With Marie Kondo’s rise to fame, it seems like many of us are looking at our belongings and thinking “does this spark joy?” I do love this question as part of the process of decluttering (though I think there’s more to it than just sparking joy), but today I also want to talk a bit about things beyond what fills our home.
As we journey through life, we generally have a plan in mind for what we want our life and our future to look like.
I love goals and I love having a vision of what I want my life to look like both now and 5-20 years from now. I think goals keep us focused. The problems I’ve seen in my own life (and of those around me) is that sometimes the things we THINK should make us happy and that we “need” are often not needs and are not bringing joy to our lives.
That “dream job”
The perfect house
Having a high school senior, I hear a lot about both her plans and the educational plans of her classmates. So many hopes & dreams…the excitement of college and future careers! I think we all remember journeying through that stage. When I left high school, I went off to college to major in Computer Science. I did two years of college before my husband & I got married and I relocated to Southern California. I took an odd class here or there, but never returned. In part it was due to all the changes, but it was also in part because I started to realize that I didn’t want to go into that field but I didn’t know WHAT I wanted to do.
I’m glad I realized that early on before I spent more money on schooling and got deep into a career that wouldn’t have been fulfilling to me. But I realize that this happens to many people. Or perhaps you DID love your job and your work, but after many years of promotions you aren’t even doing what you love anymore because you spend your days in meetings, or you are feeling like you need a change of scene to do something fresh that inspires you.
If you haven’t been in this position, I’m guessing you know someone (spouse, relative, friend…) who does feel this way about their job. You might even be a stay at home mom and are looking to start a business or go back to work. Just because you thought that xyz was your “dream job” doesn’t mean it will always be.
Likewise with our dream houses. These are not always what we have imagined them to be. Suddenly huge mortgages and upkeep add stress to our lives. And bigger houses = more things. I remember moving from our first home that was 1800 sq ft to our current 2700 sq ft home and seeing all the blank areas where we needed furniture to fill the space. [I want to add that this wasn’t necessarily true, but it’s often what we feel.]
Sometimes we need to reevaluate
As you read my personal stories above, do you see yourself in any of them? When you looked at the list above, are you contemplating hobbies you have kept up (and the things to go with them) even though they don’t bring you any joy. Or friendships you’ve struggled to maintain even though neither of you are really wanting it to continue?
We lead busy lives. I know of few people who don’t. The stress of being busy added onto having a job we hate, or a house that drains our time/finances, or a friendship that exhausts us, or stuff everywhere that mentally stresses us … these are all things that can drain your energy & your spirit.
It’s ok to let things go
It took me a long time to realize that keeping certain things was draining my energy and causing me stress. And that was when I started to declutter, when I started to evaluate what I wanted to do for a business, which hobbies I was going to unload because I really didn’t like them, and when we decided to downsize our home.
And in case you need more reasons that you need to reduce stress in your life, check out these other articles of mine:
What are 3 things you’d love to have time & energy to do?
Do you want to go back to school? Have more time for family? Take on a new hobby? Start a business? Exercise more? Eat better?
We do what we make a priority. But sometimes there is “stuff” in the way that we think is the priority when it really is just “stuff”. When we can clear out what does not bring us joy, we are able to open up space for what does.
Sometimes this just means cleaning out a bunch of supplies from an old hobby that you never really enjoyed so that you can make room for the one you love. Other times it means downsizing your home so you reduce your mortgage and upkeep.
What things are bringing you joy? What things are stealing your time & energy? These questions helped me to see where I needed to make changes in my life. Start small, but think big. Life is too short to be spent holding onto things that steal our joy and energy.