Simplify Life With No Regrets
“It is a preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.” —Bertrand Russell
Life is really very simple, but people make it seem complicated. What do we need, really? We need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, clothes to wear, a warm place to sleep and shelter, people to love and a reason to live. These are what we need. What we want and what we like is a whole different story. We tend to spend our lives trying to get what we want, as much as we want, and as often as we want. We live in this crazy mix of trying to satisfy our wants and deal with the desires and emotions of others at the same time.
The problem is that we are so easily distracted and influenced by what is around us. We see, we like it; we like it, we want. And we are also deathly afraid of letting go of what we have. We accumulate problems (people problems, financial problems, health problems) and we accumulate “stuff” that we don’t even need, but we think we need it. We have a lot of trouble discerning between what we actually need and what is only a want. So life gets messy. It gets overloaded with “stuff”, overloaded with people problems, and overloaded with busyness.
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” —Socrates
All That Baggage!
There is a lot of baggage that we carry around with us – baggage that has accumulated over the years. We hang on to old hurts, failed expectations, failed relationships and regrets. We hold on to objects that bind us to the past. Some of us call these souvenirs, memorabilia or keepsakes. Nostalgically we hold on to these cards, treasures, trophies and other objects of our past and we carry them into the future with us. I have been this person myself.
We also carry around ourselves – everything that we have done or said, everyone that we have impacted positively or negatively, Our baggage includes all our emotions, our fears, and our worries.
Added to all of this baggage is the “stuff” we buy and collect for various uses. It is the “stuff” we have in our homes, our cars and very commonly stashed away in the basement or the garage. Our closets become full of clothes we never wear and our kitchens full of gadgets we rarely use.
“Simplicity is not about deprivation. Simplicity is about a greater appreciation for things that really matter.” – Anonymous
Step 1: Let It Go
Let go of the past. It may have been beautiful or it may have been sad or anything in between, but just let it go. You are no longer there. Keep the memories and learn from the past, but don’t live there. I have been that person who holds on to all the birthday cards, the trophies, and souvenirs in a treasure chest, but I realized that I no longer live there. and no longer need to hold on to them “just in case”. I have had to let go of friendships that no longer had any life and say goodbye to people who have passed on. It is what it is and it is finished.
What is done is done and what was said can not come back. Make peace with what you did or did not do in the past and move on. Forgive those who need to be forgiven, even if that is you – have you forgiven yourself? Do not hold on to regrets for what you didn’t do; today is a new day – why not begin?
“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all. “ — Laura Ingalls Wilder
Step 2: Decide What Is Important
What is important to you in your life? Who is important to you? If you were stuck on a deserted island who and what would you like to have with you? Who or what would you like to have around you at your deathbed?
How important is time to you and who are you giving your time to? Are you giving the best hours of your life to those you love or are others demanding your time of you? Do you spend your time doing things that are reflective of your priorities or are you caught in someone else’s time table? Are you in control of how your time is spent and who does your time really belong to? Like a precious gift, your time is yours to give or to keep. In fact, time is really all you have and soon, it will be gone.
Decide what you want to do with your time on earth and who you want to spend time with. It is yours to give. The absolute worst thing that could happen is to arrive at the end of your life knowing that you wasted the time you had doing the things that were unnecessary with people who didn’t really care about you rather than do what you truly cared about with the people who mattered most to you.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
Step 3: Ditch the Junk
What is holding you captive? Is it all your “stuff”? Are you tied ball and chain to things? Do you think you “need” all those things? What if you sold them? What could you do? Where could you travel to? Who could you help? Things require maintenance, upgrading, and replacement – all of these require our time and attention. Do you really want to dedicate your time to “stuff”? Do you really want to work more hours at one or two jobs to finance and maintain “stuff”? The “stuff” does not care about you, so why should you care about it?
Ditch the excuses too. I know that I am speaking directly to the “pack rats” among us (we love you too). If you are not using it or haven”t for years, it is highly unlikely that you will need to in the future. Forget about the “I’ll keep it just in case I need it’ excuse. No, you won’t! Get rid of the junk! Forget about the nostalgia excuse: “Oh I’m keeping it because it reminds me of.. or my sister gave this to me”. Sorry! The past is the past and accumulating all these things will just stress you out and give you more work and less space.
“Don’t make the process harder than it is.“ — Jack Welch
Step 4: Resolve to Live Simply
Take control of your time and your space again. Do not let intruders or thieves come in to rob you of these. Things – possessions ( which are not either beautiful or useful) will rob you of your space, your peace of mind and your money. They will also steal your time from you because you have to work to pay for them. The advertisements, the flyers, and pamphlets, not to mention the lure of shopping centers, all try to grab our attention, our time, and our money.
Turn off and tune out the distractions. These are the voices, or should I say the useless noise that tells you what you should have, what you should buy and what you should pay attention to. Honestly, who cares what the “noise” thinks? These distractions will also rob you of your time. Think about social media. Have you ever calculated how many minutes are spent on social media in a day? And for what? Nothing except time-wasting useless information.
“Keep it simple and focus on what matters. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed”. – Confucius
Step 5: Develop New Habits
Start a new way of living with new habits. Reconnect with people and spend time with them. Reconnect with real food and real meals – the slow food movement. Reconnect with your environment – the natural one. Reconnect with the wisdom of the past and a simpler way of living. Reconnect with books and the classics.
Realize that you do have choices and it is your life. The world will try to convince you of what you need to have and do, but the world is all about money and profit, not your well being. The whole economic system is dependant on people following the mainstream path and contributing to it economically. It is not about freedom; it is about economic slavery. But you do not have to follow that path, you do not have to believe the lies of the economic system. True freedom is knowing what bondage is and choosing not to be enslaved.
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Diana Lynne enjoys travel, self-improvement, pursuing a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca