Hello and Happy Monday to ya! I hope you are enjoying the long holiday weekend. I’ve been a bit absent here lately and thought it was time for a come back. Since this blog is mostly about running and I haven’t been up to a lot of running lately, I guess I felt like I didn’t have much to share. But I’ve had some thoughts rumbling around in my head and this felt like the right time to get it out.
Bodie says, “Well get to it already!” Deal. I want to talk about having a full life versus a busy life. For many of us, we feel like we’re go go going all day long and sometimes have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. While I believe living an active, fast paced life is the best strategy for me, do what feels right to you for sure. But I’ve found that if I am faced with boredom or too much unstructured time on my hands, I have a tendency to become lazy and complacement, and eventually depressed. These two definitely help me combat any boredom around here.
I also think it’s important to fill your time with meaningful tasks. While not everything will be interesting or skill building (hello laundry), completing chores, running errands, and keeping the house tidy (if not sparkling clean) are all meaningful tasks that help me keep order in my little world. What I do not want to spend my time doing is busy work. At the end of almost everyday I always feel like I could fill in at least 2 more hours of the day with more things. But until I find a magical time turner that will let me squeeze more hours into my day, I need to prioritize the meaningful tasks in life and cut away all the busy extra junk right away. I would encourage you to look at how you are spending the minutes of your day and see if there are any habits or tasks you’re doing that might just be keeping you “busy”.
Here are some things I try to actively cut out of my day to give me more time to lead a full life.
- Phone scrolling-this one is soooo tough. Pinterest, I’m looking at you. And Insta. It is so easy to disconnect from what’s happening around us and just scroooooooooooll forever, but fight the urge! It’s not good for your body or brain to be frozen there staring at these little mind numbing screens. Set a timer if you have to and turn it off when you’ve scrolled long enough.
- Paying bills-don’t take this to mean I don’t pay my bills! But I don’t want to spend any time doing it. Set up a monthly scheduled payment through your bank and move on with your life.
- Wearing makeup/doing my hair-now I have a feeling that some people will fall on the opposite end of the spectrum on this one. If wearing makeup makes you feel good and confident and it’s worth doing to you, keep on doing your thang! That means it’s meaningful to you and you should spend your time doing it. But for me, I would almost rather not go to whatever event it is coming up than have to spend time painting makeup on my face and doing my hair. That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally get all fancy, but I don’t enjoy spending time everyday on those things so I try my best to do enough to feel confident, but not really much more than that. That usually means washing my face and wearing mascara and chapstick.
- This one might sound a little harsh, but I’m going for full honesty: Spending time with friends you don’t really enjoy. We’ve all had those people in our lives. They were great for a certain period of our lives, but for whatever reason you don’t seem to click anymore. There’s nothing wrong with those people and there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to go out to this weekend’s party or if you don’t want to hang around one particular person much anymore. Don’t pressure yourself to show up to be social if that doesn’t make you happy. Don’t force a relationship that doesn’t work anymore. Spend those minutes doing something you truly enjoy and want to do instead.
Now go ahead and make a mental list of at least three things you could cut out of your busy life to free up more time for meaningful things. A busy life and a full life are not mutually exclusive. I think you’ll find you so enjoy filling your time with meaningful tasks that you might be busier than before you cut out your “busy things” from your life. I think of the things or times in my life I have felt most fulfilled, most helpful, and most accomplished. These are the constructs I believe we should pursue in life. For me, I am truly living a full life when I am allowing myself opportunities to be challenged and to succeed professionally, to be helpful and charitable, and to be loving and kind.
- My job. I had been disappointed with every career path I had pursued and decided that if I thought being a zookeeper was the best job in the world, that’s what I would become. It is more fulfilling than I could have ever anticipated and watching connections formed between our animals and guests motivates me to come to work everyday. Working so close to such incredible animals is life changing and I am so blessed to play even a small role in securing a better world for them.
- Walking, training, spending time with my dogs. I love making their lives rich with experiences and love. Any time spent with them feels like living. Gosh, don’t dogs just make life better?
- Spending time doing charitable acts. Whether this is formal volunteering or just helping a friend in need, helping others is good for the soul. Plus it’s just good karma, so go out there an help out at the next local health fair or volunteer at an animal shelter or library or coach a kid’s sports team if you’re more coordinated than me.
- Learn new things. Thank goodness we don’t have report cards anymore, but that doesn’t mean we should stop learning. It’s good for our brains to always be learning new things. Right now I’m taking an animal training course and learning to bake new breads and have been enjoying both immensely!
- Spending time with family and friends. Our home has played host the last three weekends and we’ve been having a ton of fun with all of our guests. From outlet mall shopping to brunch at Lucile’s, we made the most of each of our visits with loved ones.
- Finding time for the fun things. Getting out there and just doing the things I enjoy doing. I love festivals and fairs so you know we checked out the Taste of Colorado over the weekend.
- Exercising. Getting a sweaty workout is a sure way to get the endorphins pumping. A good run always puts me in a good mood and I know I’m doing something healthy and good for my body. While I haven’t been up to much running, I have signed up for a race! Stay tuned for more about that.
I hope you can think of the things that make you happiest and try to spend more time actively pursuing them. That’s about it for now. Oops, this became a long post. Thanks for sticking with me! I hope you have good things planned for the week ahead.
What did you do for Labor Day weekend?
What kinds of things do you do to live an meaningful life?