Let me tell you a story of how I simplified my life and multiplied the joy just by keeping my eyes open.
I was sitting in the park after a long walk by myself to take a breather. I saw the kids from the neighborhood playing football, small girls on the swing, others cycling their tricycle and the giggling and laughter filled the air. The park, by itself, offers solace in its own way – the perfectly manicured grass, the huge oak tree housing peacocks, and the seasonal winter flowers. I sipped water from my bottle and took all this in, At that moment I realized this was one of the most peaceful, beautiful moments in my life and it didn’t even cost a thing. It triggered a spate of emotions in me as I started reminiscing other such moments when I felt so much joy inside my heart and all it took was for me to LOOK.
The first smile my baby gave me, the look of love on his face, the warmth I felt on the beach watching the sunset and feeling the warm sand beneath my toes, the smell of coffee with a friend and the endless chatting and laughter, eating a hot fudge sundae guiltlessly, reading a book in the wintry sun, listening to a favorite song on radio spontaneously, well I could go on and I am sure most of you would have felt the same with small things that we have around us which we seldom notice, but when we do it's so pleasurable… yet simple to be happy.
How often do we lay down milestones for our happiness? Maybe… once we get the dream job or the dream house, or at the ideal weight… we keep putting our happiness away hoping for the right moment to come. However let’s be honest- the right time is the Here & the Now. There is no perfect moment than the one we are in right now. Well, we needed a pandemic to remind us of how simple things in life can bring us pleasure. The people in our lives, whom we took granted for, were the most we missed. The social isolation was bearable for some time but after a while, it leads to a lot of loneliness and frustration.
The advancements in technology have broadened the chasm between people, physically and emotionally. You will see 4 family members sitting together in a room, being on their gadgets, connecting with the whole world, but not with each other. As screen times increase, intimacy has decreased. We barely pay attention to what’s being said – as a result, we miss out on information. There’s a huge void being formed inside each one of us and we try to fill it with online shopping, mindless browsing sites, playing games virtually, endless Netflix binges – all this to fill the vacuum – which still remains…
I often view New Year’s as a time to reflect and reset – my goals, my learnings, and my future. What I have learned this year is that the best thing I could do for myself is to simplify my life. I want to do this physically, mentally, and emotionally. I want to stop thinking of how and what to do, say, behave and act as per other's expectations. I need to stop judging myself from their stance. I need to be kind to myself and compassionate to my feelings.
I have made a list of things to do this year to simplify my life and be really happy:
I won’t waste time being negative – I will resist the urge to gossip, regret and feel guilty about things that don’t work for me
I want to be more frugal – in terms of clothes, shoes, and other frivolities I have indulged in mindlessly
I need to learn to say No more often and declutter my mental space
I want to spend less time on social media – the hours that it can eat up with nothing to show has been one of my vices
Make a list of priorities in my life and eliminate the extra clutter that is simply taking up too much space in my head
Cutting the toxic people out of my life – we all have people in our lives who complain about things that aren’t working for them endlessly. It's time to set healthy boundaries for them to not pull me into their negativity
I am going to be more ‘in charge of my finances – this is the year to take stock and make financial decisions that are wise
Spend more time in joyful activities rather than mindless ones
Life is complicated, at times, and trying to simplify can seem overwhelming. However, pace it out and don’t try to change too many things all at once. Even if you are able to do one thing on your list you are a winner. Baby steps will break the life-long dependence you have built for yourself to cope with discomfort in complex ways and take you closer to a much happy YOU.