I am on a journey to live a life I love and to fill my life with the things that truly bring me joy... my dream job, loving relationships, financial abundance, a healthy mind and body, and a deep spiritual connection with all that is. I am living consciously to create a life filled with all the things I love.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Decision to Live the Life I Always Wanted

Moving In Day

Today was a long, long day. It was long because the moving trucks came to unload all of our belongings into our new home. They were finished by 4:30pm, but what made the day feel very long was all of the unpacking that took place today. I noticed the excitement of moving and finally seeing the reality of my dream to move to NY wane as I glanced at the endless piles of boxes and furniture stuffed into the large-for-Manhattan-sized 2 bedroom apartment. In my head, I thought, "We really needed an extra 800 square feet or so...but we'll make do." In the eyes of every other New Yorker, I'm sure this thought sounds pretty absurd. They are able to somehow make do with even less and live a fabulous life!

As I was unpacking box after box, unwrapping each object from the paper that was protecting it, it occurred to me that there might be a hidden lesson in this experience somewhere. Why else would I be feeling a little bit of dread as I realized the countless days that lie before me to be spent on unpacking, organizing, sorting, selling, donating, moving, and finding non-existent storage for all our stuff? There are so many other things I could be doing besides spending weeks, if not months on this aspect of my life. I'm sure not everyone has to sort through THIS much stuff!

As I reflected on the situation a little bit deeper, I came to the realization that the lesson to be learned here is: In order to live more, you need to live with less. Yes, the message is clear and I've heard it countless times. The question is how? How do I get rid of all this stuff without feeling the guilt of wasting all the money on buying it in the first place? I've noticed I've been able to talk myself into keeping things after I had already put it in the Salvation Army pile. How do I get rid of all this stuff without having to re-buy everything when I need it again? How do I actually live with less rather than just donating and selling my things only to replace it with something better, fancier, cooler, prettier, or more updated? (Yes, I admit, I tend to do that.)

Well, good question. The only thing I could come up with to help me decide what to keep and how to filter the things that I bring into my life going forward is to live by a new mantra: Only keep and buy things you love.

How many times have I bought something that is functional, but every time I pick it up or walk past it, I have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that says, "I'm only keeping it until I can replace it with something better," or, "Ugh, I really don't like it..." Why do we live with it? Is it really better to live with something we don't really like rather than living without?

How many times have I gone in front of my closet in the morning trying to find something to wear to work and spend way more time than I had anticipated because I could not find something that looked right or that I felt good in? How many times have you heard people look into their closets and say, "I have nothing to wear!" Are you guilty of this same comment?

We do this because we have surrounded ourselves with things that fulfill a purely functional need, but are not things that we love! So, why do we buy things we don't actually like? Why do we settle for something that only fits the purpose (for now) or buy something that will do because we are tired of looking and waiting for that "perfect" pair of jeans, or that "perfect" coffee table? Is it laziness? Is it just really hard to find really good design? Is it because we like the instant gratification of having something fulfill our needs at this instant even though it only fulfills 70% of our true needs (functional and emotional) at the present time? I find that over time this percentage goes down as I realize more and more how much I really didn't like a certain object or article of clothing to begin with. Things fester if we let little annoyances grow. We've all experienced it.

How many times have you found something you really liked in your closet only after you cleaned it out and re-discovered it hiding in your closet after you completely forgot you even had it? Aha! The excess stuff in our lives even hides the things we love from ourselves! And that's not good. We need to break this pattern.

Back to my moving...

So, the ramblings above were some of the thoughts that were streaming through my head as I sat there looking at my useless stuff, carefully packed away by the movers. Why did I not sort through this stuff so that the movers didn't have to use so much paper and boxes to pack away things that I probably should have gotten rid of a long time ago? "What a waste," I thought. And here I am trying to be environmentally conscious by recycling and living green, yet I am creating so much moving waste by packing unnecessary things and lugging it halfway across the country. Wow. And now I have to spend so much time unpacking each and every single useless item that will either go straight to the trash or to the donation pile. It's crazy, I know. But, I also know there are many of you out there that do or have done the same thing! I've seen it over and over again. I vowed at that moment to never do this again...that from this day forward I will only buy things that I absolutely love. I'd rather live without than settle for less and make room for other new and exciting things in my life!

This is truly the beginning of a new journey for me on all fronts. Not only am I changing my career, but I am changing my life. I am going to declutter and keep only the essentials so that I can enjoy my new apartment. I need to create space for the new adventures that lie ahead (I'm hinting at some feng shui principles here...stay tuned for feng shui updates when I start to design and decorate my new home). I'm only going to keep the things I love...the things that make me feel great!

I'm also going to declutter my diet and create a new nutritious meal plan along with a fitness plan. I'm going to commit to a regular yoga practice and a meditation schedule. I am going to spend time doing all the things I wished I could have done if I had time in my past. I'm going to read all the books that I have always wanted to read (and that I've accumulated in my massive library at home---yes, it's contributing to my clutter, but I love these books, I swear!).

I'm going to dream, have fun, and create the life I've always wanted to live but never gave myself permission to live. I'm going to get involved in activities that fuel me, fulfill me, and inspire me. I have decided that I am going to live the life I always wanted rather than wishing for a life that I felt like was not possible given my current circumstances. I am going to make the live I always wanted happen by believing that it will. And I know it will, because I have decided. It all starts with a decision and I have made mine.

Are you ready to live the life you always wanted?

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