I recently moved to a rural part of New Jersey for a little while. I’m not sure how long I’ll be here, but at least a couple of months. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? Instead, I’ve hardly had a free minute. When we end up in a new situation the tendency is to focus on the core important things in our lives.
For me this has been food, a gym, Starbucks with internet, and the program I am attending here. Nothing else has mattered. At home, I would’ve been planning with friends, or checking out a store, or walking by the river, or..
We add increasing complexity to our lives over time. Larger changes force us back to a basic routine. We have no choice in the matter! Over time, we re-complicate our lives again with people, events, and to dos. This can be an intentional or unintentional choice.
My challenge to myself (and you, dear reader), is to only add back layers that truly add lasting value. I haven’t been able to buy anything on Amazon for a few weeks, and I haven’t suffered in the least. I haven’t been able to cook in awhile, and that’s been okay. I have seen lots of family, read a lot, and exercised once or twice a day. I’ve made new priorities based on the most essential parts of my day.
My goal is to look back in a month and again in three months, and see my life and time filled with meaningful activities. It’s startling how easy it is to become “busy”. Unfortunately, “busy” doesn’t mean happy. The more things I’ve acquired, the more people I’ve met, the more commitments I’ve made to objects and humans, the less happy I become over time. I wake up stressed. I go to bed stressed. Most people I know operate on this level. Sure, it comes in waves with work or family commitments.
Room in our lives is a good thing for two main reasons:
1. It forces us to focus on the 2 or 3 things that are most important within a day
2. It cuts out excuses for not doing these 2 or 3 things
These are significant for a couple of reasons. The largest is that we often have 5 or 6 different options for any give period of time. Just getting off work – should you exercise, grocery shop, grab a drink with a friend, go see the football game with coworkers..? How do you know what to do? When do you fit in reading a book or working on that side project?
Our constant prioritization of our lives throughout each day is both challenging and draining. Humans aren’t neurologically programmed to make this many internal decisions every single day. We are horrible at it.
This is where stress, sleep deprivation, eating for comfort, and even libido issues tend to come from. It’s all connected. I’m not saying to quit your job and move to a cabin in the woods. Instead, take stock of all your priorities like you would after a major life change.
Choose how you spend your time. Be the driver of your life, rather than having the choices you made in the past drive your days.