Do you ever look at your life and wonder why there are so many things you HAVE to do? How did you end up here? Surrounded by things that you don’t want to be doing, much less bringing you any joy. So much stuff. Countless obligations. Toxic people. I have found myself in that very space lately and I decided that life was too short to feel that way. I needed some changes.
Making a Change
I will never be any younger than I am today. (How’s that for a sobering thought?) Do I really want to be surrounded by these obligations, drowning in clutter, ducking phone calls from people that I don’t really want to hear from? All of this is draining me of life and happiness and weighing me down. I am feeling anxious just reading this.
At some point, I stopped being in control of things and let myself get railroaded by all kinds of outside influences. So I decided to make a change. I am re-evaluating each and every aspect of my life.
If it is an item, do I have to keep it for some reason (think tax forms)? Or is it useful and in good condition? Purge it. Clean it. Buy new. I have discovered that I have not bought myself new bras since my 7 year old was born. Wow. Time to fix that.
Moving on to obligations. Making the occasional batch of cupcakes for school is great. I love to bake. Being on 3 school committees that I don’t care about just because I feel I should? No thank you. Done with that. The book club that I love because we are reading the same book and being able to discuss it is something I look forward to? Totally keeping it.
Obviously as adults there are things that we just have to do. Doctors’ appointments, car repairs, taking the dog to the vet. That’s life. But the other things that are truly optional should be a choice. It is important to make the right ones.
Now for one of the toughest ones. People. There are people in our lives that we love and that we would never trade for anything. But even still, sometimes you need to set boundaries. Maybe you and your in-laws just do not see eye-to-eye. Can you stop seeing them? Probably not. But when your mother-in-law starts in AGAIN on her feelings on politics or child discipline, you can change your reaction. Try saying something like, “I know you have your opinions and I have mine. We aren’t going to change each other, so let’s talk about something else.”
You don’t have to sit and suffer in silence or worse, have an argument that has no purpose.
Maybe there are people in your life that you miss and would like to be closer to. Maybe it is a friend from college that you only talk to once a year now, but you miss your near daily gab sessions. Or a cousin that you used to be best friends with. Certainly, this is a two way street. But if it is important and would make you happy, make an effort. Reach out. Meet for coffee or a glass of wine. If you feel that maybe they don’t want to continue the friendship, it is ok to move on.
At least you know you tried and sometimes, all it takes is someone brave enough to take a chance.
Change: The Payoff
For me, this time of evaluation has made me feel like I am starting to put my time and energy into the things that are truly important to me—not just the “have-to’s.” And those things that are truly required but not necessarily fun? They’re a little less painful.