Tag Archives: simplicity

an authentic life

Since turning 30 in February, I guess I’ve been going through a bit of a mid-life crisis so to speak.  Like a lot of thirty-somethings I’m guessing, I thought my life would have been a lot different by now.  I expected to be married and have those three kids by now.  I thought I would have “it all figured out” and be a real live grown-up.  Honesty, I am so far from all of that.  I’m not married and I’m not even close to being married since I just ended a 10 year-long relationship.  I don’t have kids, a house, or a career that I’m passionate about.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m super grateful for all that I have, but I can’t help but wonder if there is more out there for me.

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living authentically.  To live an authentic life means aligning your beliefs, values, ideals, passions, goals, and self with your actions.  To live authentically means to be your true self and not pretend to be somebody you’re not to fit in.  This is easier said than done.  If I were to be honest with myself and others, I’m not living authentically.  My job at times embodies all that I think is wrong with society.  I eat food from unsustainable and unethical sources.  I buy products from and support companies that I know I shouldn’t, but do it out of laziness and convenience.  I talk about and read about simple living and doing what you love for a living, but I’m not doing it myself.  I have succumbed to societal pressure to buy an identity through consumerism and work an 8 to 5 job in a cubicle so I can retire at 65 years old with a 401k.

So why is living authentically so hard for me?  Is it fear?  Is it laziness?  Is it pure complacency?  I think it’s all three of those.  I’m afraid of being labeled, of being judged, of being an outcast.  I’m  afraid of failing.  So what’s a girl to do?  Take a risk or stay in the safe zone?  This is the question that weighs so heavily on my mind, that keeps floating in and out of my head.

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gratitude

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gratitude.  I read somewhere, in a book or online,  that gratitude is the key to happiness.  That resonated with me.  We get so caught up in the bad, that we totally forget about all the good in our lives to be thankful for.   So for the past couple of weeks I’ve been reciting what I’m grateful for in my life before bed.  It keeps me in check, puts the bad vs. good in perspective.  Just to share, here are a few things I am deeply grateful for in my life right now:

1.  My vision (eyesight, that is).  I can see, though not very well, I still can see the beautiful sunset, the ocean, my niece and nephew laughing and playing, etc.  From a person who has “complicated” vision, I can tell you that it is priceless to be able to see.  Through two years of exams, surgery, and Lasik scheduled soon, I’m on track to being able to see better.   And this I am thankful for beyond words.

2.  My friends and family.  Though I don’t have a big family or a ton of friends, I’m thankful for those in my life who care for me, and I for them.

3.  My cat.  Ha!  He makes me laugh, he satisfies my need to take care of something, and keeps me company when I’m alone.

4.  My job.  It keeps a roof over my head, bills paid, and food on the table.  Maybe it’s not my dream, but it’s been paving the way towards it everyday and every paycheck.

5.  My apartment and my car.  For the first time in my life, I feel secure where I live and with the car I have.  Neither are extravagant by any means, but I love my new place, and I love not worrying about my car breaking down everyday.  It’s peaceful right now, and I need peace in my life.

What are you grateful for in your life?  Take a couple of minutes and make a small list either on paper or quietly in your mind.  Recite that list to yourself whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by the bad.  It helps, it really does.

 


step one: shed my stuff to see what’s left

I’ve begun to declutter over the past month.  I’ve come to a point where I feel like the stuff is cluttering my mind, not just my home anymore.  I’m no hoarder by any means,  I live in a small one bedroom apartment, probably 400 square feet(?), which isn’t bursting at the seams with every subscription of “Oprah” and  “Real Simple” magazine ever printed and 30 cats making homes in-between the piles. 

But I do have:  more clothing then one person will ever need bursting from my small closet, plastic tubs of merchandise I slowly sell on eBay/amazon stacked against my tiny living room wall, cabinets full of kitchen ware, a bathroom full of products…you get the drift.

It’s all too much.  I can’t think straight.  Maybe I’m having a quarter life crisis? (I’m 29 and single once again!)  Whatever this shift in consciousness is called, I feel like I can’t function amidst all this crap.  As if it is blocking me from being creative, motivated, inspired, adventurous!  Those are the things I crave.  

Let’s be real, I probably have a whole bunch of issues (we will leave those for another day and another post) other than all the stuff, but first things first, the stuff must go.  Will I have 100 things by the time I’m done? Probably not, but who knows? Anything’s possible at this point.  My life must change so here I go.

So my first task is to declutter in order to see what’s left when I don’t have to put all my time and energy into the stuff.  My method of madness:

Everyday I donate, recycle, or throw away: 1 clothing and 1 non-clothing item. 

Somedays I get rid of more, somedays just the 2 things, but the most important part is that I can stick with this.  This blog will be a journal of my journey to……well, I’m not sure yet.