There is a certain amount of clarity that comes with having very little. Minimalists know this. I don’t claim to be a minimalist (yet), but I’m getting better and better at reducing both the literal and figurative ‘stuff’ in my life.
I moved 6 times in the first 6 years after I left my husband. I took almost nothing with me when I left, and with each move I let go of more ‘stuff’. I let go of yearbooks, tshirts, holiday decorations, a wedding dress, 3 kick-ass vintage prom gowns. And so much more.
But I didn’t just dump property. I walked away from friendships that had run their course and family relationships that caused me pain at every interaction.
I broke up with an organization I loved. I stood up to people who used that love to manipulate me into working too hard. I did the math and discovered that traveling and teaching actually cost and lost me money, even just driving 45 minutes. So I ended (most) teaching gigs.
I cleared my plate. And it’s been wonderful.
But here’s the best part: removing all the clutter helped me figure out what I do want on my plate. I figured this out almost by default recently.
I’ve been making big decisions lately, about my businesses and financial life. I’ve spun up some big ideas and watched them get destroyed by reality (read: budgets). And my reaction to the losses, and to some successes, too, guided me to what my real goals are.
1. Create a collaborative wellness center where independent practitioners can serve the community and thrive.
3. Pay off all my debt by December 2016. Every. Last. Penny.
Now I’m in this new and exciting adventure where I make a decisions based on my goals. And it’s great. Who knew? (You probably did. I’m just a little slow.)
Sure! It would be awesome to take a long weekend and zip over to Pittsburgh during the convention and see my AMTA friends! I considered it. But being away from my practice for 4 days instead of seeing clients and spending 20 hours in a car instead of writing is directly opposed to all 3 goals. So I’m not doing it.
Yes! I would love to spend all night on the computer looking at fabulous women’s suits to pick out what I’m going to wear to officiate at a wedding soon. But that doesn’t contribute to accomplishing any of the goals.
(Lest you think I’m all about that dollah bill, know that I’ve got some good personal stuff going on, too. I got busted up pretty good by a long-time friend this spring, and dumped on my ass hard by a boyfriend shortly after. The first situation helped me identify the really wonderful friends in my life. And they’ve all carried me through the second. I’m a lucky, lucky girl. But I’m not ready to be making new personal life goals yet. K?)
And here’s the thing. This shouldn’t be an epiphany, right? We all know we should identify goals and strive to achieve them. No big whoop. And yet, when I made my first ‘based on my goals’ decision last week it was like fireworks when off behind my head celebrating my brilliance.
Now that I’m all knee-deep in my own adulting, I kinda want to know: What are the goals and guideposts that help you make decisions?
And have you ever been epically wrong about a goal? Achieved it then realized you didn’t want it after all? I’m so curious. This is a whole new world for me.
Tell me your stories!