Saturdays are days I cherish. Thanks to COVID I don’t feel the inclination to accept every invitation and I can simply just relax. I’ve really done a good job since my nine day trip of penciling in my ‘me-time’. It’s important to recharge – and as an introvert, I need more time than most. Almost everything works better if you unplug it sometimes – and that includes yourself.
I began embracing the ‘simple life’ back in 2011. I’ve lost my way a time or two, but I have learned to just walk out of chaos or clean out a closet when things get crazy. Reclaiming and embracing a simplified, minimalist lifestyle have allowed me to declare Saturdays a day of rest. Complete and utter rest. I try very hard to plan absolutely nothing but relaxation activities on Saturdays and it has been so wonderful.
I always start my Saturdays with a few blog reviews, a post or two on Fake-Book and. most importantly, copious amounts of coffee. I sit, with the magical dark elixir of life in hand, as other bloggers and those with similar interests teach me about life while assisting me in developing my own path into simplicity. (I want to point out that ‘simplicity’ is less about minimalism and more about boundaries. I didn’t always know this. And I promise to swing back to this topic to sometime this month – but just not now.) I’m a huge fan of Becoming Minimalist, Zen Habits, and Miss Minimalist. I encourage everyone to check these sites out because these people have been my teachers for almost a decade.
Today, by accident – which is usually the case – I stumbled across The Happiness Project which I had forgotten all about. I felt connected to the author when she said that ‘lowering your standards’ and ‘lowering the bar’ are not the same thing. This concept, coupled with a conversation I had with a good friend yesterday, helped me formulate my thoughts for the day.
First, if you want to understand the difference, then please read Gretchen’s post, so I don’t have to repeat all she said. I agree with her 100% so my post today is about the simple application of such thoughts. Here are few areas to which I have decided to lower the bar in my own life…
1) Religion. It’s been awhile since I was on a dating site, but there’s always this awkward pause when filling out the form. Christian? Agnostic? Spiritual but not Religious. Geesh. There really should be a box for “Who the fuck knows anymore” because honestly, living in the bible belt amidst a sea of Red Ridiculousness is enough to make me say ”Fuck the whole damn thing.” So, I guess I just answered my own question: Spiritual but not Religious. I’m sure I’m inviting hostile comments here, but here’s my truth: I feel closer to God, more connected to Spirit and more confident/better about myself since I stopped going to church. I can’t explain it, I don’t understand it, and my grown-up mind is okay with it.. (My 30-year-old Self would have struggled with this.) I’m not saying everyone should abandon church…I’m just saying that for me lowering the bar in this area means fellowship with others I consider spiritual with totally commitment free Sunday mornings. Bonus.
2) Dinner (or any meal for that matter). Why haven’t I posted a profile on Match yet? Well, aside from making myself a promise to not get into any relationship for awhile, do you know how hard it is to get a date at ‘almost-50’ when you have to admit you don’t like to cook? *Rolls Eyes* You’d think in 2020 that grown-ass men could just be okay with this. Most are not. As Gretchen states “An imperfect meal that I serve is better than a perfect meal I never serve.” I personally don’t even judge my ‘dinner’ of an apple with peanut butter or a bowl of Cheerios imperfect. Not making dinner frees up time to read. So, have you really ‘lowered the standards’ when you swapped out trading your time to engage in something you enjoy? Yeah. No.
3) Exercise. Okay, folks…’almost 50′ isn’t old, but I got to tell you that the 25 year old, 113 pound personal trainer I hired a month ago didn’t help me much. In fact, I think she tried to kill me a few times. I’m not a natural born couch potato, but I’m no athlete either. Instead of high impact crazy exercise routines six times a week…I’m aiming for 40 minutes of enjoyable activity 4 times a week. Enjoyable activity to me is yoga, hiking, biking, and paddling a boat. I’m also one of those weirdo girls who likes strength training…but I’m not going to bust my butt at CrossFit six days a week. I’m just not gonna do it.
4) Relationships. Instead of being all things to all people, I’m going to just be myself – the messy, outspoken, kind, and generous conglomeration that is I. I know that seems nuts that anyone would think they just couldn’t be themselves…but I had been conditioned to believe that being honest about my true self was somehow unattractive. So, I hid. BUT…in order to lower the bar I will just be myself and those who can’t handle it, well, then I’ll check them off the ‘people to call when life gets hard’ list and move them to the ‘Hey, the bands playing tonight…come on out’ list. It’s not calloused…its just simple math. I don’t have the time or energy to exert when it comes to making anyone else happy. Oprah said this happens when a woman moves toward her 50’s. I thought she just said that stuff to sell magazines. Now I kind of believe it.
5) Entertaining. When you come to my house you may have to bring your own lawn chair. You may have to eat your dinner while sitting on the sofa. The silverware doesn’t match…and I only have 6 plates so you may have to eat off throwaway plates. There are nights I drink wine from a mason jar and eat my Chinese food directly from the cute little red and white box-thingy. Get over it. I have.
So, that’s been a review of life applicable lowering the bar situations in my life. I’ll leave you with a song (can’t let you down, now can I?) and also with some questions:
What are three ‘things’ you are doing because you feel you have to do them? How come you feel that way? Can you try not doing them and see where that takes you? How have you let others influence your choices? And back to my personal favorite: Where are you saying ‘Yes’ when you really mean to say “No”?
I love you. Take care. Hug more.