What is your lifestyle?
Life is full of colors, themes, struggles, options, paths and outcomes. As a human being, we have so many needs and we have options for each. We need to eat, dress, have a shelter or residence, interact, learn and explore, have purpose, define our direction, exist in harmony, have individual identity etc. We have many roles to fill, many expectations to meet, many choices to make on a daily basis. It is not all hard since we are designed to accomplish all this at some point in our lives. But, most of us struggle; we struggle mentally, ethically, physically to meet the challenge because there is conflict. There is conflict between choices and decision, desires and potentials, and our greed to maximize our benefit with every decision we make and our potentials. Everyone wants to outsmart life, to maximize their profits and minimize their efforts and sufferings. Era of social media has been having contradicting influence on the outcome of our decisions. As much as social media has contributed to flattening of the world and transparency of human behavior across the world, it has also brought superficial values and mental chaos in our personal lives. During Vietnam war, college students on the front line of demonstrations and resistance. Their current counterparts are more concerned with their social media status and creating impressions of success online than their real life contributions.
Coming back to chaos in personal life, we want to make the most delicious lamb chop and be a vegetarian (because it is healthy and ethical), we want to support a social cause and dress up in high end fashion and hang out with friends frequently. We want to work less, earn more, spend extravagantly now and save lavishly for retirement. And you have many non credible sources telling you that "you can have it all".
Unrealistic and conflicting desires are the root of the chaos in our lives. Many people suffer from self imposed and contradictory expectations and don't even realize it. They practice stress release activities and wonder why does stress continue to disrupt their lives. They wonder why they haven't accomplished peace of mind despite "having it all".
Then there are people who have already given up on life because they think in terms of "all or none".
I have been in both categories at one or another time in my life and I was tired of it. My habits of self reflections and thriving to improve my life helped me reach a solution. I realized my life philosophies were whether incomplete or contradictory. I wanted to have a peaceful space but also extensively stylish and decorated. I wanted to enact every bucket list I came across on Pinterest, own all the gadgets on amazon.com, be a fashion instagramer, an avid reader, a successful writer, a social activist and my daughter's role model. I wanted to be five different people at the same time and I didn't know why I was so stressed. I was expecting myself to figure out life by the time I was in my 30s. It wasn't supposed to be so hard, right?
At some point in my life, I give up running the invisible race. I don't know how it happened, since I didn't encounter a life changing experience. Gradually, I let go of my expectation to be perfect, to be the best at everything I do etc. I gave up my expectation to go to the gym ( I have a gym membership for 6 months now and I have only been there 6 times), to keep my closet filled with colorful and stylish clothes, to keep a spotless clean house ( I continually failed at it anyways), to decorate my space modernly and keep up with social media.
I went to basics. Forget weight loss, as long as I am pain free. No need for fancy food recipes (sorry Rachel Ray). Goodbye social media challenges and hello Minimalism. I wrote my own list of self care activities and put "reading" at the top of the list. I cut off any complicated societal, religious and cultural ties and re-defined my life purpose. I am focused on kindness and forgiveness regardless of return behavior of people. I dress for comfort with pride, exercise to energize and avoid pain, eat to enjoy food, and listen to my favorite music even though it is not Adele and Beyoncé.
Therefore, I have subscribed to a minimalistic and simplistic lifestyle and I am getting better at it everyday. Keeping my needs to basics, expectations simple and desires to minimum, I am getting back my peace of mind and ethical confidence. It is a conscious effort that I apply to all areas of my life. And did I mention I am happier now than ever before?