So since this is the season of New Year's resolutions, I was reflecting on why stating resolutions seems to be merely a tradition that often falls by the wayside in a few days. These declarations don't ultimately address the underlying tension, stress, and anxiety that make pharmaceutical companies one of the most prosperous industries of our time. I believe this is because we get so much external input that we forget that we should be living from the inside out. I think we have to find ways to manage the amount of input that effects how we live our lives.
- Just spend an hour on the Internet and it is unquestionably clear that there are unlimited options available to us.
- If we're not tuned in to who we are at the core, way too many things seem like good ideas for us. This applies to everything from fashion to spiritual beliefs to diets to how we spend our down time.
- All those options can be major stressors because they are really just pulling us in various directions all day, everyday. Being bombarded with ads and images about what to wear, where to go, what to eat, how to look, can throw us into overload without realizing it. I read an article that referred to an Eastern European model who came to the U.S. and was taken to a superstore. She was so overwhelmed by all the choices that she passed out.
- Going in a number of random directions on a regular basis-- even if it's online, in stores, or in your mind, is wasting your energy and time. It also contributes to the feeling of dissatisfaction because we haven't used our time to do the things that are meaningful to us.
- One of the strange things about the prevalence of social media is witnessing what others are doing in their lives. If a person isn't grounded in his or her own energy, it can lead to wishing, coveting, envying, comparing and a host of other counterproductive emotional responses.
I bring all this up because this year I used my energy in some very concrete ways that made a positive difference. I identified the things that enhance my lifestyle and my way of being in the world. I accomplished more than I have in long time. Here's what I learned:
- Buying fancy and elegant things for anything other than occasional special events is a waste of my money. I am most comfortable in cotton, corduroy and flannel. The rest mostly hangs in my closet until it goes out of style.
- I'm not a traveler. I'm quite happy exploring and vacationing in familiar and short distance territory. No need to try and wrap my mind around "If I had the money, I'd go to....." cause really I wouldn't. And if I did, I'd be counting the days till I could go home.
- I'm low brow. There's no getting around it. I don't judge anybody for dropping a few hundred bucks at a five-star restaurant. But the truth is, I'm thrilled with a plate of wings and a glass of cab. Thrilled! And sometimes I get a second order of wings because the first batch was that good.
- A lot of entertainment isn't that entertaining for me. I'm not into plays and the opera, cruises, or elaborate celebrations to commemorate milestones. I'm happiest when I have the option of keeping it simple.
- I need quiet time. If things have been hectic-- whether with work, readings, or family activities, I must choose to stay home alone and regroup.
Acknowledging these things as my sort of baseline for living empowered me. It took a bunch of options off the table. So I offer this as a strategy for starting the new year: Until we figure out our true likes, dislikes, values and preferences, we spend a lot of time desiring things that wouldn't be that satisfying if we had them. Knowing this helps in how we choose our mates, how we spend our money, how we make small and large decisions.
At some point we can stop trying on options and accept some basic facts about ourselves. We can stop chasing fantasies and focus on living according to our truths. In so doing, we find ourselves with more resources and power for engaging in the pursuit of meaningful goals and activities.
This is entertainment for me!