Have you ever wondered what you are actually going to do with your time once you simplify?
Most of my youth was spent being social, filling up my calendar with to-do’s, and trying to out-do my own self from the previous day. I always felt like I should be doing more, being more, and have a crammed schedule to be productive. My childhood and high school self achieved many awards, popularity contests, and excelled above the rest in athletics. I went on to college and thrived academically, became a college cheerleader, worked a job while I studied, and made many friends and memories. Two days after college graduation, I began my full-time working career.
My twenties were spent balls to the wall chasing the American dream. I had a great job with benefits, got married, moved a few times, bought a house, got pregnant, and became a mom.
On paper, it sounds like a beautiful life. Perhaps I sound snobish, or super-privaliged. Yes, I have been blessed beyond measure but no pretty story goes without trials and a lot of dang work.
As I reflect on my current life, I can say that I have achieved my childhood dreams:
- College Graduate
- Employed with benefits
- Home Owner
- Able to support myself & live on my own
And I am very proud of my achievements, I must say.
However, as I turned 30 and reflected within, I realized that I feel empty. The emptiness is there because I am missing some key points. I am:
- Spending money I do not have; credit card debt
- Forgoing my passions for a lifestyle that doesn’t fit my authentic self
- Being so busy I forgot who I am
- Giving so much to others, not taking care of myself
- Not prepared for disaster; poor financial management, uncertain of my ability to cope, anxiety issues.
- Not loving myself for who I am; body issues, neglect, ragged-out, not making time for a passionate, intentional life
After I realized where my frustrations were coming from, I knew I had to make some drastic change.
Most of all, I want to live an intentional, passionate life.
I am responsible for creating the life I want. We are all responsible for our own lives and creating the life we want. Unfortunately, sitting back and waiting on our life to change without doing the hard work just won’t get the job done.
While simplifying your schedule is wonderful, and de-cluttering is fantastic, there is still a lot of internal change and external action that has to be done as well.
- Identify issues & create solutions. No problem can be solved without a solution. I’ve heard that complaints without a solution is called whining. So, instead of continuing to feel empty and whiny I am making some change that is making a big impact. I now have simplified my wardrobe. Decisions about my appearance have become easier. Laundry is drastically less, meaning more time at home snuggling baby-girl instead of washing and folding clothes. I opened my etsy shop and have been creating passionate work, I am writing an eBook, and am writing here on Mrs. Minimalist. Debt is being reduced due to a financial plan, and I am being gentle on myself. I make time to enjoy a bubble bath in the evenings, streamline mealtimes, and am not spending money as a sport.
- Spending time wisely. Are you comfortable in silence? I used to not be, but now I crave it. I don’t think I am ever wasting time, even if I am sitting on my tush staring at the walls. If time is enjoyed being wasted, it is not wasted time. I have a lot more free time since I am living a more deliberate, intentional life. At first, it seemed strange. There seemed to be more time in the day than I remembered. I can create, imagine, play, and relax. That’s what I want to be doing anyways, so I feel refreshed, I can think clearer, and enjoy myself.
- Get rid of busy work. Focus on the most important things to do during the day. Just because you are bustling around crazy doesn’t mean you are doing anything important. Pick the most important things to do for the day, and accomplish those. For me it is, getting to work on time, doing my most important work related tasks for my employer, designing on my etsy shop for additional income, writing on Mrs. Minimalist, working on my eBook, spending time with my family, relaxing, and getting a good night’s rest. These are my most important things. I am focusing on my work, passions, family, and myself all in a day’s work. If the dishes have to go an extra day, and trivial e-mail doesn’t get answered, then oh, well!
- Practice gratefulness. If you have already gotten rid of tedious tasks, the extra time may seem unusually empty. Enjoy this space. You will notice that you will start getting to know yourself and your thoughts again. Put into action what you are wanting to accomplish. More exercise? Go outside. More family time? Turn off your social media and play with your kids. Better relationship? Turn off the television and snuggle and talk with your spouse. Don’t expect this to just happen on its own. You have to create it.
- Do what you have always wanted to do. We are not a slave to our jobs, money, or other people. We are in charge of our time and our life. Do something you have always wanted to do. Get out of your comfort zone. Starting my etsy shop was a passion I always wanted to do. I made it happen. I want to write an eBook. I am working on it. I was scared to get my thoughts out on a blog, but here I am. I want to be an inspiration. I want my work to matter. I want to make a difference in my own life and others.
Life is a journey. Once we realize that we are in charge of our time, we can then truly make our dreams come true. It is powerful to make positive change in our lives. Sometimes, starting in the right direction is all it will take. Work hard on what matters most, and let go of the rest. Breathe deeply and take care of yourself first. Be grateful for who you are and what you already have. Be the inspiration you always wanted to be.