Let’s take a trip down memory lane: It was a random weekday, let’s call it Tuesday, and I was sitting on my big black futon in the living room gazing out of the floor to ceiling windows at my sun soaked porch thinking, “Why don’t I sit out there anymore?”.
I had no real reason not to be sitting out there. The work I was doing, probably a mixture of photo editing and social media management, could easily be completed from the porch. But, I just sat there gazing.
What’s really funny is that I’ve had similar trains of thought when it comes to other things that I actually enjoy. Why don’t I play my ukulele anymore? Why haven’t I finished any of those books?
All of these things now sitting around serve as relics of a life that I actively choose to not to live— a life that I actually enjoy.
You may say I’m being dramatic, but I’d REALLY LIKE to play my ukulele or spend a few moments out on the porch and yet, I don’t do them and that’s troubling to me
It’s kind of stupid, don’t you think? But maybe, you do it, too?
There are 24 hours in the day.
Obviously, about 8 of them are spent sleeping and that’s non-negotiable because sleeping also gives me great joy.
Still, that leaves 15 waking hours to do whatever I want.
Some of those hours are dedicated to things that make me money, because a girls gotta eat. But considering the amount of time I spend scrolling through Instagram for reasons that are absolutely not related to my job, I have time that I could be using for the things I genuinely like doing.
For clarification, these are the things I don’t intend to make money off of. While it’s certainly a step in the right direction to pursue a career that you enjoy, it’s equally as important to me that my life outside of making money — and yes, there’s a life outside of making money — makes me happy.
The game plan to accomplish this goal is fairly simple:
1. I have to know makes me happy.
2. I have to do it.
If I know what makes me happy and I know I technically have time to do it, what’s stopping me?
Well, it comes down to my choices and the habits I form (with habits being choices that have become commonplace over time).
Am I stopping me?
I started doing the math and realized that whenever I choose to spend 15 minutes laying in bed reading my daily astrology report, I am taking away 15 precious minutes in which I could be sitting on my porch playing the ukulele.
I made that choice this morning. And if I continue to make that choice everyday, I make it a habit. After a few weeks or years, I end up building a life where I don’t have time for the things I actually want to do because I’m doing things out of habit that I don’t even want to do that badly!
That isn’t to say that checking CoStar doesn’t give me some amount of joy. I started doing it because I enjoy it, but I definitely enjoy playing the ukulele more.
And, so must be some sacrifice involved as I choose between these two activities because, here’s the kicker, I now understand that with every choice comes sacrifice!
When you say yes to something, you say no to something else — whether it’s a job opportunity, a Friday night out or a new pair of jeans, there’s no way around it. Which is why every yes had better be a resounding one.
But, making every yes a hell yes and building habits that are good for you is hard while it’s remarkably easy to continue with the habits you already have. In which case, practice makes perfect. And everyday is a good day to practice.
So, I’ve been practicing the art of choosing the things that will really make me happy. I’ve also been practicing saying no over and over again to the things that don’t bring me joy until choosing happiness becomes a habit.
Saying “no” is really hard for me, so we’re making big moves by realizing this issue and addressing it. More on that in another blog.
For now, I can happily report that I’m writing this very blog in the singular shaded region of my porch where I have been all afternoon. Progress.
May you choose joy on this journey to reaching your full potential,
With light and love,