(This is the Part 1 of a three-part reflection blog)
Written in late July, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean….
Ever the multitasker, I am on a nine-hour flight from Europe, listening to an audio book while watching a TV show without sound, so it seemed a good time to write a blog post. Seriously, after nearly two weeks away on a trip of a lifetime, I organized my thoughts about how I felt after stepping away from all that was familiar. Some of these are things I am already doing; other items are aspirational. These are not business related necessarily, and not terribly original thoughts, either…but this is what I have come away with after 12 days in Europe and nine hours on an airplane.
Slow down, do less. Do those things well.
Don’t just do “all the things.” Do only the things that have purpose for yourself and for others. Time moves so fast and there isn’t time to waste with living life without intention.
Live for others
Always putting yourself first gives you a false sense of importance. You’re not that important. Offer your spouse the last cookie. Teach your children to ask their friends what toy they want to play with first. Treat your co-worker to coffee some morning. Go out of your comfort zone for someone else. Living your life with others in mind means we all share in the greater good. On the plane, I am listening to Fixer Upper’s Chip Gaines’ book, Capital Gaines, and he asks, “How many people’s lives are actually better off because theirs intersected with my own?” I love this on both a personal or professional level. How can I make my clients’ businesses better or help candidates find jobs through the work I do each day? Living for others puts purpose in our lives and, I think, makes us a happier and better people.
Work towards eating more things that are grown in the ground. Think about choosing foods that are not wrapped in plastic or come in a cardboard box. Eat less. Eat when you are actually hungry, not just when you are bored. Move more, take the extra stairs or force yourself to exercise for 15 minutes. You are given one body…use it or lose it. Get started and get some momentum.
Don’t waste—not time, not money. Literally, enough said.
Happiness is a choice and for some reason, it’s not the easy and intuitive choice. Start with a smile. Remember that when you want to be mad at someone, maybe they’re having a bad day. Look for a happy moment when there isn’t one. Find happiness in big and small moments. Don’t chase happiness, choose it.
Too much stuff is too much. (This is true in design as well!!) An overabundance of anything will make you feel suffocated. Unbury yourself. This might be physical items, fears, people or anything in your life that is excessive. Distinguish between needs and wants.
The middle is good. Extremes are, well, extreme. Don’t diet to the extreme. Don’t binge. Don’t spend more than you have. Don’t be stingy. Don’t do everything but don’t do nothing at all, either.
Live unplugged (sometimes)
Use social media to stay connected with others but turn off that electronic device and actually live your life. On vacation, switch off the phone and look out at the scenery you paid a lot of money to travel to and see. Stop debating with people on Facebook—no one ever argued with someone over social media and changed minds. Don’t just live life for Instagram or compare your life to everyone else’s. Remember, their feed is carefully curated, a living highlight reel.
Live for yourself
You know on an airplane when you are instructed in the safety spiel (that no one actually listens to), that you are supposed to put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then take care of others? Yep, you can’t take care of anyone else before you take care of yourself. Say nice things to yourself in your own head. If you put yourself down in your mind, you open the door for others to do the same in life. Also, practice self-care. Get enough sleep. Exercise. Do what you need to do to recharge. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It’s necessary.
There is so much to learn and experience. Take chances. Go back to school. Take an art course. Learn to dance. Explore your passion. It might be perfecting a favorite recipe or backpacking through Europe. Big or small, savor it all and make your mark.
Live with gratitude
Every day is a gift. Old age is a privilege, not a right, and every day has something for which to be grateful. Sometimes, it is an amazing vacation you can’t believe you were blessed enough to take. Sometimes, the coffee is especially good one morning. Be thankful for all you have been given and share what you have with the world.