The Subtraction

I am a busy person.

Yeah, yeah . . .  so are you, right?  We are all busy.  On my living-my-life list (it is so much more than just a “to do” list)  I fill many roles:   wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, band member, attorney, author, girl scout volunteer, basketball mom, mentor . . .  whew!  I really don’t know how I get it all done but, in the words of the very funny Ron White: “I’ve seen me do it!”

But, I’ve realized that while I’m trying to get it all done, there are some things I’m not doing very well.  And, really – what’s the point of that?  So, since I refuse to make resolutions, I decided to  make a change. I just didn’t know what to call it – and it seemed like something so momentous needed a name. All the biggies have a name, right?

The Apocalypse.

The Change.


So, I was reading the weekly newsletter from one of my favorite artists – Ali Edwards – and she was talking about subtracting things instead of adding things and it resonated with me. That is how I’ve been feeling since the New Year – what can I remove from my life to make room to experience other things more fully? I call it  . . .

The Subtraction.

Ali said it best: “Subtraction is not always about taking things away to make room for more. Sometimes it’s simply to create space. Space to breathe. Space to listen. Space to see.”

I. Love. That.

So, I’m making room to feel, see, and taste the things I really want to devote my energy towards:  family & friends, writing, art, physical fitness.  I’m getting control of things that detract from the space I am creating.  I’m scaling back on my internet time.  I’m declining requests to run things on various committees – I can serve on them and not be in charge.  I am cutting back on the amount of work I bring home.

So far, I’m seeing a great shift in my productivity and my attitude.  I’m less-stressed, I have written more words. I’m enjoying time with my family more.  I’m completing the P90X workout.  I’m scrapbooking (see some of my projects on this post).

It feels good.

Are you ready for “The Subtraction?”


15 thoughts on “The Subtraction

  1. Oh, it would be so hard to subtract! I think my life would be much easier, and I’d have more breathing room and space if I didn’t have to work a day job! That day job really takes a lot out of me – especially my mental energy!

  2. Oh Cecelia – the EDJ is like a brain-sucking alien. It just started with little things. No big change and then then it started adding up. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I really like this! Even on a smaller level, when you declutter something in your house – even just one little drawer, you instantly feel better, freer. That’s what I’m working on right now. Subtracting stuff!

  4. Hi Robin 😉
    I think it takes more guts to subtract than add. And it’s funny because the reasons we need to cut back are usually very solid and for our own sanity! I’d say about ten years ago, my hubby and I made a conscious decision to simplify our life. We’ve worked really hard at it and I have to honestly say that aside from a chaotic incident here and there, we’ve succeeded. The best part is that we have the time for him to be a football coach, for me to be a writer. To help out when we can. To be good parents. And it’s generally to our enjoyment. Can’t beat that type of subtraction!

    1. No, you can’t beat that! we did the same thing. Eliminated before and after care. Altered our work hours to be home earlier. Spend more time with the kids and each other. Love it!

  5. Thanks for a great post Robin! The Subtraction — I like it! I embraced this strategy with the new year. I don’t really consider it a resolution so much as a necessity. I am doing my best to get rid of what is not working in my life and adding only what is. To simplify and focus on what is important.

    Have a great week and thanks for sharing your beautiful scrapbooking!

  6. I love your scrapbooking, and I particularly adore the orange knock-knock joke! Great advice. It’s hard to know what can be subtracted, but I think The Subtraction makes you think long and hard about your priorities in life.

  7. I like subtracting, too! And yes, I’m one of those who isn’t a fan of resolutions. So to kick off 2012, I subtracted working full-time for one of my clients (looked at the numbers and it was a loss). I also subtracted – wait for it – coffee. OMG! So what has two weeks off of coffee and replacing it with green tea done for me? I’m sleeping eight hours a night. And I feel totally strange. I think it will take another month for me to fully adjust, but the benefits so far: when I’m awake I’ve actually felt awake, more alert, and yay, more writing! So I like your philosophy! (and congrats again:)…Good post.

  8. Robin – great post – I took some days after Christmas and cleared out a bunch of junk from my closets. Call it decluttering, call it subtraction. Whatever. It definitely lightened the load visually and mentally. I’ve got more to do, but I’m taking my time. I’m with you – resolutions set you up for failure, it’s your actions that get results and subtraction, in this hectic world, is a powerful move! Well done, friend. And congratulations on your BIG NEWS!!

  9. Too true. Less can definitely be more. I scaled back this year on various volunteer/social stuff to spend more time writing. You can’t do everything (at once). The house clutter… well, that task reminds me of that saying about painting the Forth Bridge. 😉

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