The simple life

“Life is hard” or “Life is not easy” we like to say.  It becomes repeated and accepted as fact.  I disagree that it has to be hard though.  Allowing for the reality that sometimes real sh*t goes down (like growing up in a warzone, disease, etc)  often we over-complicate life I think, and a lot of stress is self-inflicted.  Today I’m just sharing a few small things that I’ve done that I’ve found have reduced clutter from my life and allow me to walk through life with lightness and ease.  What about you all? Do you have any tips that have

What follows are ways I’ve made life easier for me:

Not reading reviews or critics: Since I stopped reading reviews and listening to critics, my enjoyment of film and music has increased.  I find movies much more rewarding.  I mean really music/films are either really good, ok, or bad.  That’s it really.  Reading movies before watching a film or listening to music gives you a bias, someone elses bias. Why ruin the movie? In any case many critics miss the boat, Transformer 2 doesn’t need Ebert’s approval.  It’s a movie about giant metallic robots that fight and blowup stuff.  It’s not trying to be an Oscar nominee, and not every movie has to be.  Movie ratings started reminding me about how some guys will rate girls as 8.5 or 6.5 when really the only three ratings are  I really would, I guess I would, or I wouldn’t ha! I’m just playing ladies. Well sort of.

Parking: Park where you want.  Don’t stress over having to park right in front of your destination.  Often people drive in circles for up to half an hour looking for the ideal spot.  I say anywhere within 20 minutes of wherever you want to get to is fair game.  You can enjoy some nice fresh air, or you can catch up on a few phone calls to friends.

Parking Lot

If you just parked at the outskirts and walked, you'll save time and be more relaxed.

Shopping the perimeter: When I go grocery shopping, I just shop the perimeter.  That’s basically the meats, veggies, fruits, and dairy.  I almost never veer into the aisles.  Only exception is to get some ketchup or sparkling water.  Or a unique spice that has run out or that I want to try—I grabbed some Sage the other day, perhaps next time I’ll try some Thyme.  I found that this cuts down the amount of time I do grocery shopping.  Also, intuitively you start to develop a sense of how much food you need and your grocery cost always comes out to about the same price.  Another added benefit of this is you eat properly.

Not eating added sugar or grain or vegetable oil: Dropped these from my diet. Break it occasionally, but 90% of the time I’m not touching it if it has added sugar, is a grain or has vegetable oil.  I don’t count calories.  Eat when I want.  Skip meals when I want.

Reducing my exercises and dropping routines: Related to the above, I do weights once on the weekend, once in midweek.  I do hard sprints/intervals once a week.  Other than that I take random walks of random lengths.  I don’t “run” any more.

Filtering advice: If the person advising me hasn’t done or experienced what they’re advising me on mentally I switch on.  If it’s a friend or family member I’ll be cordial and smile.  A favorite example is someone that has never bought a house advising me on how to get one or why I should get one, as I’m at the age (approaching 30) where there is no end of unsolicited advise on this issue.  If I’m going to listen to someone they must have fruit on the tree.

Hurrying: Nobody is really ever in a rush that you have to dive into a metro. Or let your heartbeat raise your blood pressure.  Unless I’m a tycoon making a $1,000,000+ deal or something.  I’m not promoting carelessness and disregard for others time.  I look to keep time, prepare well, and set off.  But once I’ve done my part it’s out of my hands.

Throwing away stuff: I now regularly and ruthlessly get rid  off any material possessions I have that I do not need.  A piece of clothing has a tear? Dress shoes too old? Furniture? Anything and everything that is not needed gets donated, sold or thrashed.  I’m a borderline minimalist now.  I’m not frugal or a saver though, but I’ve transitioned to quality over quantity.

Ignoring politics: I’ve been really engaged in US politics most the past 18 months, because of Obama’s election, and then the health care reform.  However, for the past couple of months I decided to stop reading political blogs.  The only politics I see is by scanning the Washington Post headlines.  I’d found that reading sites like DailyKos or Redstate were making me emotionally invested into issues that didn’t matter to me.  Plus it got addictive.

Ignoring celebrities: Well relatively.  That means not having an opinion on what they “should or shouldn’t” be doing with their own time and money.  That means not living vicariously through the lives of others.

Wearing only one color of clothing:  Purple.  That’s the only color of clothing I wear.  Everything else is black or grey.  The one exception is soccer jersey’s. I’ll buy all Liverpool, England, and Italy jerseys.  Obviously not all of those colors are grey/white.  I ended up with that because first it’s my favorite color.  Second, it’s made shopping for clothes easy.  If it’s not purple, grey or black I don’t see it.

Not watching TV: There is no reason to be paying for cable.  Really.  The only justifiable thing I can think of is sports, but there are sports bars, friends houses and ESPN3.    For me, in my experience, television encourages mindless channel zapping, which in turn gets people addicted. With internet and netflix, in which you can select what you “must” watch, cableTV really is pointless.

Reality TV = Poison

These are just a few things I’ve worked on that have made my life easier.  There’s still some areas I could improve on.  I surf the internet a lot and check e-mail more than ideal.  I’ll reduce that eventually.   Hope was able to relate to some people, and I look forward to getting some more simplification tips from readers.