Six Ways To Improve Life

Recently I have been pondering on how to improve my life. I’m not terribly unhappy but I do think my stress levels are high, considering that I don’t have a job and my only child (at home) is very easy-going. I feel as though there are some things I need more of, in order to be happy. Luckily, they are not the kind of things that you need a lot of money to buy.

Anyway, here is my wish list, for you to share and consider.

I want more:

Space – I think one of the best ways to clear your head and start relaxing, is to clear away the clutter from your home. Most people can recover extra space by selecting a few boxes of junk to throw out, give to charity, or sell. Our house isn’t big but, even so, a good clear out and tidy up makes it feel much nicer and more roomy. I need to “Spring clean” and do this. More space, more light, more oxygen, less stress.

Silence – These days we have all become addicted to living with constant noise. The TV chatters away in the background as we eat, read, or try to relax. We listen to music in the car, in supermarkets – we don’t even walk down the street, or sit on the bus, without listening to an MP3 Player. I am going to find more time for silence in my life, or at least as near to silence as I can get. I am going to enjoy peace and quiet, by turning the noise off  for a change and just letting my brain unscramble. I’m am going to avoid over-stimulation and find chances for silent relaxation.

Spirituality – The world has never been in more need of clear answers and guidance. We are not short of religions and “alternative” paths to follow but sometimes the sheer number of choices seems to block us from even starting a spiritual journey. The older I get, the more my “existential angst” and confusion about religion grow. I have practiced Buddhism in the past and it makes a great deal of sense to me but my local Buddhist Centre is run by a movement that I consider a cult, so I won’t go there. The Dalai Lama (in his book The Four Noble Truths) suggests that any of the major religions is fine and that sometimes it is better to just follow a religion close to your own culture. (Bless him – I can’t imagine the Pope saying that!). So, I am going to attend Church for a while, I’ve found one that interests me locally and I am going to start meditating (or praying?) more often. I hope it will improve my life, I certainly feel I need it.

Sleep – TV, Xbox, DVDs, the Internet… Nowadays we have many, many enticing things to stay awake for. And we are grown-ups now, so no one can tell us we have to go to bed, right? But sleep is really important and being well-rested is a great feeling. Also, looking tired means looking OLDER and nobody needs that. I have decided to get more sleep. I’m going to go to bed earlier, snuggle up for some cosy reading and then get some hardcore sleeping done. I’m 52 and I get up at 6:30am (to get Brandon off to school) so WHY have I been going to bed at 2am? It has to stop. Sleep is the new staying up.

Simplicity – There are so many gadgets, gizmos and inventions available today that every task has become overly complicated. The idea of simplicity has been lost – but I’m going to reclaim it. Occam didn’t use a battery-operated, waterproof epilator to shave his legs, and nor will I. Some of the most relaxing moments of my life have been during camping trips, when I had practically nothing but a knife, my wits and a cigarette lighter to get me through. There is a lesson there for all of us.

Solitude – The concept of spending time alone is one that often makes people uncomfortable. We tell ourselves that we are indispensable. We feel guilty if we turn off the phone. Sometimes we just plain old don’t like our own company. I’ve avoided solitude for all these reasons and more – but that is going to change. I’ve decided that I need time to be by myself, that I will be happier and more sane if I’m not “on call” 24 hours a day. I want to light candles and soak in the bath, with a great big notice on the door BANNING anyone from talking to me. Of all my ideas this is probably my biggest challenge but I think I’ll do it anyway.

Thanks for reading. I’m off for that bath now.

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10 responses to “Six Ways To Improve Life

  1. I need more space and by that I mean I need to get rid of 3 rooms of junk. Organizing the remaining junk would be a big plus as well.

    I’m good on the silence thing. I never have the TV on unless I’m watching it. I live out of town so there isn’t car noise. I do wear my mp3 player when shopping so I can’t hear the noise other people make.

    I lost my religion for a good long time and then one day I found it. It is a very important part of my life now and I make many decisions based on what I want to confess to my priest and what I don’t. I can’t be perfect, but looking at another person and telling him how bad I’ve been keeps me pretty straight and narrow.

    I’m an up all night sort of person. I always have been. Which is why I have been lobbying hard to be put on the night shift now that we are starting our summer hours and have more help. I will say that most of the wrinkles on my face are from sleeping. Beauty rest isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    The computer age was supposed to make things easier, but it hasn’t. I can’t leave the house without my phone and mp3 player. I think all the computer age has given us is more ways to waste time.

    I’m also good on the solitude thing. I live out of town with 4 big dogs so no one drops in for a visit. The only time I see someone is when I want to. Since I work with the public, I don’t want to see anyone very often.

    • It seems like you’ve got to grips with some of the things I’ve been putting off. I hope I can do that too.

      I must say, wrinkles do kind of get set into my face if I sleep in some positions (and these days they stay put all day too).

  2. There’s one place I know where you could get all of these…..

    …get thee to a nunnery….

    LOL…as the youngsters say.

  3. I sleep about 9 hours a day because it is my favorite thing to do. (I used to be a terrible insomniac when I was a teenager and in college, so perhaps I’m finally catching up.)

    Have you read the Dalai Lama’s Art of Happiness? I haven’t read the Four Noble Truths yet, but it sounds good.

    • I should read that! I really enjoy such things.

      I go to bed late but I never have trouble getting to sleep, after having kids and being KEPT awake for so long. I’m so grateful not to have a baby crying, I think.

  4. Those sound like wonderful aspirations to me!

    How was your bath?

  5. All very good ideas. It seems we’re all a bit restless and on the lookout for something.

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