The other day I was on an excursion to one of my favorite cities to "schmy around". While there I stopped in the local library. I can't walk past a book sale. I've always given them a glance. Recently I am always on the look out for art books, writing books and general self-help ones.
I picked up one that seemed interesting- "Give It up: My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less", by Mary Carlomagno. Partly I was curious because in the bio, the author lives in Hoboken, NJ another of my favorite cities and partly because I gravitate to simple living type books. As the book jacket says, " Like most people, Mary Carlomagno was stressed out, overscheduled, and tripping over the clutter of her days- until she decided to take control and simplify her life. Each month she renounced one thing: alcohol, shopping, elevators, newspapers, cell phones, dining out, television taxis, coffee, cursing, chocolate and multitasking."
While there are no real profound truths in the book, it was an easy read and is a good reminder that we all need to take stock of the things that are cluttering our lives. She does have some interesting observations especially when she refrains from conventional societal norms. She learns how to stand up for herself and her decisions and not be swayed by the crowd.
One thing the author does learn is discipline. She sticks to her plan. That alone is worth something- to achieve a goal and to see if you have the mettle to do so. By doing so she also becomes stronger knowing that she doesn't fold to peer pressure. She learns self-reliance and has a better understanding of herself.
Books like that have me wonder if I can handle discipline, sacrifice and delayed gratification? Do I have the fortitude to go the distance? My worry is that I cannot- after all I am the first one to admit I read the back of the book first.
First I need to reflect on the things that are getting in my way, that make me feel cluttered, stressed and block my enjoyment in life. Then I need to try it- to be willing to change, even for a short time and see if doing something differently or eliminating something in my life might make things better.
Do you feel chronically stressed, anxious, depressed, or angry? Can you get enough sleep? Have you done a time management review of your schedule? Where are you spending your time, energy, resources? Does that make you feel good or are you resenting it?
Is there something that is dragging you down that you might consider giving up for a month? What is it? What would that look like on your calendar? For your family? What could you learn from that?