I started doing this a couple months ago, but I think I may have hit turbo speed, at least for me. I don't mean to sound all new-agey (because let's be real...I'm not), but I've really been examining what and who makes my life better and what and who don't (doesn't? I'm so tired...still dealing with insomnia).
There was a time, a few years ago, where I realized that I got pressured into social obligations because I felt I "should". I'm not talking about whether to show up at a good friend's wedding. I'm talking about committing to a vacation that I don't want to go on, but when else am I going to get to go to <insert place here>? I end up going and not having fun and then I get angry at myself, because I didn't really want to go. I just didn't deal with that when I felt it. Oprah said trust your gut (I say, half-joking); it's just hard to hear your gut sometimes. Because your brain is kind of a bully and tells your gut to shut up.
Anyway, it's very easy to get weighed down by "stuff". And by stuff, I mean objects and e-mails and people that detract from your life instead of add to it. I don't know. Does that sound harsh? It's been energizing to get rid of objects (though I still have more to go), my e-mail is getting under control, the people part is hard but it's a matter of being good to yourself. I had been giving away stuff mostly because I was running out of room (and still, you should see the garage...the car barely fits...I admit that I actually hate gardening). I hadn't thought about how complication was really a drag. More stuff, lots of distraction, negativity. Like attracts like and you end up in a sucky place. So I am not sure where this realization for me came from; I think that mostly right now, I find pleasure in what is very simple. Like you would think sleep would be simple and I would find pleasure in it if I was able to sleep through the night, but that is another story (or maybe a symptom of this story). It's like cleaning out your refrigerator and then deciding not to go grocery shopping to fill it back up because you like that cool, clean place you just created. I'm creating that cool, clean place in my life. I just decided.
OK, so one of the biggest effects of this change for me is cleaning out my scheduled recordings in my DVR. I know that sounds ridiculous. But I was thinking about what I was spending my time watching and really, was "the Hills" making my life better of just making me a little dumber a half hour at a time (no judgment to anyone who watches...I'm prioritizing)? So no more Real World (isn't it the same shizz, different city?), Dancing with the Stars (possibly the reason why fast forward was invented), The Hills. Survivor, The Amazing Race, Top Chef; still in.
Another effect: I've stopped buying books. I literally have about 100 books that I bought and have not read yet. Was the buying behavior compulsive? I don't know. I like to read (though have had little time for it lately) and I like to be surrounded by books. I even like the way they smell. But I don't need any *more* books.
I'm even thinking of packing light for Australia (OK, for me, that means one big suitcase instead of 2). I'm not sure I can do it, but I am going to give it a shot.
As for the people part, I've learned a lot from and about my friends lately. My friends are people I feel my best around. Everyone else are acquaintances. It's that gut thing again; and taking the time to figure out why you feel bad around some people and great around others. And not owing anyone a place in your life (I told you...new agey....so sorry...no crystals or chants, I promise).
Did you ever meet or see someone who lived a simple life, with few possessions and they seemed happier than the average person? I want to be that happy person. I'm very far from having few possessions, but I think it's a matter of degrees. I guess that I just connected the dots. I was doing these things and realized that there was a theme here and it's making my life better.
Now the question is what to do with that bread maker in the closet that I haven't used in about 8 years. I mean, seriously.