addition, though it turns out I have trouble with the sound of the tanks, so the fish tanks don’t feature as prominently in our home as I thought they would. I’m hoping Jonathan and I can make a video about our fish friends and what the adoption process for them was like. My two Bettas, George and Edwin, are absolutely beautiful!
From Tidying to Camping to Fish to Cats
My mom and sisters are allergic to cats, so I never grew up with them and don’t have very much experience being around them. For a long time, I thought cats didn’t like me, but the couple we used to play D&D with (pre-pandemic) have two cats, one of whom really liked me and loved Jonathan, and she helped me warm to the idea. Jonathan did grow up with cats, but he was still delighted to take a deep-dive with me into learning about them with me. We found Jackson Galaxy’s videos on YouTube and watched so many. I even used our research on cat adoption in my English 101 course which, this semester, is focused on YouTube!
I had been feeling a tug around getting a cat, especially an orange/ginger cat, for months at that point, and what really catapulted us into cat research was one of Jonathan’s colleagues, who works with a cat rescue, finding the most beautiful orange cat I’ve ever seen! It turns out he was lost from his home and not a stray, so we didn’t end up adopting him, but Jasper (as I named him) was catalyst enough to really pique our interest.
But we ran into a problem a few weeks into this new passion and the thought of bringing home a cat. We learned that unlike with puppies, it’s easier to bring two kittens home instead of one. (And kittens seem like the best path forward to us since we do have dogs at home and want the cats to feel used to being around dogs.) Having a companion who speaks their language makes sense to me, and we want the cat to have someone in addition to us to play with. I think I researched to the point of indecision, and there were also a few kinks in where we would place the cat accessories so the kittens would feel at home.
Long story short, I pivoted and decided that I would feel more comfortable bringing home a puppy than I would two kittens. I’ve raised two puppies, and I know what dogs want and what to expect with raising them. That adventure of puppy adoption will be the subject of part two of this series, but I also hope to have good news on the kitty front and that this won’t be the end of that story either!
(Quick update, there will be kitty news in part three!)
Thank you so much for letting me share this adventure with you! Parts two and three will be coming your way soon!
I’d love to hear your life-changing magic stories in the comments below!