Part of what attracted me to Mid-Century Modern design is the simplicity and openness of the architecture, the wedding of outdoor and indoor spaces, thus creating a delightful blur between us and the rest of nature with window walls and sliding glass doors that invite us to explore beyond the four walls. While you can still fill it all up, this type of architecture begs for simplicity and looks its’ very best sparse. Sparing in both landscape and furnishings works to showcase the design and create expansiveness. Most MCM homes were not large sprawls but under 2500 sq feet. Mine is 2105 and I had to significantly pare down and squeeze into it. 2 years in, I have given up a leather lounge set and other furnishings too substantial, too heavy and large to fit comfortably. Our home looks fairly spacious and I am continuing to reduce things.
To get you into the vibe, check out William Krisel’s Palm Springs: The Language of Modernism. And you don’t have to live in an MCM home to appreciate a lot of the aesthetics and apply them where you are right now.
LET IT GO.
A few years ago, my husband and I agreed to let go of anything we either didn’t really love or didn’t use at least annually. Being fully mindful of what is used and what continues to sit year after year is eye opening. Sure, the thing may be nice or be a lovely gift but if you are not actively using it or it is not a delight to the eye, such as a piece of art, then let it go to a new home where it can live out the life intended for it and thereby create space for something you truly want or need in its place.
THINGS DON’T ALWAYS STORE WELL.
I have a neighbor who collects stuff. He wants it all for free, anything anyone doesn’t want, stuff left over at a garage sale or left curbside. He will admit it weighs him down, he has boxes and boxes of stuff and has even built a new garage and rented a storage unit to contain it all. Things don’t always store well. Fabric, rubber, materials get dry rot. Hoses, seals and belts dry out, wiring can get ruined as well. I had an opportunity to buy someone’s 1 year used high-end washer dryer set but they had been in storage for a few years. I just pictured the potential hot mess I was buying and said no. Things are made to be used and few things remain pristine and perfect for long periods unused. Buy and hold onto what you need and let the rest go.
LAND OF PLENTY.
We tend to think in terms of great deals and opportunities that come only once, sales and getting stocked up. The truth is that the universe is infinite. When we act with right action, with good intentions, the universe conspires to provide us what we need and want in our lives. There is no need for jealousy or clawing at what we want, it will happen when it’s time, when we are ready, as we plan in faith.
I will share just two. Story 1) I spent 3 years searching for a Mid-Century Modern house, they are suddenly all the rage and I completely get why, however, it made finding mine a bit of a living hell. I had notebooks filled with zip codes, prices, addresses and comments. It was a second job for me, finding our Middy. I looked so long and hard that the same houses came back on the market. You know you’ve been looking a while when that happens. As it turns out, a home I lost the first time around, came back 1.5 years later when the couple that bought it realised they would never ever move back to Dallas and sold it to me. I lucked into a pocket listing where this house had not yet gone officially back on the market, back on MLS, but the current owner called my realtor who said ‘I have your buyer’. Planning, patience, preparedness and a little kismet! Sometimes I wanted to give up, perhaps it was not meant to be. A year into the search, some friends asked me how long I was going to pursue it but my realtor said looking this length of time was not unheard of and to stay the course. So I did.
Story 2) I was laid off at work and had several deaths in the family. Coming out of a time famine where I worked exceedingly long hours most of the time at no additional compensation, which had left me losing out on a lot of personal time with family, I created a wishlist of what I wanted next. My focus was on what I wanted not what I did not want. I believe you have to think in terms of positives, of affirmations and make it so. My wishlist was 1) Not to work so hard to earn. I wanted to apply myself, but not to the point of health affecting overwork. So my goal was hourly employment if possible or a contract that limited my exposure. 2) I wanted to work from home because I get a tax write off with my office and have been working from home for 20 years. I wanted to maintain this environment if possible. 3) I wanted to better or at least maintain my current salary.
I meditated on my wishlist but was also open to the possibility that I would not get everything I wanted as I was re-inventing my work self. In the end and amazingly, an ex-coworker set me up in an amazing opportunity that provided me exactly everything on my wishlist. I was laid off a full year. During this time, I did not actively pursue employment. Instead, I focused on myself, my health and wholeness. I spent the entire year studying with Hippocrates Health Institute, which has nothing to do with Project Management or Telecommunications, but everything to do with my life and creating balance and longevity, both key to both my happiness and my future employer. I worked at being a leaf upon the wind, letting my inner voice guide me to the right decisions as I ended up with several offers.
When we stop, breath, listen to what brings us closer to peace or farther away from it, we get clear on what makes us happiest. Life is not meant to be a drudge but overall, a joy. Work should be, while at times we all get a bad day, something that brings you fulfilment. Someone job searching posted on LinkedIn all her struggles to locate work. She was making a full-time job of it and for months on end. I could hear the stress in the spaces between her words. My comment back was a suggestion she perhaps just stop. Just stop. Just relax. What brings you peace? Would you like to learn a new language or take a psychology course or go on a working trip abroad or any such something you normally would not do in a typical time famine between work and home requirements? Go, do those things and let the answers and the opportunities come to you. When we are not bruising our shins on too much dross in our lives, even grand, luxurious, nice dross, we find the space we need to co-create change in our lives. Stuff weighs down our mind. Everything we own is catalogued there, something to track and care for. Too much stuff can be overstimulating to the eye and nervous system. Less to dust is not a bad thing. Find your own comfort level with stuff, with space and here’s to co-creating your best life!