Making Room for the Good Stuff

I recently gave a workshop at the Main Line Times Women’s Symposium. It was a great energizing day with about 200 women gathered on a Saturday morning at the Villanova Conference Center. We heard from guest speaker Barbara Collins about discovering our authentic selves and reinventing our lives based on who we are and what we love. The theme of the day was, “Design Your Best Life.” Much like the theme of Oprah Winfrey’s show one year, it included information on health, distressing and how to make the most of your womanly duties at home. Organizing your home seemed to fit right into the underlying message of the day.  But as is typical for speakers, I left my lecture room thinking, “Darn, I forgot to tell that story about what happens when you make room for the good stuff  by clearing the clutter from your home and your schedule.” So I will tell it here.

Every year our family takes a week vacation at the beach in July.  May and June are busy months with children’s sacraments and family birthdays so our weekends leading up to vacation are often packed. One year, we saw an opportunity for a quiet weekend which just happened to be July 4th. “Let’s plan to do nothing,” I said to my husband.  I wanted some time to plan for packing and thought we could just wing it each day of the long weekend.  But by Friday afternoon all that went out the window. My father called and asked if I could do him a favor. My aunt and uncle were coming in from California with their two girls and were planning to stay with my parents.

“We’ve had a water main break and we have no running water right now. And probably can’t get a plumber in until Tuesday.” (July 4th was a Monday that year). So can they stay at your house for a night and mom & I will stay home?”

“Of course,“ I said, “and you and mom too. How can you stay in a house with no running water!?  We have plenty of room and we’ll make it work.”

After I hung up the phone my husband and I discussed arrangements. I got out the clean sheets and in one hour we were ready. Mom had already bought food and planned a menu for the weekend so she took care of that.  What happened that weekend was a wonderful whirlwind of sightseeing in our own city, relaxing by the pool with cousins that I hardly know and planning the day’s events with my aunt who was much more like me than I had remembered.  Our house was crowded but my kids had a great time and so did the adults. My parents and aunt and uncle were appreciative of our fast response and willingness to open our home to them.  It was a win-win situation.  I often think about that weekend as I look at my packed family calendar.  It’s amazing what you can make room for in your home and your life when you open it up and clear the clutter.

Do you have any stories of how planning to do nothing turned into a great experience? Please share.