THE BIG SWEEP

Seasons are changing. Not the ones outside, but the one in my life. During this season one word has stood out to me more than any other, and that is the word “value.”

What do I value?

Who do I value?

Will this thing add value to my life?

Does this relationship add value to my life?

Does this work add value to my life?

Some might argue I am experiencing a mid-life crisis. If that is the case; “Yay Me!” I sure need an excuse.

I have been on somewhat of a mission lately. The big sweep. I can’t stand clutter.  Clutter makes me frustrated. I can’t stand clutter at home, at work, or in my personal life. I believe everything has a place and everything should be in its designated place at… well… pretty much at all times. It is not uncommon for me to do a sweep of my home, office, or life two to three times a year and rid it of anything that I feel weighs me down, holds me back, or doesn’t add value to my life.

We really don’t grow up utilizing the word value. Instead we grow up using words like “buy” or “want.”  We often make statements instead of asking questions.   I want to buy a boat. Therefore, I will buy a boat. Like a hunter… see it, want it, kill it, bag it, and take it home. As opposed to asking the broader question; “Will a boat add value to my life?” If so, how?

I’ve been making a lot of changes as I look at the bigger picture and ascertain what this little word “value” actually means for my life, at this particular stage in my life. The goal is really quite simple. Spend my time and money on the things and people I value and eliminate the waste of my time and my money. I recognize the value derived by things and relationships can change over time. In my “life sweep” I am finding it necessary to do the following:

  1. I cleaned out my home of any and all material items that didn’t add value to our lives.
  2. I refuse to buy any new material item unless it adds value…. My way of ascertaining that is to ask myself this question; “Do I LOVE it?” If not, I am holding on to my greens. It really has to rise to that level. FYI… I LOVE art, shoes, and purses (because some things are sacred, darn it!).
  3. I am refusing to buy name brands for the sake of the brand or as a matter of convenience. If there is a less expensive version, I am intentionally going that route. I work hard for my money. Why on earth should I give it away so carelessly?
  4. I am eliminating wasteful spending whenever and however I can. I went through every penny being spent and evaluated the “why” through the lens of value. I have found that “wasteful” is a subjective term. For example: I think cable is wasteful spending. I don’t need 3,000 channels. I rarely watch television. My husband, however, enjoys sports… almost ALL sports… hockey, golf, baseball, football… I’m not exaggerating. Because of this, our cable bill is just plain stupid! However, having the ability to watch any sporting event he chooses to see adds value to his life. It’s how he relaxes. For now, the cable is safe.
  5. I don’t get caught up in trends. This one has been easy for me. I’m not much of a follower.
  6. Writing. I like writing whether anyone reads it or not. It adds value to my life. It stays regardless of anyone else’s opinion.
  7. I am working to make sure those I value know it. This boils down to time, not gifts. For years I have worked around the clock. This has often resulted in my husband and kids waiting for me to respond to an e-mail or make or take a call. For 45 minutes they waited for me in the entry of Disney World while on vacation as I helped a client work through a non-emergency situation. That’s just not okay. I’ve always justified this as something that is necessary when running a business. It is expected by others. When in reality, I am responsible for establishing those expectations. Which leads me to…
  8. I am intentionally separating my business and my personal life. This one is tough on me. But, as my husband reminds me; “the world will not end because you didn’t take care of that call (text or e-mail) RIGHT NOW. It can wait until tomorrow.”
  9. I am finding that I have to set hard-line boundaries with others to ensure what I’ve listed here happens. Some people are REALLY not going to be happy with me. I am not giving to charities if I don’t value the work just for the sake of donating or so I don’t hurt someone’s feelings. I am (and will be) reminding those on social media to call or e-mail my business during working hours instead of contacting me through my personal media sites. I am refusing to answer legal questions via texts or calls on my personal lines or after hours. I bought a separate “personal phone” (in this case the added expense added value) and gave the number to only a handful of people (I’m not sure if I remember what that feels like). I removed all access to e-mail on my personal phone. Unfortunately, I can’t trust myself not to check (self-imposed compliance).
  10. Over the past five years, I’ve eliminated several relationships from my life. A lot were built on pretense and appearances and brought more stress than joy. Snip! Snip! They had to go. It wasn’t easy, in fact it was down right hard, but it had to be done.
  11. We are making a conscious effort to enjoy life. I’ll feely admit we are chasing happiness. And, I fully believe we are winning in that pursuit. This also equates to time and ensuring those I value know it. My family actually likes to spend time with me. I’m not certain why. I think this is absurd. (We are all riding on the same crazy train, I suppose), but they do. I owe them my time and full attention in return. They need to know I value them over one of my client’s latest problems.
  12. We are slowing down. Auuuugh! That terrifies me! I closed a business and eliminated all business related web pages. It takes a lot of time and attention to keep up with multiple businesses and multiple social media sites. Frankly, for me, it just wasn’t worth the time. The money earned didn’t make up for the time lost and the moments lost.
  13. I’ve made the difficult decision to narrow my practice instead of expanding it in 2018.
  14. I’m doing things I enjoy, which includes feeding my insatiable need for education and art. I’m taking biology classes at the community college and I bought a tattoo training kit. I’ve mastered acrylics on stretched canvases and my new season goal is to now master ink on skin.  I got this! These hobbies add value to me just as golf and shooting adds value to my husband. Wasteful spending for some, but not for us.
  15. We are making intentional efforts to travel more as a couple, instead of as a family. With one kid grown and the other six months away from being an adult we are finding it’s important to seize the day. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can (and should) do today, and for us that means ENJOY LIFE… our way.
  16. I’m embracing this 2nd-Half. This season has a lot of possibilities, and if I have anything to do with it, a lot of adventure as well. You have just one life. Make it count. Make it yours. Own it. Do you Boo Boo. I’ll be here cheering you on.

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