It’s funny how even major mental changes can feel like they aren’t “real” progress.

See, it’s been more than two weeks since my last post, and it feels like I haven’t accomplished much in that time. While I’ve been able to straighten up one of the rooms I’ve decluttered, my work on the keepsake bins has ground to a total halt. Every time I think about resuming, I feel a sense of dread over what mental nonsense I might uncover. But that’s not really the kind of thing I can effectively write out of my system in a blog post.

Cleaning house

So until I can sort that out, I’ve been working on some other sectors of my life. One new change is that I’m making a real effort to take better physical care of myself by paying more attention to nutrition and exercise. My body’s felt a lot better since making this change and it’s improved my mood somewhat too.

I also recently had a self-acceptance breakthrough that has been a long time coming. To some of you that probably doesn’t sound like much, but anyone who’s struggled to actually accept themselves as they are knows how big of a deal it is. Much like the beginning of my decluttering quest, I recognized for the first time what a tremendous weight I’d been carrying and could finally set it down. I’m breathing easier, I feel happier, and the anxiety I’ve been struggling with for years feels a little more manageable.

e77c71defc73b414fe4d8f8afa1c2620Basically me right now, except what I got was way better.

I was going to say that this breakthrough wasn’t a result of any of the bigger recent changes in my life, but I realized that’s not true. In fact, a lot of the smaller changes I’ve been making have been inspired (in one way or another) by my new-ish romantic relationship, which has completely upended my life.

I’m not saying that to be like “Suck it, single losers!” – it’s just that, well, letting another person into your life complicates things in a lot of unexpected ways. It’s like letting someone into your home. Maybe they’ll track in mud or bring in flowers. Maybe they’ll lock you in a closet and throw a party without your permission and leave a big mess. Or maybe they’ll come in, see a big mess, and say: “Hey, want me to help you clean this up?” You never know which one it’s going to be.

This time around, the complications have been good. They’ve been forcing me to question a lot of my assumptions or reframe the way I’ve been thinking about things. More than anything, letting someone into my life has made me realize what a mess it was and forced me to try and clean it.

Sometimes I feel nervous about where this whole thing might end up. But in a way, being nervous is good – it means that something is at stake. Things may be more complicated now, but complications aren’t always a bad thing.