When I was a child, my maternal grandparents lived in Niagara Falls, New York. My family would visit them every summer. I have lots of wonderful, vivid memories of their home.
Wiffle golf balls tied to strings at the back of the garage to guide my grandparents to perfect parking.
A tandem bicycle for after-dinner rides.
A next door neighbor with a trampoline.
And...an antique commode (or potty) that was used as an end table in the family room.
This potty is a cool piece of furniture, in fact, I secured it for myself when it was time to divide my grandparents’ possessions. It’s sitting right next to me in my office as I type this:-)
However cool the potty, for me, the best part of it was what sat on top.
Piled precariously high atop this ancient necessity was a stack of magazines. Women’s magazines. Redbook, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping. Months worth of glossy pages just waiting to be explored.
I loved that pile.
It represented to me all that was possible as an adult. I could have a beautiful home, make delicious meals and have lots of time to sit and read magazines. (Truth be told, I rarely recall my grandmother sitting down to read a magazine)
I guess this is where my love (bordering on obsession) of magazines was born.
In my teens and twenties, I spent lots of time paging through fashion and celebrity magazines. I’d carefully cut out images and collage anything that would hold up to spray mount….closet doors, locker doors, dorm room walls. It was like living in a Pinterest board. Way before Pinterest:-)
Recently, my love of magazines has become a bit of a problem.
I currently have 10 basically unread magazines in my bedroom. By ‘basically unread’ I mean that I’ve cracked a few open...but haven’t found time to actually enjoy the entire issue.
At this stage of my life, magazines taunt me.
Thanks to my husband’s airline miles, I’m regularly solicited by the Miles for Mags folks. And I usually cave. After all, there’s no cost and there are so many great titles available in exchange for a few miles.
And if I'm actually paying for the magazines, I concluded some time ago, that it’s far more economical to have a subscription to a publication than to buy each issue at the newsstand. I mean, the savings is ridiculous.
The problem with a subscription is...they just keep coming.
Month after month after month.
And...I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to magazines.
I want to save each new issue until the perfect afternoon arrives...
and my schedule is clear...
and the light is just right...
and I can curl up and devour the issue from cover to cover.
In such an ideal setting, I just know I'd benefit from all of the promises, with lots of time for the proper oohing and aahing over all the beautiful images, getting lost in the glossy pages!
However….and I’m quite sure you can already guess the trouble…
Those idyllic afternoons are few and very far between. Or a fantasy altogether.
So, a new issue arrives. Snug in it’s plastic safety cover. I give it a place of honor next to my nightstand.
And I wait.
Then, astonishingly fast, the next ‘new issue’ arrives. What?! I haven’t even taken the plastic off of last month’s issue.
My work requires that I stay current on all things style and organizing. So, reading magazines could be considered ‘Research and Development’ for my work at Anthropologie and The Together Act.
However, as I continue to simplify my life...I'm having a struggle with the magazine pile.
"feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy."
Here's what happens in my mind...
Every time I glance at the pile, I begin to feel guilty that I’ve never opened these amazing tomes of information. I’m fooled into thinking that the answer to a better life is within those unread magazines. Each issue containing information that will surely improve my world.
And I also I feel bad about all of the paper wasted and energy/resources required to bring the issues to me.
I feel crummy about my too busy life.
I beat myself up.
How can I not find time to read a magazine? Or six?
Even with a pile at home, the pull of a new issue is strong. If I'm in the grocery store for a few items mid-week...I spy a new issue of a magazine that I don’t have a subscription to...and I honestly consider buying it! Until I remind myself that I have 10 unread magazines already at home!
All this to say that I need a new plan.
It’s time to simplify my magazine reading program.
After all, I'm saving them like they're a great Guilty Pleasure, but I'm missing the pleasure part.
I’m not sure if making time to read the magazines will make me want to keep receiving issues or have the opposite effect. I’m certainly aware that most magazines repeat the same basic fluff every few months...so what am I really going to gain by reading 5 or 6 magazines every 30 days? Just typing it makes it seem exhausting!
I want to love magazines again.
Or, I want to realize that my love affair with glossy page has come to an end.
Something needs to change.
Either the pile or my outlook.
I’m going to schedule some magazine time on my calendar.
Then, once I’ve spent some time actually reading the magazines, if I don't feel like I’m gaining anything...I’m going to cancel the subscriptions.
The miles can expire or add up to equal a fabulous trip!
Guilt. What a waste.
Our mind decides we should feel bad or worse, inadequate...and so we do. We spend precious minutes of our one and only life feeling a sense of self-imposed yuck.
What’s making you feel guilty?
How would you feel if you just let it go?
Please share your thoughts...
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Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,