“All I wanted was the simple things. A simple kind of life.” ~ Gwen Stefani / No Doubt
For over the past year, I occasionally have the No Doubt verse run through my head. There are days that it is on auto play. Those are days when my life is more hectic and I desire simple.
The chances are you are also tired.
In many ways I feel our society looks down upon the simple things and a simple kind of life. It often appears as if you are not living if you can’t state your life is “busy”. To state “There isn’t much going on.” can bring a look of pity upon some faces. Even the minimalist movement has created an edge of comparison regarding who can live in the smallest space or live with less.
My counseling and coaching practice finds me working with those who are often overworked, overscheduled and many times physically and emotionally drained. Deadlines and expectations leave little time for family dinners or a night of watching a movie. Often scheduling the fun things such as a night out with friends becomes too stressful of a task and doesn’t happen.
Most of us are taking on too many things and feel we need to be doing more.
We take on extra assignments in order to prove we are valuable at work, schedule children in multiple activities to improve chances of getting into a good college or receiving a scholarship and attempt to have a presence in all of the right social circles and galas. Social media encourages us to have fantastic vacations, beautifully decorated homes and to never spend a weekend not experiencing a new restaurant or bar in our hometown.
This is not being written in opposition to living a full and fantastic life. I am a woman building her own business, working multiple part time and freelance jobs by my own choosing. I love to travel, decorate my home, cook and shop for beautiful clothes. However, I also love my home, staying in a whole weekend where I wear my yoga pants, eat (gluten free) macaroni and cheese and wear no make-up.
If I am honest, I have spent a large amount of my time making sure that I it into whatever society expected me to fit into. It has taken a lot of energy. If I am guessing correctly, those reading this have done the same. I’m uncertain of how it happened but a simple kind of life and simple things were below what I felt I should aspire to have. Somewhere along the way I accepted the expectations that simply having a job where I go to work each day return to a nice house for dinner with someone I love was not enough.
As a counselor, I have become more aware of how the choices and decisions individuals feel they MUST make lead to struggles and unhappiness. Anxiety and depression affect almost 20% of the US population and many of these diagnosis are because of the way life is being lived.
Please take some time to consider how you are living your life. Do you crave simple things such as a family dinner or sitting on your back patio? Are you truly able to enjoy your days or are you rushing through them to the next appointment or practice? Do you spend too much time concerned about what others will think if you do or don’t do something? Are you doing the work you do because of a title that makes you appear important?
If you find yourself wishing for a simple kind of life, take some time to reconsider how you can change what you are doing. It may be a significant lifestyle change or simply beginning to say no.
This space and my coaching practice is called How To Make A Life. I will never pretend that I have all of the answers and my goal is to provide suggestions and tips in helping others lead happy lives. I’m excited to announce I am beginning a monthly newsletter and will return to regular posting in this space. Sign up below for the first newsletter coming in May and join me!