Living deliberately

I read this post today. It’s all about living deliberately, which I know is kind of a buzzy topic now, but it is also one that fits nicely into my life at the moment. It has this quote:

And so it became clear to us that the crux is not so much about which lifestyle you choose – one is not inherently better than another – but rather that you do choose, and you do so deliberately.

That idea really resonates with me right now. Life is a series of choices that we really, truly can opt in or out of. We don’t have to be desk jockeys (see: my husband’s line of work), but it’s ok if we want to (see: my daily existence). The article asks a series of questions to help you decide if you’re making the right decisions for you, living the life you want.

1) What are your priorities? (sub-question: For what am I willing to compromise and make sacrifices? What am I willing to give up?)

I know for sure that my marriage is number one. When we chose each other, we both acknowledged that it meant we had to put us first in everything. Heck, even before we were engaged, we put our adventure into a new life above everything else. Beyond that, being fulfilled professionally is up there. It’s why I work in social services. Clearly we were willing to give up familiarity, financial security (well, more or less — we were never well-off, but our budget used to include new clothes and haircuts), and a degree of certainty to start over. In the long term, I don’t think we’ll be happy being broke, though, since we want to have babies and travel, so eventually this choice will require re-evaluation.

2) Do you recognize that you have choices? Always?

Always? No. Most of the time? Yes. On days when I’m deeply down, I do feel stuck. And honestly, a year of sacrifice has been harder on me than on my husband in a lot of ways. He is the one pursuing a professional dream. While I’m glad to be in the line of work I’m in, and have been promoted to a middle-management/leadership role since moving here, I’m not pursuing anything. I’m just working. He gets the excitement of the chase and, amid frustrations of the work he does to help us stay afloat, he gets bursts of creative expression. All that being said, I know I have the choice to change careers, granted that I could find another job. I choose not to exercise it.

3) What’s better: Talking or doing?

As the post says, Talk is inspiring. Doing is sublime.

4) Do your choices have consequences?

Fuck yes.

5) Do you regret?

I never regret choosing my husband, and I never regret moving to LA to start our life together. Sometimes I do regret what I have chosen to do with my life. My work has great meaning, and I often find my actual duties to be rewarding, but overall, I know I could be happier. I wish I could go back to school, but that is not a possibility right now due to money. Also due to the fact that I can’t decide between law school and a registered dietitian program. I keep thinking of doing the latter in night school, but I am just not ready to commit.

6) Can you be dissatisfied with an outcome and still be content that you took action?

Absolutely. With very few exceptions, I only tend to regret the things I haven’t done. Regretting the choices I’ve actively made is just a waste of time. You can’t un-do things, but you can certainly do them. Inaction is one of my greatest enemies, so I rarely opt for it over trying something. Frankly, if I could do so reasonably, I would change jobs, locations, habits (but not husbands!) every single year. I like change.

7) Do you understand different strokes and respect different folks?

For sure. While my lifestyle isn’t terrible unconventional, I still know it wouldn’t work for a lot of people. I love this quote from the post: Tolerance and understanding of lifestyles different than your own: that’s a sign of true confidence.

In sum, yes, I am living deliberately, but I’m also still trying to make my choices work. I wish it were as easy as making a decision and having the happiness flow right in. That isn’t my reality, and even with the heartaches, that’s ok. Some struggle is necessary. It is a reminder that you have to strive for what you want. If everything came too easily, I don’t think it would have the same amount of value.

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