There is a quote from Seth Godin I love to post in the Becoming Minimalist Facebook group. It goes like this:
Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.
The quote is appreciated by most people who see it. But there are always a few (on any quote that I post) who want to disagree, dissent, and argue with the sentiment.
In this particular case, they comment that vacations are fun and traveling is good. Both of which I do not disagree with. The point of the quote is not whether vacations are fun and traveling is good.
The point of the quote is rather than only enjoying our life while on vacation, holiday, or weekend, we should strive to make our lives the ones we want to be living—every day of the week.
Rather than seeing vacation as your annual opportunity to escape life… craft a life you don’t need to escape from.
This is not necessarily easy to do. But it is entirely possible. In fact, for the most part, I have done this with my life. I love my every day. I don’t count the days until the weekend, I enjoy Monday as much as I do Saturday.
Here are nine ways to begin crafting a life you don’t need to escape:
1. Make Relationships a Priority.
The old adage is quite true, “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” Loving relationships bring a joy into our lives that can never be matched by income, title, or career achievements. People matter and are worth the effort. It is important to notice in the adage above that several types of relationships are important to our well-being. One, where we are being loved by another. And a second, where we are pouring out love. Work to have both.
2. Remove Unneeded Possessions from Your Home and Life.
Physical possessions are a burden to us. They require time, energy, money, and always distract us from the things in life that matter most. It is difficult to fully appreciate how much of a burden our possessions have become until we begin to remove them. Contrary to what advertisers shout from the rooftop, more stuff will not make you happy. Quite the opposite is true. The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.
3. Make Your Work Your Job.
Vicki Robin, in the first issue of Simple Money Magazine (which you can download for free) draws a helpful distinction between “work” and “job.” Your job, she would say, is what you do for money to provide shelter, clothing, and food. Your work, on the other hand, is what you do to contribute to others, the causes you are passionate about, and the good you wish to bring into this world. When your work is also your job, you have achieved a sweet spot in life.
4. Or, See Your Job as Part of Your Work.
Of course, #3 above is not always possible for all people. Sometimes, our work does not provide financial compensation and pursuing our passion as a career is not always feasible. Still other times, because of the immediacy of life’s demands, we are required to do the job in front of us for the sake of providing for those who are counting on us. In those cases, there is still opportunity to craft a life you do not need to escape from. But it requires us to rethink the nature of our job by focusing on the good that it brings into the world and recognizing how it aligns with our work in other ways.
5. Guard Your Time.
Not every pursuit in life deserves your energy. It is important for each of us to become more aware of what is truly worth the hours of our one, short, important life. Those who have crafted a life they love have not done so by saying “yes” to every opportunity or invitation in their inbox. They have done so by guarding their time ruthlessly for the things that matter most and by learning to say “no” graciously to the others.
6. Take Care of Yourself.
There is little joy in a selfish life focused entirely on self. What matters at the end of our life is not the house we lived in, the car we drove, or the possessions we purchased. What will matter in the end is how we treated others. Keep selfless living the goal of life. However, an empty cup cannot pour into another. If we are going to live selfless lives (the true measure of success), we must learn that caring for ourselves is the first step in caring for others. Rest, exercise, and pursue healthy habits… we need you to be the best version of yourself.
7. Appreciate Your Season in Life.
Just as seasons of the year come and go, so do seasons of life. We’re kids, in college, young adults, newly married, raising children, empty-nesters, grandparents, caring for aging parents, being cared for ourselves… or any combination of the seasons above. Those who are most satisfied with life are those who appreciate the current season of life they are in and learn to make the most of it. They do not long for the next one or attempt to continue living in the previous one. They accept the reality of changing seasons and embrace each one with grace and resolve.
8. Understand the Reality of Trials in Life.
Every person in life is either in the middle of a trial, has just emerged from one, or is heading toward the next. Trials and storms come and go—sometimes as a result of our own poor decisions and sometimes as the result of living in an imperfect world. Trials often become the very thing we most wish to escape in life—sometimes for good reason. But given the nature of their constant existence, how can we learn to appreciate the life we have in the midst of these trials? First, we embrace the reality of their existence. And second, we look for the good in the midst of them (no matter how hard we need to look).
9. Find Happiness in Your Every Day.
Happiness is not something to be pursued, it is something to be discovered and recognized. If you are expecting to find happiness after _____ changes, you will never discover it. The hardest truth to grasp about happiness is also the most promising: It can be experienced each day regardless of your current lot in life. As Thomas Kinkade once said, “True simplicity begins when you learn to enjoy the amazing abundance of what is already yours.”
If you want to craft a life you do not need to escape from, you can do so. It may require you to change your mindset, your pursuits, or where you focus your energy, but it is always worth it.