Keeping it Simple in 2015
So here we are, the first week of the new year and for many of us, the first day back to work, to school, to our non-holiday routines. For some, this is a painful day--the first morning in weeks that began with the now-foreign sound of an alarm clock, followed by a stressful morning commute, an inbox full of unread emails. For others, today is a refreshing change from the hectic pace of the holidays--a return to normalcy.
Whether you're lamenting today's jolt back to reality or breathing a sigh of relief, most of us are looking at our daily lives with a slightly altered perspective during these first days of 2015. Across the country, gyms and exercise studios will be packed with new faces, emails announcing special juice cleanse offers and detox diet recipes will populate inboxes, the commercial breaks during our favorite shows will advertise meal-delivery diet plans and resistance treadmills that will melt away pounds guaranteed with 90-day risk-free trials! The annual self-improvement kick is real and it is pervasive. Regardless of whether you've set big goals for the year ahead or you've resolved to avoid resolutions, you're feeling it's presence.
I've spent most of my 20-odd years on this earth being future-oriented to a fault. I've thought or spoken the phrases I will be happy and things will be better followed by an if or a then far more times than I'd care to admit. I'm not here to knock resolutions--in fact I think they give us a vital kick of hope and motivation to get through the bleak winter months after the holidays--but I think, in my experience at least, sometimes it's easier to focus on the future, in all it's dreamy, abstract possibility, than to be present in the here and now.
We as a culture are programmed to feel "good" when we're on the move, getting shit done, completing tasks and checking things off a never-ending to-do list. This state of mind feels especially potent here in New York, where the most common response I hear to the question "how are you?" is "busy" and where I have recently found myself rushing out of my apartment on Saturday mornings only to realize that I don't really have anything I need to do. Overall, 2014 was a pretty good year for me. I made a lot of good changes that have made my life happier, but I also felt on multiple occasions--really for the first time in my life--that there weren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I "needed" to do. And that's f*cking stressful. And for what? How much good actually comes from all of that busyness and how much is just running in circles?
So, for 2015, I'm resolving to simplify my routine. Doing so will, for the most part, require letting go of a lot of invented busyness. A lot of my life in New York has been about trying to figure out how I'll get everything done, which, frankly, isn't a super productive use of time. Especially since a lot of the tasks that make up that "everything" are things that don't do much to improve my quality of life. This year, I'll try to spend less time spinning my wheels, and more time making an effort to slow down, be present in the moment, and be okay with doing what feels like less. I'm shooting for a more quality over quantity approach to the way I spend my time. More time doing the things that actually make me feel good--spending time with friends and family, reading on my couch, cooking new recipes, practicing yoga, swimming in the ocean, playing with my dog--and less time doing the things I think I should do--the errands, chores, check-list type things, that in the end, aren't really that important at all.
P.S. You may notice that WW got a new look for the new year. I hope that you'll find the new clean and simple design easier to navigate so you can spend less time searching for content and more time getting inspired for the weekend ahead. Let me know what you think!
image credit: Laura Ashley