Minimalist Goals and a Focused Life

I’m taking an inventory of my life. I’ve been a simplicity advocate for many years, and yet my own life has been extraordinarily complex. I see now that those complications are of my own making. I see that I have made a habit of continually making choices that inhibit simplicity.

In the same way (a few years back) I realized that I took on other people’s problems to keep from looking too closely at my own life. Family, friends… even clients. I called it “helping” others — but it was actually avoiding me.

That has changed. I still help people, but I make sure that I’m doing it for them and not for myself. I really think on that before acting. That’s new.

So, I guess I’ve become a woman of “a certain age” and things are becoming clearer.

Perhaps the complications in my life are a similar avoidance. I called it other things. I justified, I even enjoyed the complications — held tightly to them and wouldn’t have changed them for anything. The complications taught me huge lessons and showed me a great amount of joy. It was easy to get lost.

I would like to say that I came to this epiphany on my own — that I’m THAT enlightened or THAT mature. The fact is, someone else had to shake up my life for me to remember my long-term goals and the importance of simplicity. My own priorities will now play a much larger role as I learn how to pare down and un-knot my life to date. I have to get things straight in my own mind before I’m sure about the direction. It’s like my life map is all wadded up. I know the route is there, it’s just obscured by wrinkles (how ironic) creases and folds. I’ll iron it out.

On the bright side, I’ve learned many lessons of late. Lessons about love and patience and being the best person I can be. I’ve learned to compromise when I wanted to control. To speak calmly when I want to scream. To think before I talk or act. I’ve learned to consider others before myself – even people who aren’t my own offspring. I’ve given this lip-service before — even practiced it intermittently — but I never made it a lifestyle before. Now, I have. I guess that is a success.

It’s a calmer existence. I think it may eventually become an enjoyable one. But for now, it’s a challenge. For now, it’s overwhelming. For now — I need to take the time required to focus on the second half of my life and spend less time evaluating the first half.

Paring down to the essentials will be a tremendous effort. Determining what is past and what is future will envelop my present for awhile. I’m trying to concentrate on the journey, to learn to enjoy THIS path, but it’s difficult.

I have to remember what my father told me recently — “People who WANT to write, write. Everyone else makes excuses.” That upset me at first — I felt that he didn’t understand my situation, my “complicated life” and that he was minimizing the importance of how I had chosen to spend my time, my resources, my energies. Now I have to wonder…

I suppose people who WANT to travel, do it — instead of just putting it off and adding things to their lives that inhibit the realization of the goal. I made choices that filled my life to the brim — and left no room for anything else. And I did it with a smile. I loved it. So…

Do I really want to write? Do I really want to travel? Do I want them both enough to do them, regardless of the cost, the isolation, and the difficulties I’ll have to face to accomplish them? Or is it time to admit that this isn’t really what I want … is it time to change the goals?

I don’t think so… but…

The next few weeks (or months) will be a time of soul-searching and self-discovery. I’d like to say I’m really looking forward to it, but in truth, I think I’d prefer a nap. But I know that this time will be pivotal for me and that weighs on me.

I’m cocooning right now, and yet, I’m not excited about emerging in a different form on the other side. I will be. But for now, I’m just exhausted, sad and overwhelmed. It’s a monumental undertaking and, for better or worse, I can’t put it off any longer.

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