When I attended a funeral recently, I was surprised to learn about the deceased person and what an amazing man he was. I knew him from one perspective, and it made me wish I had known these other sides of him. Sometimes our circumstances prevent us from knowing all sides of a person, but sometimes we simply don’t take the time to get to completely know people.
We tend to fill our lives with so much to do with so little time in which to do it. We continually overcommit ourselves. We accumulate so much “stuff” that vies for our attention that it becomes overwhelming. What if we could really simplify our lives?
To do that, we must intentionally prioritize what is truly important in our lives. Several years ago, I visited my daughter’s classroom – at the time, she was teaching 4th and 5th graders. We did a project together entitled “What do I stand for?” My daughter and I encouraged the students to really think about what was important to them, what characteristics they wanted to focus on, and to live by them every day. We had multiple characteristics on pieces of paper for them to choose from, and we had blank pieces of paper for them to describe their own important characteristics. I made a piece for myself, and it is posted at my desk at home to remind me of the characteristics that I want to model in my daily life.
What I also find is that our day-to-day activities shouldn’t take priority over what’s truly important in our lives – love, family, and life itself. For me, it’s not WHAT I have in my life, but it is WHO I have in my life that makes me truly happy. I have experienced the profound loss of a spouse. My children and my extended family and my close circle of friends became my lifeline, and I truly treasure them! They have lifted me up time after time and have supported me at whatever point I was in my grief journey. Additionally, after the loss of my late husband, I focused more on my health – I lost 40 pounds, and I’m still working to live a healthier life. I am working to eliminate the excess “stuff” in my life – because it HAS become overwhelming! It is a slow and arduous process, as there are many years of memories in that “stuff”. I’m certain I will be more at peace when I minimize and prioritize my “stuff” and have less things vying for my attention.
Life is too short to be less than 100% happy! We all make fun of those sappy movies on the greeting card company channel. But if we really think about it, the plots all point to ending up being happy! Although they may be a bit different than most people’s reality, the point really is – we all simply want to be the happiest we can be. And sometimes that means stepping out of our comfort zone and making changes in our lives.
And so it is with me – these are some of the contributing factors in announcing my retirement. I am taking some huge steps outside my comfort zone! I am looking forward to simplifying my life and focusing on those people in my life whom I love and that bring me joy and happiness. I have been privileged to work with an amazing team of people and to support some amazing clients. I wish you all the best life filled with many blessings.