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Rule #39: How come less is always more?


Hi friend! You’re probably asking yourself, who dis? I guess it has been a while since we’ve seen one another. I’ve spent the past year focusing on less is more, which turned out to be a lot less blogging. But I’m back and hoping we’ll be friends again.

For many of us- myself included- the past (nearly) two years have been a time of self-reflection, learning, unlearning, and just trying to make it through the day, sometimes just the hour or minute. We’ve been stuck in our bubbles for a while. We’ve discovered things about ourselves and our loved ones that only isolating together could show us.

Two years ago, we were hopeful that COVID wouldn’t be around for this long…but here we are. Places around the world are in lockdown again. COVID cases are rising throughout the USA, and hospitals are filling up while elective surgeries are being postponed.

And yet, a new year is upon us. We just ended a full year of living with COVID. A year of being fully vaxxed and then boostered vaxxed. A year of learning how to live with new COVID variants. Perhaps more importantly, it was a year of learning how to live with ourselves and our fellow humans.

When 2021 began, I wanted it to be the complete opposite of 2020.

When 2021 began, I didn’t want it to look anything like 2020. Did you? The main thing that needed to change was being home with my family 24/7. I love them but being with them all day, every day is a bit much. I didn’t want to manage working from home full-time while homeschooling my kids. Plus, the stress of 2020 was unsustainable for another year. I needed 2021 to be less stressful. Sure, there were still plenty of unknowns when the year started. But I needed to determine how to remove some of the stress from my life.

As 2021 approached, I chose a word that was just the opposite of my word for 2020. In 2020, I had chosen MORE as my word of the year. I had wanted to be more present with my kids, more mindful, spend more time on self-care, etc. And while all of that was good, COVID laughed in my face and said, “I’ll show you what more time with your kids is really like.” I love my kids, but 2021 needed to look as little like 2020 as possible.

The word I chose for 2021 was LESS.

At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t quite sure what less meant. I knew I needed less stress, less time with my kids, and less alcohol. (Yes, I had joined the bandwagon of people drinking to numb the stress of COVID.) But I was unsure as to where the word less would really take me. I certainly wasn’t expecting it to lead me to less is more.

As I reflect on what less has meant for me for the past year, it’s primarily meant living less into the expectations that culture and other people have for me. It has meant being less of who I think I should be, and more of being who I am and want to be. The year has been spent fighting off cultural expectations (productivity, perfectionism, being Wonder Woman) and living into the expectations I have for myself. But even getting to the point of determining who I want to be has been challenging. I didn’t realize just how engrossed I was with living into societal expectations.

There have been a lot of changes this year. I won’t get into all of them here (I will at some point), but suffice it to say that I’m not the same person that I was at the beginning of 2021. I am less stressed, less anxious, and less afraid of being honest. But let’s be real- honesty isn’t my superpower. Maybe it will be by the end of 2022.

During this past year, I also haven’t blogged much or shared what adoption looks like for our family. I simply haven’t had the bandwidth to do so. For the first few months of 2021, it was taking all I had to continue working full-time while homeschooling our kiddos. I have since quit my job and am focusing more on the whole less stress thing.

But I miss you!

Yes, you! I miss sharing life with you and having you on this journey with us. I plan on writing regularly again and sharing this wild Willard House Rules life with you. Blog posts may look a little different this time around. As I mentioned, I’ve gone on a path of self-discovery the past year. That sounds very woo-woo, but I’ve been listening to myself more over the past year. And honestly, I’ve been incorporating some of the woo into my life. Not a lot of woo, but a little woo.

If you’ve been around for a while, I hope you’ll stay on this journey with my family. If you’re new around here, I’d love to have you join us. Life is better when we can share the hard things together and connect in our vulnerabilities.

As we usher in 2022, I’ll leave you with my reflection about a year of less. Wishing you a year of loving kindness!

A year of less

by Lindsey Willard

I threw the to-do list out with the changing of the seasons
It needed to be released into the chill of January’s night
But it wouldn't leave until the warmth of summer began to fade
As autumn approached, I was finally living into a year of less
But all I could focus on as the new year began was less time
     with my kids
     inside the house
     worrying about COVID
     watching the news
     scrolling social media
I needed to breathe
Choosing less meant breaking from the reality I had created
Focusing on less throughout the year would surely mean more solitude and quiet time for myself
I was wrong
As I often am
A year of less was not about less time, less things, less noise, less family togetherness
Instead a year of less became a year of releasing everything that was making me less human
A year of less meant grieving my former self and way of life
I said goodbye to numbing my stress, pushing down my feelings, and trying to make others comfortable
A year of less became a year of
     self-discovery
     self-compassion
     self-acceptance
I released what no longer served me
I stopped selling God
And bought into my intuition as I approached life with more open-mindedness
Friends started to emerge
Life exploded with new possibilities
And the solitude I thought I was craving morphed into more connectedness with like-minded people
I entered into communities that were once distant lands
All the layers I had built to conceal my identity began to unravel
And continue to be revealed
As a year of less comes to an end
I am becoming more human.

P.S. I’m still deciding on a word of the year for 2022. I’ll keep you posted!

Willard House Rules transracial family autumn fall 2021
Back row: BW (9), Chris, Lindsey
Front row: MW (7), SW (5)

Life forever changed for Chris and me in May 2017 when we became a family of five. We are forever learning how to be parents, support our daughters, and navigate this thing called life as a transracial family through adoption.

We’d love to have you on this journey! Subscribe to the blog to learn when a new blog post is up, how we navigate being white parents to black children, and parenting tips discovered along the way.

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