New Traditions

Wintery trees in Pink

Do you decorate?

I’ve always adored holiday decorations. Or, at least, I used to, before I had adult responsibilities and recognized that I was short on space. (Clutter didn’t bother me as much as a child.) Even the holiday decorations in stores made me giddy, and I dreamed of which “style” I would put up if I were grown up and had my own home.

Now I am, and I do, but I’m not very interested in decorating. Which makes me sad.

In fact, I’ve become less interested in decorations the bigger my home has gotten. I put more effort into decorating when I was 21 – and squished into a small apartment with 3 other people – than I do now. I don’t know why.

Well, yes I do. Now my priorities are different. My business is my focus. My studio has expanded exponentially with each move we’ve made, thereby rendering any “bigger space” irrelevant. I also grew to hate clutter, in part because I spend all my time in a messy studio. It doesn’t help that I try to be all minimalist and Zen. It’s hard to fit multicolored lights and reindeer into that.

Of course I still dream of living in a giant house that looks like the Pottery Barn threw up on it, with a roaring fireplace, mugs of cocoa and fresh pine branches everywhere. Pine branches are minimalist, right? Vacuuming never factors into my vision. I live in a small condo, most of which is taken up by art and art supplies, and that’s my choice. And I’m happy with my lifestyle. Really.

I think the part that makes me sad about my current predicament is that I see decorating, for any season, as an example of personal expression. Whether you prefer traditional, kitschy, or modern, it’s a reflection of one’s style. I’m not getting to express my style.

It’s also a way to mark the passage of time. As it stands now for me, there’s very little difference between Winter and Summer, except the heat, and the commercials on TV. I hang a few ornaments in the window. We get a little rosemary tree for the counter. That’s about it.

We don’t even buy each other gifts, which always shocks people, and that amuses me. It’s one of our favorite choices in life. We hate accumulating stuff we don’t need. And if we need anything, we make those decisions when they happen. We like to travel together as much as possible. Our money is spent in a way we enjoy. We much prefer to save for and spend on experiences together.

Don’t get me wrong; I fully intend to fulfill my wintery decor dreams at some point in my life. But not now.

We leave for a tropical journey tomorrow, a very un-traditional way to start the holiday season, and we’re thrilled with that. What does traditional even mean anymore? It’s a cultural habit either way. We want to choose how we spend our time, with thought and intention, rather than being swept up in the chaos. It’s hard to fight. The chaos is thick, and heck, sometimes it’s enjoyable too. But in a life with so many distractions, we want to create our own memories. We want to live the life of our dreams. Being together in a place we adore is what we wanted.

I can’t think of anything to be more Thankful for.

Written by Shayla Maddox for Art & Musings

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About ShaylaMaddox

I paint, and travel, and absorb the universe. And then I paint about those things. My work is a blend of science, Zen style, and Sacred Geometry. I am inspired by stars, moons, sunsets, tropical beaches, humidity, coloring books, crayons, glo-worms and lite-brites, the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade, Jules Verne, The Science Channel, ancient technology and civilizations, the study of the universe, spirituality, stained glass windows, sea glass, telescopes, down-tempo music, Zen wisdom, rainbows, fireflies, water and light.

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