If we want to be truly happy, we have to take our life into our own hands and shape it into a life that is fulfilling. We have to create a new life model, one where our choices are based on what is right for us, instead of what others think we should do, or what is viewed in our society as normal or acceptable.
I feel lucky that I had this powerful awareness so soon in my life. I was a single woman living in a 3 bedroom house filled with stuff. I walked into my house one day and stopped and looked around me. It was like a light came on and I was able to suddenly see my surroundings differently. I wondered how did I end up surrounding myself with so much stuff? This was the shining moment that led me to reclaim my life.
Many of us grew up believing that the value of our lives is determined by what we achieve or acquire. We spend most of our days working, only to find out that the prestigious positions we obtain and the stuff that we purchase, are not really making us happy. We begin to yearn for something different, a richer experience, one that doesn’t necessarily have a monetary value.
It takes courage to change, to step out of the norm, to be the first in your tribe to move in a new direction.
To create a new life model you have to believe in yourself and be willing to take risks. You have to re-evaluate every choice you are making. You have to stop and look around you and decide if this is what you really want. Are you really living the life that you dreamed of?
No matter what others believe, it is possible to create a life of your own design, even when society seems to be working against you. Here are the six choices I made to reclaim my life:
1. I downsized and minimized
I moved from a three bedroom house into a one bedroom cottage, minimizing my possessions in the process. The choice to downsize allowed me to work less and live more.
2. I practice modified consumption
I cut my expenses in half by practicing modified consumption. I became more conscious of what I was purchasing. Is it a necessary expense or am I buying to create temporary happiness? Spend less and live simply is your mantra when you practice modified consumption.
3. I work less and live more
I no longer abide by an 8 to 5 working model. By working less I have more time to focus on maintaining a healthy, balanced life. Less stress equals better health. I focus on preventing illness, not preparing for it.
4. I focus on fulfillment
With more time in my life to meditate, take walks, do yoga, journal and be immersed in nature, I live a happier and more peaceful life. I no longer need to pursue material pleasure to feel fulfilled.
5. I match my values with my actions
I pay closer attention to my actions to ensure they are congruent with my values. I choose to support local businesses. I buy my food from local farmers whenever possible. The money I spend supports what matters most to me. I strive to be a role model for what is good and right in the world.
6. I practice presence
I stay focused on the present moment. I use my breath as a way to remain centered and calm when faced with life challenges. I make time for self-reflection every day, to acknowledge and listen to my feelings and the wisdom of my body, and to ensure that I continue to live intentionally.
Initially, I thought it was impossible to step out of the unsustainable life model I was so immersed in. Yet with determination, focus, and discipline, I changed my life – and I believe you can too.
Your life is valuable. Utilize your time and energy to explore, discover and reveal what is meaningful to you. Reclaim your life, it is definitely worth the effort.