03 October 2013

Stealing Time Back For Your Life

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Monday I was chatting with a friend and we were talking about all the things we WANT to do and then all the things we HAVE to do. We both made some comment about the need to "steal" or take time back for ourselves from all our responsibilities.

Then the real story came to light. Our time is for our lives, for our self-care and to create a life for ourselves. Our chief responsibility in life is to make ourselves into something beautiful, useful and of worth. Yes that also means home, family, friends and other external commitments but aren't we looking at the wrong way completely when we feel we are trying to "steal" time back for our own well-being, our own goals, our own happiness??? The act of stealing is defined as taking something that DOESN'T belong to us, without the owner's permission. Should taking time for ourselves really be equated with a jail-able offense?! Hello broken philosophy!

I often see bloggers who are so busy that they become seriously ill (some repeatedly) and have to take time away because they are overdoing it. I see bloggers complaining about their lack of quality time, or how being a full-time employee, full-time mom, full-time artist and full-time blogger makes them feel tired and strung out. (Gosh, I can't imagine why. wink.)

It seems we still need a major life shift to one of living simply and well, versus overly complicated and unhealthy with a very poor quality of life. Quality of life is not something we should steal for ourselves or our families on a Saturday afternoon or during a nap on Sunday afternoons. We should be more important to ourselves, our lives should be valued more in our own eyes.

I think when we really started looking at how we can simplify our lives we could cut our commitments in half and then cut them in half again. I did this last fall and I still feel too busy. I still need to cut from my life. We should all be doing more things that make us happy and fewer things that complicate our lives and make us miserable.

Often we take on things that sound fun and exciting, only to be diminished by the added stress, time and energy. It's hard to give up things that we want, when it's just not the right time or it's not best for our health and well-being. Perhaps we need to think very hard about whether opportunities really are one of those "just have to go for it" moments or if the damage caused will be more than the benefits we hope to find. It's far easier to just jump like an eager beaver at every opportunity or shiny object that passes before us than to take the time to really evaluate the true value.

In social media every day there are people sharing their excitement about a fabulous new opportunity or venture or commitment they've made. Having something exciting to share about your life is important to people, it creates a sense of good effort or value. For small business people  it's very important to show your business, you and your brand are moving up in the world. For most of us, we want to demonstrate to others that we're up to good things.

But why is it so hard to feel externally great about living a simple and happy life? Is being calm and happy considered a negative in social conversation? Maybe the people who are doing that just aren't on social media and are using their time to do what's really important to them instead. I'm not sure what the answers to all these questions are. I don't know what the best steps are to a simpler life. But these questions keep coming up again and again in my own head, in conversations with others, online, in books and in the media. There's clearly a problem. How do we solve it or make genuine, measurable change?

How are you handling the quest to focus on your life and simplify everything else?

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