Life in the 21st century is really not simple is it? And I am not a person generally disposed to thinking of ‘the good old days’ mostly because I am not that old. However we live in an era where a lot of things are supposed to have made life ‘easier’ but funny enough have made life a bit more complicated for us.
You walk into a supermarket to buy tea and you are confronted with the choice of over 50 flavours from 22 different brands.This often leads to decision paralysis because your brain is working overdrive to figure out which one is healthier,which teabags are bio degradable,fair trade,good value and also tastes relatively ok with molasses sugar,stevia,sweetener,honey or on its own. Then you need to decide if you will have it with skimmed milk,oat milk,almond milk,cashew milk, lactose free, coconut milk and so on and so forth. Phew!
When I was growing up in Nigeria tea was just Lipton! And sugar was St. Louis. Milk was peak milk.
Finish. Simple and easy.
I know my tea illustration is a bit far fetched and is probably something you can’t relate to but I love tea (and spend too much time in the tea aisle in supermarkets) .
My overall point though is more along the lines of how we can seek to simplify our lives. One of the things I set out to do this at the beginning of year was to simplify my life as much as possible. And as I have discovered simple is not always easy.In the course of my work I often have to work with people to decide what would make their service more efficient and 8 out of 10 times people never go for the simple option. We often let perfect get in the way of good and think the more complex a solution is the better it is. That can’t be further from the truth.
If we think about it a bit more ,what really are the essentials for a good life? They really are in the simple things, the food we eat,the family and relationships we have and our health .And this is not in anyway saying that we should not seek to be or want more. This is just asking us to just stop and reevaluate those things that complicate our lives that maybe are not that necessary. Simplicity often gives way to consistency and consistency gives way to results over time.
As I said earlier,one of the things that I decided earlier on in the year was to look for ways to simplify my life/routines and I will share a few practical things that I tried and are still working on ;
1. I decided that I would say ‘No’ and not feel guilty about not going to every occasion or event I was invited to
2. Stop wearing foundation to work . This gave me back 10 minutes every morning because my make up was already minimal
3. Schedule ahead all medical appointments e.g smear tests, dental appointments etc .I am sure you are thinking how is that simple,spending time worrying in my head actually made my life more complicated. Like a lot of people I tend to put off health rated concerns but with a few close calls this year I have realised that Doctor Google is the worst doctor ever. Pls my people don’t ever google your symptoms. Just don’t!
4. Give or throw away most things I had in duplicates. One of the fastest ways to simplify is to declutter and wow it is such a great feeling. I also went further by putting myself on a 6 month(Jan to June) no buying clothing,accessories ban and wow did I learn how to utilise my wardrobe. Think about it how many black skirts do you really need? Sometimes it’s not easy to choose an outfit because you have too many to choose from.
5. Eating simpler and similar meals. This one is not just about dieting(and I am not in a diet) but also about saving time. Just pause and think about how much time we spend thinking about what we are going to eat for lunch, make for dinner, or what we need to buy at the supermarket etc . Food is one area that is makes life complicated especially with the excess that we have in the west .I tend to eat the same breakfast and lunch all week and have 2 or 3 dinner choices that rotate throughout the week. I also stopped spending my whole Saturday cooking a wide variety of dishes when a few would do. I know this is a bit extreme and not something that will work for everyone as most people get tired of eating the same thing over and over again. I don’t have an issue with it.
6. Last but not the least, I decided to be more grateful and tackle each day on its own merits.This has been the hardest thing for the recovering perfectionist,planner and procrastinator that I am. Me planning to do things that I invariably ended up not doing because I spent so much time planning to do it was (if I am honest still is) one of my greatest sources of stress. My switching thinking of ‘ this day right here is what I have control over’ has really helped to increase my joy levels .Over worrying about what I should have done yesterday helps no one does it? And tomorrow is really out of my control. But today can make tomorrow better. This one shift has been the hardest and one that I am still working on.
All of the above are peculiar to me and my circumstances and everyone will have differences in finding out what works for them.
I believe that there is always one area in our lives that can simplified and it is left to us to discover and implement what it is.Yours might be delegating or paying someone else to do something that takes you hours to do.
As always thank you so much for reading.Please do share those things that you will be simplifying. I always love to read and learn from others as well.
Have a lovely and blessed Tuesday and week!
Quotes photo credit– Pinterest