They say you should live together before you get married. (I don’t know if people actually say this or not, but it’s what I said after my boyfriend and I decided to move in together last Spring.) “You can’t marry someone before you live with them,” I said. “What if you find out you hate each other?!”
Like we would go from “til death” do us part to “til she-leaves-her-curling-iron-plugged-in” do us part.
I thought my friends were crazy when they tried to tell me that “living together” is hard. “What could be so ‘hard’ about it?” I asked. While neither of us had ever lived with a significant other before… we had both lived with other humans before. It’s not like we were strangers who found each other as roommates on Craigslist. We’re in a RELATIONSHIP. He’s my best friend. “We get along so well,” I said. “We don’t even fight!”
Our first fight was about a rug. Roughly about three days after “officially” living together.
When my friends hear this story – they all decide to put on their therapist-hats and insist that “It wasn’t really about the rug, was it?” Yea. It was really about a rug. There was no symbolism or hiding meaning or something “bigger” going on. It was REALLY just about a rug.
I should let you know that it took me three weeks to make a commitment on which color “accent” throw-pillows I should buy from Target. Do you REALLY think I sound like the type of easy-going-gal who’s going to pick out a $600+ rug by saying, “Meh, sure, that’ll do.”
“What about this one?” Kyle would ask, pointing out rugs that were patterned with tones of whites and.. other random colors. To be honest – I don’t remember what they all looked like. I just knew they weren’t… well…
Ugh. I hate being one of these women who says, “that’s not exactly what I’m looking for”, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. They didn’t match the pillows in our living room. They had weird textures or patterns. They weren’t the vision of a simple, classic white rug that I had in my head.
I know. I hate women like me too. This is probably why Kyle hasn’t proposed yet, because he doesn’t want to see me end up on Bridezillas.
“What about this one?” he pointed to a different one, and I was like “Ehhhh……”
“What’s wrong with it?” he asked. “It’s cream.”
“Is it…?” I asked. Which is apparently my way of pretending to consider it. By asking my boyfriend to defend his choice/vision/knowledge of colors. “It looks sort of… brown.” I said. “Don’t you think it looks brown? Maybe it’s the lighting.”
“You think it’s brown?”
“I mean, kind of. It just looks… I don’t know. It almost looks dirty, don’t you think?”
“How can you think that’s brown?” He asked. “It’s cream. It’s not brown.”
“I know it’s cream. But it looks like a brownish-cream.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“Stand over here and look at it.” I suggested, pulling him toward my side of the rug. I don’t know why I thought this would make a difference. But, you know. Maybe the lighting is different on his side? “Do you see it?” I asked. “See how it looks dirty?” He looked at the rug, and then back at me, and then the rug, and then me.
“What are you TALKING about?” He finally asked.
“You really don’t see that?”
“See what?” Holy crap. “Jenn, this rug isn’t brown. It’s cream.”
“I’m not SAYING it’s brown. I’m saying it has brown TONES.”
Eventually a sales associate noticed us wandering around this jungle of not-quite-cream-colored rugs and must have heard us bickering. “What are you looking for?” She asked.
“A rug,” Kyle said. Meanwhile I was like – “But we’re looking for more of a cream colored rug? But not TOO cream. You know how cream colors can have that, like, brown tint or, like, more of a white tint? We need one with more of a white tint. But not TOO white. We don’t want a white rug, we want a cream rug. But, like, the right shade of cream? It needs to go with our couch.”
“What color is your couch?” She asked.
“Gray.” We both responded. (And of course I had to add, “But like, a dark gray? Not like a regular gray… you know?” I don’t know why I felt this was important. I wasn’t trying to get her to sell me a couch. But maybe if she understood the depth of gray that was the color of our couch – I could get her on my side for the whole “cream, not brown” debate.)
“Well, this rug would go well in any room.” She said, referencing the dirty looking rug we were arguing about.
OF COURSE she said that. At first it caught me off guard – like I was expecting her to say, “Oh, no, this is not the rug for you. This one looks dirty and gross. Maybe you should check another furniture store!” Yea, right.
