Let’s recap yesterday’s episode:
For each day of the Ideal Life Exercise there is a theme, one broad category of life in which I believe that if I made progress, I would be closer to my Ideal Life, as defined by a long series of In my Ideal Life I am a person who… statements.
I take five minutes, usually early in the morning to ask two questions about the category for the day: What is working? and What isn’t working?
Then I allow for two other broader thoughts: What is there to consider about this theme and What do I need to do?.
Each week starts on Sunday with a consideration of my Spiritual Life, then continues on with the different categories. Here are the themes for the second week of the Ideal Life Exercise:
Not as if there is much to explain about this theme. It means what it means: In my Ideal Life, I have a hot sex life. (No secrets between friends, right?)
Knowing what you know about my past, this is a very very big deal to me. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Also, knowing me as you do, I tend to have lots and lots of thoughts and theories about desire, sexuality and body image.
I read lots of books on the subject (seriously…if you are interested I can send you a bibliography of amazing books, podcasts and blogs about sex, sexuality, relationships, all written and hosted by women.)
Single, married, parents, childless, divorced, widowed: Sexuality means different things to all of us during different seasons of our life. It is well worth five minutes every three weeks to think about what we would like more of (or less of, depending on our season of life!) Life is too short to endure dissatisfaction in this area. Can I get an amen?
On the other hand, this might require some explanation.
As a young woman, I struggled with a desire to “Grow Up.” I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew that I would know it when it happened. I would see women who were not conventionally beautiful, but carried themselves with grace, poise and some intangible quality that made them credible.
I wanted to be credible, too. Gravitas is the term I have settled on for this area of my Ideal Life. Perhaps some I am statements would be helpful:
In my Ideal Life:
I am the same on the outside as on the inside.
I am a person who doesn’t have to talk all the time.
I am a person people listen to when I do talk.
I am a person who knows when to listen and does it well.
I am dignified.
I am a person who speaks her mind without fear of hurting feelings.
I am a person who is worthy of respect.
I am a person who always dresses impeccably for the occasion.
I am a person who doesn’t intentionally hide her intelligence.
I am a person who makes wise decisions.
I am a person who doesn’t need to justify her place at the table.
This category is very idiosyncratic: It is representative of how I want to be perceived versus how I perceive myself. Perhaps, should you be inspired to undertake a category like this, you, too should consider the chasm between how you currently see yourself and how you want to be seen.
When I make progress on any of these I am statements, it is cause for celebration.
Wednesday: Wise Decisions
Whether it be a decision about if I am going to finish off the sleeve of Oreos in the cupboard, where we are going to send the boys to school in the Fall, or which sewing machine I will buy, I want my decisions to be the result of more than just a flash of thought, or even worse, impulse.
In my Ideal Life, I am more than my reptile brain. I do not make decisions based on urges, fight or flight responses or fear for the future. Because I know what my Ideal Life looks like, it enables me to make better decisions to pursue that future.
Naturally, I fall flat on this point every day. But I am trying to get better at making wise decisions. Coming back to this desire every three weeks helps me keep an eye on areas where bad decisions are becoming habits. (This will be examined later.)
Making a wise decision, no matter how painful that decision is, is always cause to privately celebrate. (I have invented tons of different methods to celebrate this tiny little decisions…perhaps I will share then another time!)
Thursday: Personal Style
This theme is the one where I consider my clothes, my closet, my accessories, my shoes, my outwear. This is a big deal for someone who enjoys fashion. On this day, I consider the clothes that need to be mended or altered, anything I feel might be missing from my wardrobe (which, in 2021 I am simply adding to a wishlist until my Buy No Clothes in 2021 Challenge is over!) or anything I tried and did or did not like.
As we will discuss in more detail during the first two weeks of May, I believe that our clothes represent much much more than simply what keeps us from being naked. Our clothes speak volumes on our thoughts about ourselves, our pasts, our bodies, our decisions…
As women, we are taught that fashion is frivolous, but I want you to consider, for just a moment, that maybe it isn’t. The roots of our relationship to clothes go very very deep into history, back into the Garden of Eden. Now, go ahead. Try and tell me that that isn’t a reason to take our Personal Style seriously.
Friday: Habits & Routines
I am a creature of habit and routines. I need them in order to function. Habits and routines reduce the number of decisions I need to make in a day, so my brain can then be occupied with creative endeavors. (Which it would be anyway, I just would be spending more of my time making half-assed decisions rather than being a creative person.)
There is no question about whether or not I will do the dishes immediately after a meal. I have made it impossible to not do the dishes, because if I don’t, we won’t be able to eat our next meal. This is a habit now, but it came from years of letting dishes pile up thinking that someone else (Cats? Elves? Fairies?) would see them and do them.
I would get so mad that the sink was full, but it never crossed my mind that I could hack this and make it a non-decision habit. We donated our extra set of dishes to the Salvation Army and voilà. Problem solved.
I set up my clothes every night so that I don’t have to stumble around at 4:00AM, or even worse, at 8:30AM just before we have to leave to take the boys to school to pick out clothes.
I prepare the coffee pot the night before so that it is ready for the next morning when it will become a necessary evil.
Once every three weeks I assess how my habits are doing, if there is anything that I am doing that isn’t working, or if I need to re-up my commitment to a habit.
Long-distance family relationships. Friendships. Even people I don’t particularly like. I consider all these things on Saturday of Week Two.
One fabulous outcome of this has been that every Saturday night, my boys FaceTime with Aunt Poppy while they eat ice cream. See what we did there? We built a habit of only having ice cream once a week and it is on Saturday. My boys don’t even ask for it any other time, because the habit is so ingrained. PLUS! They get to be entertained by Aunt Poppy. Win-win-win.
I made mention of the fact that on this day I also consider my relationship with people I don’t particularly like. I try to like everyone, I really do, but some people make it hard to like them. If there is a person who is rubbing me the wrong way, I use this five minute sliver to examine what I am feeling and try to find a way to see the situation differently. This is done with varying degrees of success, but in my Ideal Life I am not best friends with everyone. But I am at peace with everyone.
And there you have the themes for Week Two of the Ideal Life Exercise. Lest I forget, here is your calendar for the Week Two themes. Use it however you see fit to help you make progress on your Ideal Life!
Are you still with me? Are these areas that would be important enough for you to spend five minutes a day thinking about? Have you found some of your own?
This article is part of a series called “MacGyvering KonMari”
Part One: A Good Decluttering
Part Two: I am a Person Who… (fill in the blank)
Part Three: One Theme to Rule Them All
Part Four: Ideal Life Week One Themes
Part Five: Ideal Life Week Two Themes (You are here)
Part Six: Ideal Life Week Three Themes