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The weekend of the New Year, it. was. FREEZING. I was a little sad that Christmas was over, and we had some very chill one-on-one plans for the Big Night of NYE. But living on a farm, no matter how cold it was, there was still work to be done. So every morning that long weekend, we’d bundle up best as we could and venture over the hill to perform the first feeding of the day.

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This consisted of scratching up frozen dry knuckles on bales of hay and alfalfa and plunging a heavy sharp tool into tubs of water with ice four inches thick on top. The wind was so cold it stung your cheeks and left you sniffling for hours. Then we’d get home and chop down a tree so we could get enough wood to heat our cabin for a few hours before heading out to do it all over again.

I loved it.

I started diving into research on this Danish philosophy called hygge. It’s basically everything I believe in, and everything I was living for that weekend. Cozyness, do-it-yourselfness, indulgence and pleasure. Webb and I cooked a fabulous holiday-style meal on New Years’ night and invited a friend over. Everything felt so perfect. We had a home. And we’d actually made it.

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Crazy as it sounds – after three days of these repetitive actions, I found myself feeling so empowered, so at peace and so in tune with nature. I felt badass. I had the best of both worlds. And I was actually kind of sad knowing I had to wake up and go sit in an office for 8 hours the next day. There would be no hard work out in the pastures, no freezing my ass off so I could enjoy a peaceful reading sesh by the fire, no muscle-building or face-burning or lumberjacking for me…Aw, poo.

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Come Tuesday (as Monday was a holiday), my whole world got whipped up, flipped up and splattered down in a pile of mush on the floor. You see, I work in a very small office. And while many employees are in/out a lot, the one person who had always been there, the guy whose position is about one over mine but seems to run the whole place simply because he knows EVERYTHING, had left for a month-long trip around the world. Well-deserved, believe me – but very unfortunate. Because who would’ve thought the piano business would boom just a day after the New Year? Surely not me….and of course I was the only person the entire day in that office, fielding a ceaseless amount of phone calls, booking appointments and now also taking over all of my co-worker’s other responsibilities which I was still learning about. Suddenly, whether I liked it or not, I was the one running the place. And the rush, the hysteria, the stress….it didn’t end until I haggardly stumbled out the door on Friday evening.

On top of that, we had hired a new girl as a sort of assistant to me, whom I had spent all day Friday training (whilst still maintaining all my other incoming work). I was looking forward to the help and the camaraderie. Plus, I knew that having someone “below” me would further my status and sense of importance, both individually and professionally. But come Monday, she had gotten a new job offer and it was all for naught.

Seriously?

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I was so full of anxiety that I found myself shaking between phone calls, trying to book 8 jobs at once with no real help aside from a “Hey, can you also do this?“. It had been one thing on that first day – sure it was stressful, but I knew I was alone and that was okay. Every other day, it was just a matter of everyone else assuming I could handle it, not really offering much assistance at all. There were all of these unspoken standards and expectations I had to live up to – things that no one else seemed to have to worry about. And that – that was angering, frustrating and completely depleting. In an office where everyone should know how to do just a little bit of everything, I felt like the only one who could actually do anything.

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I had been constructing a post for this blog about the joys of winter and all the things I planned to do with my newfound sense of becoming one with nature and treasuring the cold. By the end of the week, I didn’t even want to write anymore. I just wanted sleep. And while I felt like a BOSS, knowing how much I’d accomplished all by myself, I didn’t feel like the same girl who’d been out slashing through the ice to feed the horses.

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I felt hardened – and not in a good way.

But alas, I’m now about 2 weeks in to the New Year and my “new” position, and things are finally settling down. I’m treasuring the solo time I have in the office and slowly getting into a place where I feel a little more balanced. I’m still frustrated and I’m still sitting at the same desk, but at least I come home with the confidence knowing that I got through another day doing not one, but two, jobs. And being pretty great at it.

Plus, now that the office is “slowing down” a little, I can get back to day-dreaming about all my winter things again. So in an effort to get back to the original roots of this post (and make it way too hella long for anyone to care about reading it), I’m going to go ahead and share my short-list of To Dos & InspirationsWorld Music – OMG. DahkaBrahka? Huun Huur Tu? No, I’m not making this up! Thank you, KEXP. These are my I’m-At-Work-So-I-Can’t-Really-Meditate-But-This-Feels-Good-Too JAMS.

By The Book Podcast – I just found out about these ladies this week and I can’t stop listening. Basically, they try out every self-help fad book out there and relay their own personal experiences – including recorded excerpts from home featuring their husbands. Some of the stuff they learn is actually really helpful and inspiring ….the rest is just great laughs. It’s like you’re getting ALL the self-help, minus the financial investment, the reading time and, most importantly, the tears.

But seriously, I started purging old magazines and knick-knacks the second I got back from listening to their review of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This shit works!

Hygge – I already touched on this a tad, but look it up if you haven’t already. All those Insta-perfect photos out there featuring the large knit blankets and candles and cups of tea and fireplaces etc etc are inspired by this Danish philosophy. There’s lots of books out there about it too. It just feels good, like it’s supposed to – and it makes wintry days seem a whole lot more appealing. (#PrayingForASnowDay)

BUJO – I.e. Bullet Journaling. When I first heard about this, it sounded like a nice concept, but I wasn’t exactly aching for hours on end of having to come up with an index and special doodles for a planner. However, as a girl who has lots of thoughts throughout the day – anything from the grocery list to the songs I need to listen to – the thought of having everything in one place is SO compulsively pleasing. Because it doesn’t just have to be a planner – it can be a little bit of everything. Which is exactly what I need for some peace of mind. (Seriously, y’all, I document everything on Post-Its these days.) So I’m giving it a try, and if all goes well I might actually make a post of it. And be one in a sea of millions.