“My girlfriend thinks it looks brown.” Kyle told her. I don’t think he rolled his eyes – but I’m pretty sure he wanted to.
“Oh, this isn’t brown.” She assured me. “You could put this next to your gray couch, and I’m sure it would look fine.”
Oh sure, I thought. Take his side.
“I don’t know.” I told her. “It’s just not what I’m looking for.” Did Kyle really not see the brown tint? Did he not think we could find a better rug? DID I EVEN KNOW HIM AT ALL?
“Jenn, we need a rug.” He said. “What’s wrong with this one?”
Well, for one, it’s brown.
The woman who had come over to help was slowly starting to slink away. “Why don’t you both take some time to think it over?” she suggested.
So that’s what we did. We parted ways (in the store). I went pouting in one direction, and he went storming off in another. (Okay, so I don’t remember if he necessarily ‘stormed off’ – but he definitely walked away thinking, “My girlfriend doesn’t know what the color ‘brown’ looks like.” He wouldn’t tell you he was thinking that, but I’m sure he was. Because I was thinking, “My boyfriend doesn’t know what the color ‘cream’ looks like.”)
After pouting around the store for a few more minutes, we finally stumbled onto another rug. (Well, okay, I stumbled onto it and dragged Kyle over and he agreed – in his pouty, pissed off, ‘this is taking too long and I’m hungry’ voice – “Yea, I like this one. Let’s buy it and get out of here.”
So that’s what we did.
Alright – so maybe the ending is a little anti-climactic, but the point of this story wasn’t about the rug.
I mean – it kind of was. It was an expensive rug, and it was important that we both like it. And yes, in hindsight, MAAAAYBE we were both a little stressed about the adjustment of moving in together (which is totally and 100% normal, by the way) and we were taking it out on the rug. But at the end of the day, guys? It’s still just a rug.
It’s just a stupid rug.
It doesn’t matter. Not really. Not in the grand scheme of things. But this is the time of year, especially, when I notice that people are – well, a little EXTRA stressed out. A little more cranky about things. Some lady flipped me off in a parking lot because I was waiting for her spot.
Well, okay. Five minutes before that I honked at a guy who was in front of me because HE was sitting there waiting for someone else’s spot and I couldn’t help thinking, “ohmygosh would you just GO already?! I can’t get around you! JUST GO FIND ANOTHER SPOT.” *BEEP BEEP*
So, yea. Whatever. I’m not exactly an angel either. The holidays are STRESSFUL, ya’ll.
That’s why I’ve come up with seven little reminders to keep things simple. Life doesn’t have to be a big ball of stress all of the time – but even when it is, it doesn’t have to FEEL like it. You don’t have to throw a tantrum in a furniture store like a two year old, or honk at some guy just because you’re being impatient. The world is not trying to “get you” or personally attack your character – 95% of the time, it’s really just about a stupid rug.
- Start in the morning.
- Let’s not pretend I’m a morning person, okay? Evvvvvvery night I tell Kyle that I’m going to wake up when he does (at 6 AM) and go to the gym before work. But that’s only happened once. All of the other days, I was like ‘Uh.. you know what sounds better than working out? NOT working out.’ And then I sleep for another half hour before I need to get up to get my day started. BUT then I go to the gym later – because THAT’S what works for ME. We’re not all the same, guys. It’s okay.
- My point is – it’s important to have a morning routine that WORKS FOR YOU. If you don’t want to go to the gym in the morning, don’t go to the gym in the morning. Go in the evening. Do whatever you need to do in the morning. I personally like to wake up, make some coffee/eat breakfast, and watch the news for a few minutes before I jump in the shower (because I’m basically 85 years old). Then I make a list of everything I need to get done that day. I do this EVERY SINGLE MORNING. And it works for me. It’s important to have a routine that gets your day started on the right foot, making you more productive and positive all day long.
- Take a deep breath.
- I’m not going to tell you to meditate. This is not that kind of blog. I mean – I kind of *want* to tell you to meditate, because it’s really trendy right now and I like to pretend that this is a trendy lifestyle blog – but, I just can’t. I’ve tried meditation. I’ve tried sitting in a chair, or on the floor after yoga, or laying in bed – and I tried to just… meditate. Focus on breathing. Don’t think about anything. Be present. It’s hard. You’d think it would be easy, but it’s hard. It makes me feel hokey. It makes me feel like I should be saying “ohm” and burning incense.
