Monday, July 7

Unclutter Your Life

What is clutter, exactly?

The Cambridge American-English dictionary defines it as a “condition of disorder, or a lot of objects that are in a state of disorder” . . .

Well, by that definition, humankind is clutter, so lets focus on the clutter we surround ourselves with day by day (and I’m not talking about knickknacks).

For example, do you insist on maintaining a hobby that – while still a great conversation starter – doesn’t bring you the same joy that it used to? Do certain friendships no longer serve you in the sense that you and those “friends” haven’t had anything in common in a long, long time? Do you DVR more shows than there are nights of the week and yet you’re the one always whining about how there aren’t enough hours in a day?

If you said yes to any of those things, stop it.


Because here’s what all that clutter really is:

Busyness we cultivate so we feel we have an excuse to whine – nay, so we feel we are entitled to whine – about how there aren’t enough hours in a day.

Excuses we manifest for ourselves as to we haven’t gotten real sh*t done, that book we’re going to write or that startup business we’re going launch, that other degree we’ve been meaning to get or that relationship we’re finally going to start taking seriously.

If I had the energy . . .

If I could afford it . . .

If I had the time for overtime . . .

These are the things we tell ourselves as we’re sitting on the couch watching Games of Thrones, as if there’s someone pointing a gun at our heads making us do it.

Well, guess what?

No one makes you do anything.

Everything you do is a choice, and when you stop convincing yourself all these superfluous behaviors are obligatory and not in fact choices, three things are going to happen:

1. You can be honest with yourself (and others) about your priorities

There are simply going to be some things that are more important to you than others – as your current lifestyle probably already reflects, to some degree – and you shouldn’t have to apologize to yourself or anyone else for how that hierarchy shakes out.

It’s okay to not be a Size 2. It’s okay not to be the corporate superstar or a social butterfly. It’s okay to not be in one of those relationship things everyone keeps blathering on about because you’re just not “there” yet – if those things aren’t that important to you.

2. You become accountable

If those things are important to you and they still aren’t materializing in your life, where is all your time and energy really going?

Self-audit. Zero in on your bad habits and then get militant. It’s sure to upset some apple carts, but hey, everyone and everything can’t always be a priority, as that would literally defeat the purpose of the word.

3. You can see the forest for the trees

No one makes me hold down a day job, live a healthy-ish lifestyle, or be a girlfriend. I make a set of daily choices geared towards not being on welfare, looking and feeling a certain way, and being one half of a positive, loving relationship.

I also choose to write, but even writing has to wait in line behind said day job, the gym, my partner and, if I’m being 100% honest, the Chargers regular season.

(It’s my one long religious holiday in lieu of actually being religious, okay?)

Why? Because those are my needs and writing is a want. A deep-seated, quietly smoldering want . . . but still only a want.  

Other significant wants include reading more, sleeping more, traveling more, being a more present friend, but if the rent’s paid, I wake up feeling good and my relationship is in a happy place, all those wants become remarkably easy to live without – let alone the “little” wants, i.e. salsa lessons, raising Siamese fighting fish, being able to see the floor of my room occasionally, etc.

The thing is, nobody can “have it all.”

“Having it all” is a big fat American lie that breeds avarice and ingratitude.

We ALL make certain concessions with certain choices and have to counterbalance accordingly, but you cannot feel bitter or cheated by a life you are actively choosing.

Choose the important things, and you’ll always have/find enough time for them.

XO, Mal


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