Live Life Like You Are Traveling

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Hunny Bunny

Drop Your Baggage

I enjoy listening to podcasts. However, sometimes I get behind in episodes. Then, I feel I have a responsibility to listen to them. Even if I don’t really feel like listening, I still feel the obligation to grind my way through the episodes. Only now, it’s now a chore.

I should be able to say “screw it” and erase them.

How many times have you turned a source of happiness in your life into a chore?

  • I have to alphabetize my DVDs.
  • I have to polish my Humels.
  • I really should re-bag those back issues of Cerebus.

Really? Why?

Sure, there are things you really should do, like mop the kitchen floor. It is a chore but it will add to the enjoyment of cooking later tonight.

Then, there are things that you actually need to do. You have to take care if the dishes in the sink or you won’t have anything to eat off of. The vacation parallel is making sure you wash your clothes or you won’t have anything to wear. However, a lot of the other stuff you spend your days doing and worrying over, is just … clutter. You have to ask yourself:

Will this other stuff make me happier?

Will it make a difference in my life?

Or, is it just something I feel and obligation to do, but wont make a difference in either my life or anyone else’s.

If the activity isn’t providing any real benefit or is no longer something you enjoy, DROP IT!

Fake activity and fake productivity.

Fine, you like building Lego sets?

Oh, you’re not that kind of geek? Ok, you like creating the perfect Pottery Barn place settings for you Williams Sonoma inspired dinner in your Ethan Allen dining room?

See, now I bet you wished I just made fun of the lego builders.

Whatever the thing is that you geek out about and enjoy, do it. However, if it gets to the point you no longer enjoy it – whether it is trying to figure out how to stack the soup tureens and bundt pans to fit in your kitchen or of fighting over shelf space or yelling at your cat to stop knocking over your lego sets – maybe you should just stop.

It may be time to take stock and get rid of the stuff that isn’t making you happy.

  • Make a rule to build legos, enjoy them for a week, and then give them away.
  • Sell the old kitchen items if you do not use them in a year.

But, they were expensive!

Yes, they’re not making you happy!

In fact, the upkeep is just making you miserable. It’s just another thing in your life that owns you. Drop the baggage!

Running down the clock

All this stuff: the Hummel polishing (real and figurative) and watching programs you really aren’t interested in just because they are on the Tivo, it is all part of running down the clock, filling up time until it is time to go to bed. I do this, and you know you do this too. How much time you spend waiting until the end of work, until the end of the night, until the end of the week.

Even if you are waiting for something out of your control, such as a documents from a client or co-worker, or waiting for a child to calm down from a temper tantrum, so you sit there are wait, and burn time.

You have to stop it! You have to stop burning time. It’s a change of mindset. You have to start thinking:

What’s the best thing I can do right now?

Not

How can I burn time until I get to do what I want?

Yes, this is basically mindfulness. The metaphor that makes sense to me at this moment is this:

Live Life Like You Are Traveling

What would you do if you were on vacation or at a conference or just traveling in general and you have empty time or you have to wait for a phone call, or for people to arrive, or for your child to calm down?

I’d go sit at the pool. I’d rent a bike. I’d read a book. I’d go to the gym and then get some dinner.

Compare this to your coping strategies at do at home or work. Getting junk from the vending machine, checking Twitter or Facebook, harvesting vegetables on Farmville. Watching some crappy show on tv.

You wouldn’t do this on vacation, because it’s crap! And you don’t want to spend your vacation time doing crap! The reason the travel metaphor works is that traveling forces you to prioritize.

  • You only have what you brought. So, chores are simplified into having clean clothes, a clean place to sleep and food to eat. All fairly basic stuff on Maslow’s need model.
  • TV sucks. You have no Tivo. So, you watch less tv.
  • Your connectivity is bad. So, can’t piddle away the hours harvesting fake plants.
  • You want to DO something. You didn’t come all this way, just to stare a screen.

So, in most instances, you actually use your time. You go out, you walk, you see things. You may hit the hotel gym more often. You do anything not to waste time sitting and watching a screen.

This is all stuff you can do at home. And, I know, it is not always that simple. At home, I put off exercising or going for a walk, because it’s too close to dinner. There’s a schedule. There’s family, and kids, and they can’t stay up two hours past bedtime because I want to do something. However, you can still make better use of the time.

  • Grab the weights and do a few reps.
  • Take the book off your nightstand and read a bit.
  • Write something.

Sometimes you can change up the order and move dinner back by 30 minutes. So, maybe, just maybe, let the kids go to bed half an hour later because you go for a walk. Just try to think of what you would do on vacation.

Creative Commons License photo credit: La FruU