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Blog: Simplify Your Life
A Lesson From Erma Bombeck

I was helping a client clean out the other day and came across a bunch of books by Erma Bombeck -- I hadn't seen these in years! My mother used to love Auntie Erma's sense of humor, skewering suburban life in a way that someone mired in housework and child-rearing could. But Ms. Bombeck also tried to help her readers live life in the moment -- to worry less about appearances and really enjoy each moment for what it is.

Eat Less Cottage Cheese And More Ice Cream

In 1979, someone asked this famous humorist, "If you had your life to live over, would you change anything?" Her immediate answer was no -- but once she thought about it, she changed her mind. Soon after, Erma published a column expressing her true feelings (which has been illustrated into a lovely keepsake book called "Eat Less Cottage Cheese And More Ice Cream.") Much less snarky and more heartfelt than her usual brand of "housewife humor," her words have touched and inspired readers for more than 30 years. The world has changed, women are no longer just diaper-changers and meal-cookers -- but these sentiments are no less true now that we have full-time careers and houses full of expensive electronic gadgets and still not enough time with our loved-ones. Re-reading this column that my mother first taped to the fridge when I was in elementary school (but this time as an adult myself) made my eyes water -- isn't this really how we should all be living our lives?

"If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains. I would have cried and laughed less while watching television -- and more while watching life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more I love you's -- more I'm sorry's. But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it -- live it and never give it back."

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posted on: 12/27/2011 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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Discuss This Post

by Jackie Waddy-Jones on 1/4/2012 12:36:23 AM:

I loved Erma Bombeck because of her witty way of looking at everyday life. She is truly missed and there will never be anyone that can replace her. On the days when I'm feeling overwhelmed from playing Super Woman to the world I hide in the bathroom for 15 minutes with one of her books that make me roll with laughter and feel a lot better when I step out into the world.

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Simplify Your Life

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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