It’s 2018, and all around me, people are talking about two topics, joy and simplicity. From Scott Carney and Amelia Boone both posting about creating more joy to numerous friends dumping social media accounts in search of simplicity. Over the last couple of months, I have quietly begun my own journeys focusing on both joy and simplicity.
To get to where I am right now you have to turn back the clocks a bit. It was November around 3 am in the morning sitting at my computer in a tent in Las Vegas at World’s Toughest Mudder. I was freezing, tired, and frustrated as I tried to upload the same photo album of race photos for the third time trying desperately to keep a connection. I was messaging a friend saying and for the first time found myself not having any fun covering an event.
I returned home from that trip wondering what was going on. What had happened? It dawned on me it had been months since I had a chance to do something just for pure fun. If I backtrack a bit more, I headed east for the entire summer to see family and get married. The two months were great but in the end, my partner and I accumulated a total of six days alone the entire time.
We returned home and 48-hours later I was on a flight for two back-to-back work trips. Then over the next twelve weeks found myself on the road nearly seven. When I was home I was decompressing and trying to catch up what I missed while being on site at an event. It was exhausting, I was burned out, and my personal life was crap. Add in some adrenal fatigue and that’s where I found myself during World’s Toughest Mudder.
I got home and basically realized I needed to start to make a few changes. First was getting some rest. Rest both in the physical form and mental form. Second, was finding activities I wanted to do and think about what brings me joy. Third, was prioritize the rest of the people and things in my life. During the last month and change more people have asked me:
“Are you okay?”
The answer has always been, I am fine. In truth, all I needed was some quiet time. I needed to recharge and have some time just reading, painting, and just being quieter. I love my work but it drains me, especially the fall and championship season. More recently a friend asked me what I have been doing to simplify my life as it seems something has changed. That sparked this blog. So here it is my steps to simplify and find joy in 2018.
Find Activities You Enjoy Doing
For me, this has been reinvigorating my first love in life: Alpine Skiing. The second is to challenge myself to try something new I have always wanted to try but was afraid. That is pole fitness (talked about recently in an episode). I also enjoy reading and paint by numbers. So with that in mind, those are the things I like to do for myself.
The second step has been finding the time to do the things I want to do and still have a family and jobs. Luckily, I make my own schedule and I do love schedules so I am shifting around some of my work time to make room for the things I like. My schedule currently allows for 2 mornings a week of skiing, 2 mornings a week of pole classes, and times in the afternoons and weekends for other activities. It does mean getting up a little earlier and going to bed a little earlier but the time doing both is not only good for the mind but also the body and soul.
This is a weird one, but because of work and various things I had amassed almost 5,000 friends on Facebook. I don’t know so many of them and found my feed totally bombarded with people I do not know. Quietly using the birthday tab, I started to unfriend people I did not know in real life. So far I am down over 2,000 people (it’s taken a lot of time, but feels so good) and still going.
As I delete these virtual friends (who are really strangers) I am finding I have more time for my real life friends and have more space to connect with those I really care about. I did the same with Instagram and Twitter years ago and every now and then do purges. But with Facebook, it’s been liberating.
Less Social Media
My work keeps me on social media and I f**king love it. I am a junkie. I love reading stories and find myself sucked into reading the drama. However, this year when I got a notification I had been on Facebook for over 13 years I had a holy sh#t moment. So as of the new y, ar I took socials off all my devices. I still have Instagram and Facebook Pages and Messenger on my phone for work reasons but everything else is gone.
I feel like a junkie in rehab at the moment and keep wanting to check the phone for my next dopamine hit. But slowly I am turning my phone back into a phone and actually calling and texting people on it again instead of just mindlessly scrolling. On a recent podcast, we talked about this with Katy Bowman.
It’s been so easy for me when home to just be on devices and not really home. I work from home so finding work time and non-work time can be tough. There is always more work to do. However, part of the joy and simplify the process is taking more time offline for my family so I can actually be present. Whether that is cooking, watching a movie, playing with our dogs, or whatever.
So like less social media this means creating offline hours. Sometimes full offline weekends. If I am not working at a race or event on a weekend I am offline, no emails, and not constant socials. I spend my offline weekends reading, thinking of new podcast ideas, and spending time with my husband doing stuff. Even if that is painting the house or cleaning.
This is probably the most challenging one and still the one I am working on but the family needs more time and it is something that 2018 is about.
More Real World Interaction
Since I work online and work from home I can go days without seeing people outside of my husband if I don’t leave the house. It’s not healthy. Humans need community. Part of creating that community is going to pole classes, but that isn’t really enough. This year I am working more on creating and maintaining friendships outside of the virtual world. It’s challenging as my “besties” basically all live outside of the United States these days or are in different states. But I do have friends local and it’s about reaching out to them more. Inviting them over to dinners. Having neighbor dinners. And basically getting out of my little virtual bubble world.
So those are my very basic tips for hoping to create more joy and simplicity in 2018. It does mean some life overhaul in some aspects but more time in the real world with real people is the goal. With this in mind, it frees up more time to work on further passion projects, advance the podcast, work on a few ideas that have been on the backburner for years for Dirt in Your Skirt, and hell time to be bored. Because being bored isn’t such a bad thing.
Do you have ideas for your life?
Please share them as I am nowhere close to perfect and definitely can use the help along the way.