In the midst of my journey towards living my most meaningful life, I have had to take time to identify the certain aspects ,already in my life, that may be creating barriers throughout my journey. I find the easiest way for me to do this, is through writing. This gives me the opportunity to dig deep and find out what is bothering me. Have you taken the time to figure out what may be causing you stress or maybe even holding you back from living your most meaningful life? What works best for you? I have a friend that enjoys going for a hike because it helps bring her back down to Earth and remember how much she already has to be grateful for. Once she does this, I think other issues becomes less relevant and she also has a clear mind so that she can then figure out what it is that is holding her back or disrupting her happiness. We all have so much going on sometimes that it is very easy to get overwhelmed. It is also easy to get stuck in almost a mindless routine where we forget to take a few moments just for ourselves, to enjoy something we love or to eat an amazing meal. This gets challenging when you work a full time job, you have a home and cars to maintain, and especially once you have a family. These are all great things that we need, but how much?
I was raised with the expression “family is everything”. I can remember this expression being engraved in my head and sometimes I would refer back to it. You know I was never super close with my grandparents and they have never been the kindest people to my mom or my dad, BUT family is everything so you tolerate it. As I have gotten older I have thought about this more and more because I have some aunts, uncles, and even cousins that I hardly know and have nothing in common with and yet we are forced to surround ourselves with these people during the holidays because THEY ARE FAMILY. This never leads to a fun and exciting holiday or even family reunion. I know this may be different for other families because I have friends that are extremely close with every family member all the way up to third cousins and I think that is amazing. For my family, this is not the case. Our reunions and gatherings are usually awkward and boring to be quite honest because I do not know what to talk about. I also do not really agree with the way many of them choose to live their lives simply because we do not have the same values and I am pretty sure the rest of my family probably thinks the same thing about me. However, we are family, even though we do not know anything about each other and “family is everything”. This topic sprung upon this morning because the 4th of July is coming up!! This is always a fun holiday for me. Since “family is everything”, my family decides to get together for this holiday too. Imagine that. They do a big awkward camp out and float the river where everyone talks about how much weight they would like to lose this year while we chug beer to make the event more fun for ourselves. I have been able to get out of this trip as I have gotten older, but my mom and usually my younger siblings go just to be polite. This year something crazy happened. About two weeks before the 4th, my mom called me and told me that she really did not want to go on the camp trip this year because the whole trip makes her feel overwhelmed and nervous!!! I could not believe my ears because I have been thinking the same thing for years now. I asked her why she would force herself to go to something that is more stressful than fun?? AND she says because they are family and family is everything. I just do not understand how that saying would help justify putting yourself through a weekend of stress… The way I see it is that life is seriously short. The older I have gotten the faster my days go by. A week flies right past me and if this is the case then I only want to be doing the things I love with the people I love. I would also much rather be around people that truly love me and want to hangout with me. I have had to put many of those family members aside in my life because they have been the cause for some barriers during my journey. It really can be challenging at first, especially if you are like me, because I worry about everyone’s happiness ,sometimes more than my own, and I would never want someone to think that I do not like them or hurt their feelings. I can’t think of a single person I don’t like, but there are many people that I would prefer to keep as acquaintances whether we are related or not. I think that you decide who your family is. My family includes my significant other, my parents, my siblings, my puppy, my grandpa, my significant other’s parents, and my three best friends. These are the people that make me laugh, they lift me up, and we all have a great time together. I wish I could spend every holiday with them because it would be a huge party. To me there is absolutely no need for you to put yourself in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or even unwanted. AND guess what! My mom got out of the annual 4th of July camp trip this year! She decided to spend the holiday with me and our little family. I am so proud of her because I know that probably was not easy.
That was my holiday advice for everyone 🙂 Before I really started practicing minimalism, I always had those pressures to act a certain way around those family members and attend every event. I don’t know if any of you have felt this way about family members, coworkers, or maybe even friends you have had for a long time, but I feel much lighter since I have removed some of those people. I have made some space in my mind and my life for some amazing new friends and I can not wait to meet them.
I hope you find joy in my expression of words.