Monday, March 28, 2011

“Happiness Doesn't Always Make Me Feel Happy.”

Square Paradox

This is one of Gretchen Rubin’s “11 Happiness Paradoxes to Contemplate As You Think About Your Happiness Project.”  As I read through her post, I started to think about the paradoxes that I am finding in my journey to organization, simplicity, frugality and happiness.
1.   Living simply is a lot of work
I’m told that it gets easier as you become more adjusted to living simply in an innate way, but the path to simplicity takes a lot of work. I have to be mindful of what I’m buying, doing, thinking, etc. I have to spend time pouring over budgets and cleaning out closets and contemplating what I truly want.  It has taken a tremendous amount of work to get where I am, but I’m realizing I’m not anywhere near where I want to be. 

2.   Getting organized makes me feel disorganized
As I tackle one project, it seems like a dozen more line up and/or are neglected. I find myself wishing for more time in the day so that I can get my NEW organizing projects done whilst not neglecting my regularly scheduled activities and chores. Sure, I can make great headway on the master bedroom closet, but at the cost of mopping my floors. I keep thinking there is going to be a magic moment where it all clicks and suddenly I am organized and run a tight ship where nothing goes neglected. Somehow I doubt this will ever be a reality, but I can hope. Until then, I need to find a way to be less disorganized as I get organized!

3.   By limiting ourselves, we’re gaining more freedom
Budget. It is a scary word, isn’t it? Conjures up all kinds of images of going without and having restrictions placed on us and general misery. While I’d love to say we do an AMAZING job of being on a budget and have found THE perfect system, I can’t. I do know that by taking a hard look at what we want to be our family’s priorities and how we want to live, we’ve been able to pare out the non-essential.  Like the organizing and simplifying, this requires constant maintenance and upkeep, but the beauty of being on a budget is that we’re able to contemplate living a life that was not a possibility a year ago. Budgeting and sticking to that budget has created freedom that I have so desperately craved and is allowing me to look forward with a great deal of hope for our future as a family.

4.   Finding contentment and joy in what I already have, but striving to improve what I have.
I have learned to enjoy and love what I have, but I want to better it. The desire to better our circumstances has not changed, but the focus has.  I’m finding that instead of focusing on trying to “keep up with the Joneses” and feeling like I could never do/be enough, that in focusing on what I want my priorities to be I’ve found peace and contentment. That isn’t to say I don’t still curse the house-to-mortgage ratio or our lack of space from time to time, I AM human afterall, but instead of channeling so much energy into trying to improve something that is not going to change, I focus on the achievable and that which brings me joy and work to improve that.  I work to improve our life as a family, not the size of our physical space. I try harder to be there in the moment with my child and to improve myself as a parent, rather than focusing on the “stuff” and toys he might want. Things like that have helped me to find the right kind of focus on improvement while being happy with what I have. Not resigned to what I have, but actually happy with it.
What are the paradoxes you’re finding in your own life?


  1. I can so relate to #2: I find that when cleaning up/clearing out, I make even more of a mess. It's frustrating. But I'm plugging along.

  2. Sue--I'm hoping that this is like one GIANT organization project. Right now everything is pulled out and a mess, but by the end of the project it will all be in order and be lovely.

  3. I could have written 1 & 2 myself!! You are reading my mind!

  4. Simple living requires we re-learn new ways of doing things. That is hard and time-consuming. There is no hurry though. At least that is what I tell myself. :)

  5. @Readyset-- I think it is because we're both in the same boat! Just starting out and not exactly innately organized! :) We can do it though!
    @Megan-- I'm telling myself the same thing!!


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