- So I’m not telling you to meditate. I’m telling you to take a deep breath. When you’re stressed. When you’re annoyed. When you want to honk at someone in the car. Just, tell yourself to slow down, and take a deep breath. Collect yourself. Realize what you’re doing and where your head is at. It doesn’t have to be in a negative, cranky place. Don’t forget – sometimes IT’S JUST A RUG.
- Stop complaining.
- Yea, the mall is crowded. Everyone and their brother is going Christmas shopping. YEA, other people are cranky. Who cares? Why does that give you a free pass to get on their level? STOP COMPLAINING. It doesn’t make anything better. It just makes you more miserable when your brain is sitting there registering, “Yea. This thing/place/weather sucks. I’m mad about it.” Being mad about the weather won’t change it. So just, like, get over it.
- Be grateful.
- I’m not going to tell you to start a ‘gratitude’ journal. Again – not that kind of blog. (But if you want to – by all means, go for it. I tried it once and kind of forgot about it after day three. But if you want to try it – I think it’s an awesome idea!) I’m not telling you to get all hippie and be grateful for blue skies and birds and whatever. It’s important to appreciate those things – but, let’s get real. Most of us don’t have the TIME to write down ‘birds’ in our gratitude journal every day.
- Appreciate the good things in your life. Find a way. I once heard Kellie Pickler say in an interview: “I am BLESSED” when the journalist simply asked how she was doing. I don’t know if I’m Southern enough (I’m not) to start incorporating that into my daily jargon, but I thought it was a nice reminder. The truth is, I am blessed – and it’s something I’ve tried to remind myself every single day. I have great friends, a wonderful family, and an amazing boyfriend who I can argue with in a furniture store and then be best friends again five minutes later. I have a job that I love, a blog that I’m passionate about, and so many things to be thankful for. I AM BLESSED.
- Be relentless.
- Think about who you want to be – the “positive, happy image” of you… and just go out into the world AS THAT PERSON. Sometimes it can feel like putting on a Halloween costume, but it’s not. You’re re-training your brain to be the best version of yourself and react to things as THAT VERSION OF YOU would. You’re growing. Don’t give up. Even when you feel yourself slipping and have to fight the urge to beep at someone in a parking lot. Chill out. Start over. Every second of every day is a chance to start over. Be that version of yourself that you WANT to be.
- Focus on your own stuff.
- It’s soooo easy to get caught up in someone’s Instagram account. Sally went on vacation in Aruba. Why can’t I go on vacation in Aruba? What is Sally doing that I’m not? No wonder she looks so happy. She looks so happy because it’s Instagram and that’s the point of Instagram. If someone looked at your Instagram – they’d say you look happy all of the time too. And also – WHO CARES what Sally is doing? You’re doing your own cool stuff. FOCUS ON THAT. Focus on your blog, or your career, or whatever cool stuff you’ve got going on at the moment. STAY IN YOUR LANE.
- Dress up.
- You know what I mean. Don’t go out into the world wearing a ball gown every day. I just mean… sometimes it’s EASIER – or feels easier, at least – not to put make-up on. Or pants. Sometimes you just feel like rolling out of bed, pulling your hair back, and putting on some leggings. WHO CARES WHAT THE WORLD THINKS? YOU ARE STRESSED AND HAVE A LOT OF THINGS TO DO AND JUST WANT TO BE COMFY.
- I feel way more motivated when I’m “dressed” – and by “dressed”, I mean, make-up. Jeans. A cute outfit. Hair some-what done. Jewelry. Ya know. All the stuff. Dressing like you’re going to see an old friend or something. Looking like the human version of yourself instead of the tired, leggings, stressed-out version of yourself. Trust me – it can make ALL the difference in your attitude and your motivation. If you look good, you’ll feel good!
Hopefully these tips were helpful! Let me know how YOU simplify your life in the comment section!