Remembering Life Lessons

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The more I make my way through this thing we call Life, the more I’m realizing that things don’t really work the way I thought they would. This is not a bad thing. I’ll explain.

I’ve always been one of those Achiever-type people; someone who always wants to get to the next level. I set my sights on all of the merit badges. I worked hard to get promoted to the next level of whatever I was doing—gymnastics, math, imaginary levels in my head of the depth of friendship relationships. In my mind, life worked like video games. You work hard, then level up. Repeat.

As I’ve made my way into adulthood, however, I’m finding it’s not really like that. In a lot of ways. What’s been on my mind lately is that Life isn’t a staircase. Instead, it’s like a big swirly ice cream cone. We’re always moving—mostly upwards—but lessons often need to be learned, then circled back around to learn again. Probably in a deeper way the next time around.

Recently, I’ve been ruminating on the “less is more” concept. I’m sure I wrote a journal entry about this back in 2008 when I was trying to get my body, my finances, and my spirit back in check. I had just started a new job that was overwhelming and exhilarating all at once and I needed to be more thoughtful in how I lived my life so that I wouldn’t burn up in a big ball of Feelings and Stress. It kicked off a very nice time for me; I learned that I could accomplish more for myself than I ever thought possible. Fast-forward to now, and while my situation is different, I can easily say that my life is often the a similar whirlwind of emotion, sometimes/often careening out of a the balanced place I once built for myself. So I am returning to this lesson. Less is More. This is how I’m doing it:

  1. Less food. Why is this so hard to remember? Focusing on the little heightens my enjoyment. It also equals fewer stomach aches. I should probably get this tattooed on my forearm.
  2. Less sitting around. Walking to work makes me love life. I get a chance to reflect on my day, to brainstorm ideas, to say “hi” to bunches of cats, and to use my muscles. Can’t get better than that.
  3. Less stewing over bad things. Quite often I’m reading too much into other peoples’ behavior, anyway. I’m not psychic, so I don’t need to pretend that I am.
  4. Less activity just to be busy. Time is a precious commodity, so I don’t need to be spending it on pursuits that I don’t truly enjoy. Making time for family and friends is more important than trying out five fish taco recipes (unless I really want to try out five fish taco recipes.) Don’t get stuck in the “I have to” mindset; even at work, what I feel obligated to do is often my own making.

I’ve been away from Sweet Athena for a while, trying to figure this stuff out. While I don’t have all of the answers yet, I’m looking forward to using some of my time to get back into the happy habit of exploring Life and sharing about it here. One baby step at a time.


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