As another birthday approaches and I glide further into my 50s, I've been thinking a lot about how letting go of some of my old notions and habits has had a profound and positive effect on my life. On top of that, each day is a whole lot sweeter.
Here are 11 simple ways I'm finding less is more than enough:
You know those people who thrive on conflict and drama? It's unhealthy and damaging, both physically and mentally. I'm at a point in my life where I avoid it like the plague. Whether it's road rage or discussing politics during a family dinner on a visit home, I say no thank you.
I've made the choice to limit my exposure to situations where conflict thrives. This isn't to say I'm not up for a healthy debate, but getting my feathers ruffled over insignificant stuff isn't part of my day.
2. Material clutter
I love nice things just like everybody else, but an expensive handbag (or lots of really inexpensive ones!) doesn't equal happiness, inner peace or love. I recently cleaned out my bag collection, donating about a dozen to charity and keeping the ones I really use and love. I have more space in my closet, and somewhere out there someone is putting my excess baggage to good use! Let go of the junk and clutter, help someone in need and set yourself free.
We all know our metabolism slows down as we age and we just can't eat the way we used to. Focus on quality calories, organic whole foods and smaller portions. Steer clear of processed and sugary foods, and drink plenty of water. Try cutting out all animal products for a few weeks and see how amazing you feel!
There's a saying out there I love: "It becomes less important to have a ton of friends, and more important to have real ones." Yup. Weed your garden of fringe friends and nurture those precious people who are authentically there for you.
It's not so much about being "less cool" than it's about not giving a sh*t about being "cool." If I want to dance to Glen Campbell or Greenday, so be it. If I want to wear my Uggs with my pajama bottoms when I walk the dog, that's OK with me, and that's all that matters.
6. Saying yes
I used to think I had to say "yes" no matter what, my thinking being I didn't want to disappoint anyone. I felt overwhelmed, burned out and resentful. Learn to say no, to set boundaries, to do what's right for you. I've found this to be one of the most liberating changes as I've gotten older.
My life is happier, more positive on a daily basis without gossip, and I see the world with less cynicism. As Mom used to say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut."
8. Magnifying glasses
Staring at our imperfections is troubling enough without zooming in on it times five. That magnifying glass might be needed to pluck a few stray eyebrows from time to time, but otherwise don't linger too long. The world sees you and loves you just as you are, in your natural form, not blown up to unrealistic proportions. Most people don't notice the things that bother us, so why waste time obsessing over them?
Studies have shown that as we get older we become "less" concerned with what others think and how we are perceived. Hallelujah! It's a satisfying place to be and helps allow us to evolve to our full potential.
10. Technical distractions
Whether it's too much TV, social media or surfing shopping sites, technology is a time suck and takes us away from more meaningful experiences. I've found limiting my "tech" leisure time to an hour a day has opened up more time for things like meditation, yoga, reading, cooking healthy meals and spending quality time with friends and family.
What a gift of self-love to stop beating ourselves up, and in turn those around us. Being less judgmental heightens our creativity, self-esteem, level of gratitude and kindness. It takes a bit of awareness and focus, but will soon become second nature. I don't want to be that bitter old lady who gripes about everything. I want to live the rest of my days in peace and harmony with myself and the world.
I hope a few of these ideas will resonate with you, no matter how old you are.