For me, birthdays are a time to reassess my life and set goals for the next year.
My family knows that. So my daughter wasn’t surprised when I asked this question on her birthday last Sunday.
“What are your goals for the year ahead?”
She had a quick answer. “Simple!” she said.
I understood where she was coming from because for the past month-and-a-half she has been renovating her house. Now the painters are there and she’s very tired of moving “things” around.
Next, I asked, “What other goals do you have?”
She responded, “Simple, simple, simple.”
What a wonderful goal!
It made me think how I could simplify my life. But just what is “simple” anyway? I know for sure that what seems simple isn’t always simple.
For example, we try to eat simple whole foods–fresh vegetables and fruits, organic meats, and very few processed foods.
Still, sometimes our simple meals aren’t so simple. Take soup, for instance. We have to cook a chicken for about an hour to make the stock. At the same time, brown rice is cooking in another pot.
Then, we wash and peel the veggies before cutting them up.
It makes delicious soup. But compare the time commitment to opening a can of Campbell’s soup with your electric can opener.
In his book “The Joy of Simple Living: Over 1,500 Simple Ways to Make Your Life Easy and Content,” stress management expert Jeff Davidson says we live in “a world gone complex.”
“If you look around and see that the world is getting more complex each day, and if you feel as if your own life is overly intricate, relax–you’re probably quite rational,” Davidson writes.
“It is not a figment of your imagination. It is not because you’re aging.
“Even if you’ve done nothing more than sit on the curb and twiddle your thumbs, life is becoming more complex.”
We have too many things to do, too much media bombarding us, too many errands to run, and especially too many “piles.”
In every life some piles will accumulate, says Davidson. Magazines, newspapers, bills, photographs, the daily mail. And in my case, file folders and paper.
But, says Davidson, “Piles by their nature represent complexity. The higher the stack . . . the more complexity the pile represents.”
Davidson suggests beginning by quickly sorting piles into four stacks: 1). important 2). urgent 3). interesting and 4). toss. And then go through the first three piles again to see if there are any more items that could be added to the fourth stack.
Achieving simplicity in your life starts with the simple notion that you are in control, so taking charge of your piles is a great way to begin.
Here are some other suggestions Davidson gives for kick-starting your simple life:
•make your own rules (you don’t have to buy every new gadget);
•forget the symbols of success (attempting to keep up with the Joneses is inherently complex);
•carve out personal time for yourself;
•inventory what needs fixing or updating; and
•practice doing less, but enjoying it more.
Why not begin simplifying your life today, and find the happiness and quality of life you deserve.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.visit-snider.com
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