My Essentials List

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This week I’ve decided to take on 52 Changes number five:
“Identify your essentials”. Everyday I’m supposed to do a different
step, from listing all the things I do (my long list), picking my top four-to-five
things (my short list), identifying which of these things I do these days and
making time to actually doing these top things, my essentials. I get a bit excited when I do lists that I ended up doing
all five steps in one sitting:

Step One – My long list (the things I do, my commitments and what I wish I could do): 

  • Do Zumba/Dance
  • Do mindful movements
  • Blog/Write
  • Take photos/instagrams
  • Share inspiring quotes/pretty pictures
  • Skype my family
  • Go for walks
  • Go exploring
  • Do push-ups
  • Edit video
  • Create shorts
  • Read
  • Research volunteer opportunities
  • Research accommodation options
  • Manage travel plans
  • Sit still

I had to think really hard about my long list. I’m in a very
fortunate position that I’ve been able to turn my commitments to things that I
enjoy doing. For example, I love travel planning from researching airbnb places
to updating and finessing our uber detailed budget plan (yes, the OCD in me has
recorded every single income and expense and has forecasted our money
projection until October, and it’s so much fun!)

Step two – My short list (my top five things I love most):

  • Helping people
  • Staying connected/writing
  • Being mindful
  • Dancing/exercise
  • Travel planning

I decided to group my things into categories, which come to
think of it may be cheating because I managed to reduce my sixteen things into
five.

Step three – Compare and contrast (which things are on my
short list and what aren’t):

As I wrote my lists it occurred to me “holy crap I’m
actually doing all of this oh my god that is so freaking cool!” It’s
pretty darn satisfying realising that I’m doing everything I want to do. Ever
since I started reading Zen Habits about two years ago I’ve longed for a life
of simplicity but I didn’t really know how to do that. Living simply to me
meant having more time, being happier, not be bogged down by stuff and life was
meant to be easier.

Then I had my little epiphany number two: “I AM living
simply! I feel happier, lighter and less cluttered.” I tried to think how
all this happened, what event changed, what I did, then I decided this is just
too cool. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been going through a somewhat transition
this past couple of months (or years). I’ve let things go (not feeling guilty
about having free time was a big one), I’ve given myself the benefit of the
doubt (now is the best time to try) and somehow I’ve gotten more time to just
do things (despite working super hard as an intern).

I’ve been a planner all my life, thinking of the different
possible scenarios, figuring out a plan B (often plan C, D and E). But for some
reason, doing these 52 Changes I haven’t had to try very hard. Perhaps it’s
because I decided to give myself a break: I wanted to try, and if I were to
fail, it was OK, because at least I gave it a go. And having that security
blanket has made me more vulnerable but also gave me that little push I needed
to jump.

As Leo Babauta says

Simplifying isn’t meant to leave
your life empty — it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really
want to do.

Since leaving my full time job in 2010, I’ve had time to
experiment with all sorts of jobs and volunteer work allowing me to have new
and exciting opportunities. At the same time I’ve been trying to find my
“thing”, what it is I really want to be doing. As it turns out I was
already doing them, but the lizard brain in me convinced me that it wasn’t
“good” enough. But now I smile at my poor silly lizard brain and will
revel in the fact I love my simple life, I love my giggly moods and I’m so damn
happy right now I may fall off my seat.

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