(Sounds like: Je + oosh)
How do you Zhoosh? Are you a good Zhoosher? Have you been to The Zhush?
Well, the concept has been on my mind lately because I know many “zhooshers”. I’m friends with them, and follow them on social media. I am related to them, and I come from one. And though it is in my blood, it wasn’t until I started working for one, that I’ve become more aware of the state and trajectory of my zhoosh. What I’ve noticed is that while I love and appreciate big picture zhoosh and pour over all things interior like melty fabrics, colors, paint, textures, you name it, the act of “zhooshing” has been challenging for me until recently. And if I were Carrie Bradshaw this is the part where I’d say something like, “I couldn’t help but wonder, why was my zhoosh taking a snooze?” ie. “When did I take my zhooshy-mallow out of the fire? And why!?” (Also, P.S. who doesn’t love a zhooshy-mallow?)
To clarify: I’m not talking about striving for not-a-thing-out-of-place perfection. Heavens no, it doesn’t appeal nor is it possible. That can be peep territory if you’re not careful. I’m also not talking about wanting more, more, more, materialism. Or having the “it” thing. Nuh-No. I just mean “zhooshing it up” every now and then. Fluffing things up with a flower arrangement, lighting candles, moving furniture around, eating on china, making a great Easter basket or cute little Valentines, painting something a different color, switching out pillows. Breathing new life into your existing space. Do you do this? I need to know.
So, I think I can see what the state of my zhoosh has been as a direct result of starting to head in a new direction. But let’s just say up to this point my zhoosh would plead guilty to the following charges:
-On any given day after being out for a few hours, coming home to notice my bed is unmade, I would check the time to see if it was worth making it. (I mean because I don’t have 3 minutes? And what’s the cut-off, 3:00 proceed, but 5:00 hold off?)
-I tend to light candles more when we are having people over, or If we are in a diaper-induced dire strait. Which reminds me I need to go light a candle.
-Flowers are usually for other people or a party.
-I have a stack of mail that never leaves an area of the counter
-I have a high tolerance for mess, and my car is a whole other situation that I’m not sure I’m tackling yet.
I’m also the person who upon receiving something like a great bubble bath contemplates and sometimes follows through with re-gifting it to someone else, only to purchase myself a more economical option that I won’t feel guilty using. But I love a bath and take one every night, so why not just use it? I’ve basically never spruced up my yard, and many plants come to my house to die. I didn’t even order my wedding china until like 5 years into being married. You should see the tables my mom sets. Days in advance of the actual event. I have not done this. Ever.
But, in the last few months I am noticing that my snoozing zhoosh is waking up, my zhooshy-mallow is moving back to the fire. The china has made an appearance or two, candles sometimes daily, yard is a-sprucing. Patio soon to be painted. I’m hanging new art, framing stuff that’s been sitting around too long, and even tackling my misc. mail pile. This just happens to coincide with these 3 things:
- Baby– “New Baby” is now about to be 1. Praise be, as hard as graduating from those sweet tiniest baby days can be, it doesn’t hurt to feel a little more free. From about 3-6 months into his life, I have had many clear-headed energetic days because he’s such a good baby. We have had many heart-exploding melty-goodness-filled days. But so far, I’ve also learned that with kids you just never know when any one of your reserves is going to be depleted to zero and below. No matter how full of a start you get. Be it rest (pretty sure I’m contemplating a nap at most red lights and I’m about to fall asleep right now actually), energy, patience, creativity, health, etc. they can all be zapped in a matter of minutes and out of nowhere. All it takes is a week of teething, moving into a big girl bed, giving up a pacifier, or taking on a stomach bug to leave you wandering aimlessly on auto-pilot, going through “The Motions”. “The Motions” in case you don’t know is a scary movie about these invisible garments that unknowingly get placed on you. They keep your head down, block peripheral vision, and feel pretty heavy so you really just focus on what you’re doing as if it’s a rep while exercising. They make you very tired and uninspired. Just. Get. Through.It. “The Motions” is based on a true story but is not all real. The antidote to “The Motions” is Grace, which also acts like a kind of garment but is more closely akin to armor. It keeps you safe, free, joyful and is practically weightless. And with kids, everyone needs grace for themselves and for everyone else. The grace to allow yourself time to rest, to resist being on the go go go. To understand that having it all might mean not having it all at the same time. To shift your understanding of what “it all” actually is, and notice that there is some of “it” in every single day. It is new every morning….and zhooshing for all its proclivity toward fluff might be a very practical way to stay present in a day.
- The zhoosher I work for, a professional zhoosher, and decorator: (pics above) One day recently, while in the midst of an anachronistic but rather enjoyable early retirement, I found myself on a breakfast stop between a spin class and a golf lesson (no joke). I ran into Kate, a lifelong friend of the family, while I was in the midst of some what-to-do-with-my-life processing. Within 6 months prior to this meeting I had had lots of major shifts, including but certainly not limited to, selling a business I’d been a part of for 5 years, moving houses, and having a second child. Kate and I went our separate ways after breakfast that day and then ended up being on the same page several days later about wanting to work together. Sort of one of those times that feels like a “God thing” and then later just comfortably is. In addition to being on a path toward decor, the joy of being around people and their spaces, learning about them through what they hold dear, and seeing how essential a home can be to the picture of a person and a family is a real gift too. It also makes me consider my own from a different angle. It’s fun and creative and chaotic but organized. It melts my zhooshy-mallow. And furthermore, hear this, it makes me make my bed! Honest to God I made my bed the other night at 10PM. Which is not only so far past the 3 PM cut-off, it’s actually like an hour past my own bedtime. It’s absolutely wild and crazy folks.
- Restoration– Leading me to point 3, Restoration. As I mentioned, there had been some shifting. Where a combination of life events within a span of around 5 years, had me running fast, being busy, but wasn’t yielding the fruit nor the results I was hoping for. I was mainly just busy, busy with a side of anxiety. But by the very grace of God, at the beginning of 2017, during my third trimester, I sort of just gave up, but in a good way. I’m not talking about apathy, I mean instead that I gave up control and the independence of trying to do x,y,z actions to get x,y,z results. The fruit has followed, and the restoration too, and the zhoosh seems to be a part of that. Because! What I’ve realized, is what every needle-point pillow and Instagram quote will tell you: every day is a GIFT. It’s cliche for a reason.
In conclusion…. Big dreams yes, big plans yes, but don’t forget about your day. Each little thing can be a significant part of that gift. The people you run into, and the way your day changes unexpectedly. Knowing when you’re able to rest and doing it while also taking note of when you’re super energized and why. It’s not a distraction from that big thing, it is the actual thing. I am learning that within the frame of a single day it is by all means the perfect time to wear your clothes, light your candles, use the bubble bath, and make your bed. Spend time pouring over wisdom, and pouring into your people. Just, remember to melt your mallow and restore those places that you think might have hit snooze. And if you haven’t in a while, you might just need a little zhoosh to help you get there!