2 Minute Guide to Reclaiming Your Life

IN: Life

If you clicked on this post, you either:

a) Need to get a grip.

b) Want to reclaim your life.

c) Have no time to do either.

d) Googled “mating habits of porcupines” and this just came up.

e) You read everything I write because you’re secretly plotting my demise.

With the exception of letter E, I completely understand. However, if you are plotting my demise, can you just promise it won’t include cinder blocks and large bodies of water?

Either way, maybe you feel like you exist for the sole purpose of fulfilling everyone else’s needs except your own? Between friends, co-workers, bosses, parents, siblings, children and the slightly kooky dental assistant who keeps trying to convince you to go out with her son as she scrapes plaque off of your molar, your time is constantly in demand.

Or how about being on call for the entire world? Between phone calls, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and email, the entire world can essentially reach you anytime, anyplace, and furthermore expects to be able to get ahold of you at any time, any place. Worse, we feel obligated to respond.

At times, I worry that if I see my phone light up one more time, I’ll be forced to do something I might regret later.

The truth of the matter is that at times, we secretly resent the expectations that are placed upon us. We give and we give and we give, we run and we run and we run, and even when we feel like we can’t anymore, we continue. We continue because we’ve always continued, and continuing is all we know how to do. We continue because we feel like we have to continue, or the world will fall apart around us. And we continue because we fear that if we don’t, we might be a bad friend/employee/spouse/parent/fill-in-the-blank.

So rather than take that risk, we dole out, hand over & ante up (and up and up) until all that is left is a weary, threadbare silhouette of ourselves. At the end of the day, too often a mere shadow of ourselves is all that we’re left with; there simply isn’t time to replenish what we’ve divvied out in an attempt to make ourselves whole again.

And we get exhausted. And burnt out. And cranky. And throw phones.

And while the resulting perpetual under eye circles are no big deal thanks to the 8th wonder of the world otherwise known as concealer, being in a never ending state of whirlwind is more harmful than it may seem.

It’s pretty difficult to fulfill ourselves when we’re too busy fulfilling everyone else. But here’s news:


Taking time out for ourselves is not something we should feel guilty for. It doesn’t mean we’re lazy.  It doesn’t mean we don’t care about our work, our friends, our family or anyone else who needs something from us.

It’s necessary, like eating and sleeping and drinking water.  And you don’t feel guilty for taking time to eat or sleep or drink water, do you?

In American culture, constant productivity is one of our greatest values.  Coincidentally, another one of our greatest values is money.  Higher productivity usually translates into greater monetary reward; what higher productivity does not usually translate into is greater personal reward.  Mind the gap–one does exist.

It’s common to hear “Do less,” but I’m going to take it a step further and risk sounding like an insensitive jerk by saying, “Care less,” which I say with the best of intentions.

Perhaps it can be better stated as, “Care less about things that aren’t as important as your health & well-being,” in which case, there shouldn’t be much to debate.

We have this nagging tendency to look at our lives through the lens of a microscope, closely fretting over every day-to-day detail.

However, in the big picture, many of the things we spend great amounts of energy worrying about are largely irrelevant.  The big picture is everything.  What’s truly important here?  What things will matter in 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the road?  We’ve all heard that before, but do we actually take the advice?

Worry about those things first; everything else is secondary.

It’s a good idea to start asking ourselves these questions and being more proactive in our quest for self-fulfillment.  If you’re not on a quest for self-fulfillment, then this will, at the very least, help you not become a great big, giant, grimacing grump.  The situations we’re in are, to a large degree, a reflection of the collection of choices we’ve made over a period of time.  When making decisions, try to start thinking on a broader scale.  The big question is:

What’s truly important versus what just seems important now?

That said, if you really are plotting my demise, I hope you’ll take that question into consideration.  Offing me in order to never have to listen to me wax on about personal development topics ever again may seem important now, but later when Booth & Brennan find my killer, it wouldn’t be so important compared to having to spend the rest of your life in prison.

On the other hand, if you were here by googling the “mating habits of porcupines,” there are others far more qualified to speak on topics of personal development.

For the rest of you, go on.  Get a grip.  Your life is yours.  Act like it.