Treadmill or Stairs?

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If you think this is a post about exercise, you’re wrong.

I just picked up a couple of books: Savvy Chic – The art of more for less by Anna Johnson, Making the Good Life Last by Michael A. Schuler, The ProsperousHeart – Creating a life of “Enough” by Julia Cameron with Emma Lively and The Not so Big Life – Making room for what really matters by Sarah Susanka. Do you see the common thread? This post is about creating a life of purpose and quality.

Most of my life I bought into the “ideal” of making a lot of money just to turn around and spend it – mostly on crap that I really didn’t need. Shopping was always an event. My mom and I would drive an hour to go to the discount mall and come home with our car loaded down with our “bargains”. Shopping was a buzz, but the problem with most buzzes is that they eventually go away and you have to turn around and do it all over again to get another buzz. Maybe I wasn’t blowing my cash on alcohol or drugs, but I was still blowing it. I racked up credit card debt and I don’t even remember what I bought and I no longer own any of it.  To keep my little habit going, of course I had to work and I did so at a soul-sucking job. I was on a treadmill, running fast but going nowhere.

I bought into this life. I tried hard to be the corporate climber and had a career in insurance and even made some decent money at it. But it didn’t last for very long because as it so happens whenever you are ill-suited for something, I crashed and burned. I hated that job. I hated climbing the corporate ladder. All I really wanted to do all my life was to create. Even my Briggs-Myer test said I was a crafter. My mom, who really wanted better for me and meant well, told me that all my crafting was great as a hobby but I had to do better if I wanted to be independent. And I followed her advice, got a college degree in marketing and I have spent almost every single minute since then trying to go back to doing what I know I’ve wanted to do in my heart since I can remember.

I problaby won’t ever make a lot of money at it, right now I’m not making ANY money doing it, but what I’ve realized is that when I fill my life up DOING the things I really love, I feel fulfilled instead of empty inside. I don’t require the buzz of shopping because I get such a buzz out of creating.  So I’m going to start shedding the unneccessary stuff and only keep what’s necessary or what I love (that means the wall of yarn is staying). And I’m finally, once and for all (because if I don’t do it now, then when?) building a career where I can create. In the past money and confidence always stopped me, but now I am more worried about dying before I am able to achieve a life that really matters to me. I have such regret about the time I have wasted but I can’t get any of it back so I try not to dwell on it. Instead I focus on how I want to spend my time now – am I living in sync with my values and passion?

I’ve stepped off of the treadmill and I decided to take the stairs. It’s not less work but at least each step is moving me forward.

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