if it’s not fun, why bother?

3. enjoy your life. prioritise joy and happiness.

 

I mean really, if your life is no fun you need to change something. what is the point of it all if you don’t enjoy most of your life?

that’s my third habit. making sure that my pleasure is my priority.
i work two jobs and i enjoy both of them. Not every day: some days are hard and some days i get overwhelmed – it was especially difficult to get out of bed today but you know what? i love the semblance of financial freedom that my jobs give me. i enjoy that ( i say semblance because as long as you’re working full-time you’re not free). i enjoy living where i live, eating what i eat and shopping where i shop. without both my jobs i’d have to make some sacrifices i don’t really want to make, so as hard as it sometimes is, i keep on working both jobs because they allow me to enjoy the things i enjoy.

being poor is no walk in the park let me tell you – i know cos i’ve been there. in fact, based on what i make and the cost of living in Joburg (two jobs notwithstanding) i’m still poor – but you know what? i’m not as poor as i would be otherwise, and in actual fact i dont usually think of myself as poor. i’m willing to work this hard in order to do and have the things i love, because i place premium value on enjoying myself and if i have to work to make that paper then so be it. i’m lucky i enjoy my jobs, mostly, but even if i didn’t i’d still enjoy spending the money.

this is not just about money though, it’s about making sure that you enjoy your life, whatever enjoying your life looks like to you. it’s about what i like to call ‘life-enhancing decisions’. make those things that enhance your enjoyment of life a priority and minimise your exposure to the things (and people) that detract from your enjoyment of your life. i mean really. relationships that drain your energy? leave them. a house you hate? redecorate. or move altogether. a nagging spouse? check your behaviour and read ‘Boundaries’ by Dr Henry Cloud and somebody else. stop complaining about doing things you don’t like with people you like even less unless those things give you pots of money to spend on things you like with people you do like. at the end of the day, you have to decide if the misery you feel from whatever you’re doing is worth whatever you get in return. ask yourself – if you’re not enjoying it, if it’s not adding value to your life nor bringing you pleasure, why are you doing it?

of course you’ll have to do things you dislike one way or the other: i hate making my bed (i really really do), but know what i hate even more? coming home to an unmade bed. so although i hate bed-making, not bed-making detracts from my joy even more than making my bed would, so i usually make my bed.

know what else i hate? playing scrabble with my son. know what i love? seeing him smile and knowing that i did that. know what else i love? when he says ‘you’re the bestest mom in the world’. so, once in a while i play scrabble with him, because the pleasure i get from making him happy more than makes up for any dislike i have for playing wordgames with 10yr old boys. the point is – sometimes you will have to do things you don’t like, things you’d rather not do, in order to experience that surge of endorphins that comes from making someone else happy. always know what you’re doing and what the pay-off is – your life will be easier and you’ll be less grumpy than otherwise.

easy does it

i know i’d said i’d post one thing from the list every day….but you know, work kinda happens and life kinda happens and before you know it it’s tuesday and your last post was on thursday. or was it friday? anyway, weekends don’t count so effectively i missed only two days. if you knew the drama that is going on in my life you’d be so impressed that i’m even posting at all.

2. Easy does it

the second habit i want to pick up is about taking things easy. not everything has to be a big production. this is difficult for me, what with being a leo and all, but i think it will be worth the effort. then again, making an effort to take things easy kind of defeats the whole point doesn’t it? what i mean by take things easy is: don’t sweat the small stuff. life really is too short.

easy does it is an ideology that permeates my whole life – or it would if i wasn’t such a drama queen with an opinion, often loudly voiced, about everything. what i want is a simple life. simplicity in everything. simple clothing. simple makeup. simple hair. simple relationships. simple furniture. basically, taking things easy translates to keeping my life simple and free of clutter – which, wouldn’t you know, is easier said than done.

so what does this look like in practical terms?

it looks like me not worrying about things that are beyond my power to control. it looks like letting everybody else decide for themselves what their lives should look like and letting them live that. no more giving unasked-for advice. if you wanna mess up with your poor decision-making, go right ahead. that said, there are a few people who ask for my input and i will always give it honestly and with only good intentions – i just wont interfere in people’s lives without specific invitation.
value

easy does it is a philosophy that describes a life that is devoid of value-less things. for years now i’ve been saying that i’m all about value-add, and sometimes i have been. more often though, i’ve collected things, habits and people that instead of adding value to my life serve only to bring drama, and effectively drain it of value. no more. moving forward, i’m going to really try to value value, in things and in relationships, in everything.

keep your life simple and free of clutter, that’s it. when you’re about value-add, when you know the worth of the things and the people in your life (and obviously worth isn’t always about money) you’ll find that you invest more and because life is what it is, you’ll get more in return. how does that song ago…what you give is what you get returned? uh-huh. ’nuff said.

Grace, part 2

What does grace look like in real life? Can you imagine it?
When the Bible says, nothing can separate us from the love of God, what does that look life in real life?
People say things like ‘God wants me to do this or that,’ when in actual fact all God wants you to do is accept grace. When you have accepted grace what can you not achieve? When failure is not an option, how could you not win? Our biggest mistakes often involve a comparison to others – we are motivated by thoughts of ‘if he did it so can I,’ when in actual fact we should be striving for excellence, always, because grace gives us the ability to win, always. Strive to be the best version of you, not to be a better version of somebody else, as appealing that is to our egos. Who doesn’t want to be thinner than…, better educated than…, faster…,bigger…richer,…just, better: better is a comparative.
If you always wanted to be a better version of yourself wouldn’t you always be winning, as long as you were trying?

His grace abounds to me

Sometimes I wanted to run away – but I’ve run away enough times to know that you can’t run away from yourself.
I didn’t always find it easy to believe that things would get better, but believe I did, sometimes. I had no other choice, so it became most of the time. I couldn’t see how or when, but what other option did I have except to believe that eventually it would all come right? What else could I do except position myself so that I was doing the right thing at the right time? When I was sure I was going to be jobless and destitute, I didn’t stop tithing, I didn’t stop sending out my CV and checking the jobsites. When I spoke to others I wasn’t always positive, but I tried. Some days were better than others.

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And then things changed. And how they changed! I remember taking sleeping pills almost every night for what felt like ages, and complaining to my doctor that the anti-anxiety meds he prescribed didn’t seem to be working for the palpitations and breathlessness I experienced every time I thought about my future. I remember crying out to God, asking how could things be so wrong when it had all felt so right – and I remember desperately praying ‘I will praise you anyway’ when I just could not see a way out. God has been so good to me. Sooo good to me. Indeed, grace abounds.