Maybe it’s because the weather is beginning to cool off. Or maybe it’s because I’ve made some intentional choices as of late, but I feel like I just stepped off a merry-go-round, and yes, I’m a bit dizzy.
I’m going to keep it real, I’ve been struggling. I’ve spent more than a few days wondering what I’m doing-with my life, my career-where I’m going, where I’ve been and what I want.
Each time I think I have my finger on an answer to one of those questions, the pulsating beat of the universe nudges me off course.
I’ve been working like crazy for months now. It seems like the more hours I work, the more I realize that for me and my life, I actually come out financially ahead when I work less. It seems counter-intuitive but when I work less hours outside my home I find not only more creative time, but more time to actually engage in slow, simple pleasures like cooking most meals.
Every time I I try to work a lot with the aim to save the extra money, a funny thing occurs, I don’t seem to have much extra money. I mainly just trade money for time and I get caught up in the allure of convenience items like take out and drive-thru meals.
Pretty soon I start to feel like a little hamster on a wheel: wake, work, eat, sleep.
And when I’m on that cursed wheel I start feeling overwhelmed with what I call noise: I don’t want to work on my manuscript because I’ve already stared at that damned winking cursor in my word processing software all week while writing freelance articles. I don’t want to write blog posts because, well, there’s a cursor in WordPress, too. I don’t want to cook dinner because I’m tired from working all day.
This can go on for a while, then, somehow in the hustle and bustle of life, I make my way out of the din and reconnect with what I already know. It makes me feel like a lunatic, or at least an ultra-flaky person with the attention span of a gnat, when I step back and realize what I need to do and where I need to be is a place I’ve already visited before…a place where I thought I was satisfied, so I’m always a bit perplexed when I realize that I’ve strayed from.
I’m talking about simplifying.
It’s a concept that sounds short and sweet and uncomplicated. And for the most part it is…but simplifying also means saying no a lot more than yes.
No to spending more on fast food, convenience food and take out. No to working more hours. No to taking on more projects.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a great track record with saying no to commitments.
It’s a struggle for me sometimes, but I started saying no to a few requests and demands on my time in the past few days and not only did the world keep spinning, but I feel so much better.
There’s been a few moments this past week when I’ve felt my shoulders lift in relief. Moments where I felt myself breathe deeply and moments when I’ve had time to just be.
I’ve had time for contemplation. My writing-even my freelance writing-seems to flow more easily. I’m even blogging. Just because I want to.
I know that this can’t be a coincidence. I don’t think it’s by accident that my spirit feels lighter or that my work just happens to be bringing me true joy and fulfillment for the first time in a while.
I know that I feel this renewed sense of peace and accomplishment because I’ve stepped back, I’m doing less and focusing on those simple, every day pleasures like brewing up the perfect cup of coffee, visiting a winery with a friend and taking a walk through the park.
What are some of your favorite simple pleasures? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.