When I started on my journey to living a simpler life, I did a lot of research on the subject. Some of that research led me to minimalism blogs and writings on slow living. While these philosophies on life differed in many ways, they had 1 commonality — a focus on creating a meaningful life. And all 3 theories agreed on one thing, to live a life filled with meaning you need to know what’s important to you.
Creating A Meaningful Life
Spend time listening to mainstream media, Instagram influencers, or reading popular magazines, and you will come to believe that a meaningful life is one filled with stuff. The bigger your house, and the more possessions you have to fill it, then the more satisfied you will be. And if you’re toting the big name brands, then you are truly living the dream. But how many of us genuinely feel like we are living the dream? How many Louis Vuitton bags does it take to add meaning to your life? Is that big screen TV filling your lounge room wall bringing you lasting joy, or a sense of heartfelt accomplishment?
If the answer is no — then ask yourself; what does bring you joy? When do you feel a sense of heartfelt accomplishment or satisfaction? If you can’t answer these questions, but want to, then it may be time for you to turn off the TV, set limits on your Instagram scrolling and define what’s important to you.
Our world is set up to keep us distracted and overwhelmed. It offers us too much work, too much entertainment, too many choices to make. That’s how we’re held on the hamster wheel of consumerism, the lifestyle that keeps us working like beavers so we can buy, buy, buy. We are conditioned to get on that hamster wheel and run like crazy from the moment we step into a classroom, so please, no judgements about the way you live. If you look around you right now and see that you’re drowning in all your stuff, make no judgements. If you feel empty, anxious or depressed, again, make no judgements. This is how you’re supposed to feel, this is how you’re taught to be.
So as you begin creating a meaningful life, be compassionate to yourself. Show yourself kindness every step of the way, because my friend, you are about to swim against the tide. You’re wading into new territory and taking a stand for yourself. Fortunately, many have gone ahead, there’s a clear path for us to take. Let’s get started.
What Do You Want?
I once went to a hypnotherapist who asked me what outcome I wanted from our session. When I told my therapist the result I was looking for without hesitation, she was surprised. She shared with me that most people who come to see her can tell her exactly what they don’t want, but they can’t tell her what they do want instead.
How do you go about creating a meaningful life that you love if you don’t know what that is? Ask yourself this question:
What Do I Want My Life To Look Like?
Let go and dream a life that will make you happy. Give yourself time to define what’s important to you. Don’t censor yourself as you dream, nothing is too wild or impossible. If you can dream it, you can create it.
Take Your Time
It took your whole life to get to where you are now. That equates to a lot of indoctrination into consumerism, so don’t demand an immediate response to your enquiry. Take your time, ask yourself questions like:
- What does the term “living a meaningful life” mean to me personally?
- What would be the ideal work/life balance for me?
- If I didn’t have a TV, what would I do to fill my time?
- What did I love doing when I was a kid? Could I do that again now?
- Who would I love to spend more time with?
- What have I always wanted to do but not attempted?
- If I didn’t have to work so much, what would I do instead?
- What if I didn’t spend all of my paychecks on stuff? What would I do with the money I’ve spent on gadgets, subscriptions, eating out etc. if I had it in one big lump right now?
Go slow, dig beneath the surface, unearth what is living deep in your heart. Give yourself permission to nurture the dreams that have been stored away for that magical “one day.”
Write It All Down
I would suggest investing in a journal, whether you choose a school exercise book, a notepad or a leather-bound keepsake is not relevant. What is, however, is that you record everything you’re unearthing about what is important to you, and the type of life you want to live. Record it, so you don’t forget it, and so you can begin to take action on it.
It’s Time To Start Creating A Meaningful Life
Before we end our time together, I want to remind you that this is your life. Not your parents, or your partners. And especially not the fat cat advertising executive finding new ways to manipulate you to waste your time and energy filling your life with stuff. This whole “life” thing is wholly yours, to spend your days in ways that make your heart feel full. Take that first step towards living a simpler, more meaningful life. Define what is important to you, you deserve to live the life of your dreams.