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Don't Just Settle - Make it Meaningful, Happy, and Deeply Satisfying

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by monicadear

I am always a proponent of upgrading your lifestyle in as many ways as possible. I believe that for the sake of mental health, sanity, and security, we each deserve to follow our intuition, treat ourselves well, and look after our own best interests. If we focus on continuous improvement and do this naturally every day, with the mindset of being grateful and expressing deep respect for the gift of life, we can incrementally  change our living situation.

This idea of "not settling" but instead of "continuous improvement" can play out in your most basic day-to-day scenarios. For example, let's review some fundamental items like your bed, your kitchen, your bathroom, your morning commute, and your daily work or school routine.

Bed: I started out sleeping on the floor. This was fine during student and travelling days: as long as I had a sleeping bag for warmth and protection, I was fine. When I was backpacking, I even brought along a Hefty 60 gallon trash bag that I used as a makeshift tarp or ground cover. I could sleep on the cold, bare ground, if needed. However, as I needed more security and comfort (and grew older), I steadily upgraded to a futon, a mattress on the floor, a mattress on an Ikea frame, and now a real bed on a handmade bamboo bedframe.

What is your sleeping situation?

  • Are you happy and comfortable?
  • Is it a nice place to be?
  • Do you get enough rest?
  • Is it calming in your sleeping area?

You spend a third of your life in bed - make it as safe, nourishing, restful, and soothing as you can.


Kitchen: When I had a faltering and warmish refrigerator, a sad little burnt-out toaster that toasted only on one side, and a beat-up and moldering garbage can, I felt the exact same way as my appliances behaved: faltering, sad, and beat-up. Simple changes, replacement, or maintenance and repair makes the biggest difference! Once I upgraded or replaced the broken stuff, I felt better, immediately. Look around your kitchen: is it time to get rid of something you despise? Options for divesting yourself:

  • Freecycle it
  • Toss it
  • Donate it
  • Find a friend who needs it
  • Leave it on sidewalk (in some neighborhoods)

Once the offending items is gone, consider leaving that space empty or re-filling it with something that you love and appreciate and that works well.


Bathroom: You'll experience a greater sense of calmness and orderliness in this space when you reduce clutter. You constantly come to your bathroom - it's the place you must be when freshening up, relieving yourself, taking care of your body, and showering, bathing, shaving, and taking care of children's needs.

Plug up your leaks. I've experienced bathtub leaks, and the worst part of it is the high level of "Annoyance Factor" related to having a steady drip-drip-drip, coupled with the knowledge that the water bill will be higher that month. Get a repair person: they have better tools and know what they're doing. If you need professional assistance, find it: a plumber, a handyman, or organizer will help fix your leaks, install cabinets or remodel, or plan your space more efficiently.

Get rid of stale or unused items. If your bathroom has a bunch of unnecessary items, this contributes to a feeling of disorganization and disarray.

  • Check the floor for old buckets, used sponges, and balled-up tissue paper.
  • Check the medicine cabinet for out-of-date bottles and vials.
  • Remove moldy toothbrushes or dusty cleaning supplies.
  • Reduce the objects in your bathroom to the 5-10 items you use regularly.

Honor, respect, and cherish these items, and you'll automatically feel more at ease in the space.


Morning Commute: Commuting is a massive time consumer, and if you are travelling by bicycle or car, you are spending time doing something you have to focus on, instead of something relaxing. Consider moving to a carshare, taking the bus or train, or asking for telecommuting privileges. The sheer hassle of going from your house to your work and back again, every day, takes its toll on your health, your frame of mind, your gas bill, and your overall quality of life.


Daily Work or School Routine:

  • If you despise what you're doing, then run -- don't walk! -- to your nearest job counseling center or the Job Hunter's Bible. You are not taking care of your needs by working at a job you hate, or studying a subject you don't adore. If your day-to-day activities bring you stress and anxiety, then they are unhealthy and toxic for your physical, mental, or spiritual development. Get out now, while you still can!
  • If you're semi-ok with what you're doing, then consider some options for evolving. Can you volunteer once every few weeks with an organization that aligns with your interests? What about taking on projects that are closer to your interests? Can you move intra-office or laterally to a revised job description where your skills closely match your passions?
  • If you're not certain what to do about your job, then schedule some time for some life planning. Your unique skill set is in demand somewhere, it's up to you to find a match between what you enjoy doing and the environment where that will be most appreciated. 

List out your top 10 skills that you are passionate about, then cross-check your list against or for potential job descriptions. When I did this, I applied for a job that was outside of my realm of knowledge at the time, because I had no exposure to that job title, and it turned out to be a great fit! Consider picking up hourly, part-time, freelance, or contract work on the side -- and if you like it and you feel happier about the work you're choosing, consider moving more toward that and away from any job that doesn't feed your soul, intellect, and personal evolution.

Your life can be more meaningful, happier, and more satisfying. Once you take those first steps, everything else follows through.

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