Ideal Life Week Three

Let’s recap:

The Ideal Life Exercise is an idiosyncratic way to help make progress towards what we think should be our Ideal Life, based a long series of In my Ideal Life I am a person who… statements.

These statements might take one day write, or a month to write. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. Themes will begin to emerge, as they did for me: Nineteen themes in all.

I take five minutes early in the morning to ask two questions about one of these themes each day: What is working? and What isn’t working?

Then I ponder for a bit: 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 third week of the Ideal Life Exercise:

Monday: Wildcard

For me, this wildcard is Music. Music is the pastime that makes my life worth living. It is, in many many deeply mystical ways, what has held me together during the darkest days of my life. I have made it a priority in my life, and have set myself small goals like, “learning to play piano by ear,” and “sing every day.”

I have a dear friend who never ceases to bring me new challenges in this area, so if I start to stagnate, a new book of piano music will land in my lap to work on!

Whatever this wildcard is for you, whatever your passion is: cooking, running, kite-flying, bee-keeping…it is worth taking a few minutes every few week to step back and consider what is working and what isn’t!

Tuesday: Marriage

I would think that for a good number of us, we have one primary relationship around which everything else gravitates. Rachel Maddow said about her partner, “She is the organizing principle of my life.” I love this expression.

Because we are human and imperfect, the organizing principle of our life is also going to be a flawed human being. Learning to live in harmony with imperfection is a lifelong pursuit, no matter how indulgent that organizing principle is in our regard.

When I started considering for five minutes every few weeks exactly what was working and what wasn’t working in my marriage, I began to see how much my own behavior was at fault for many of our conflicts. It made me want to change. It also made me appreciate that much more how indulgent my husband is to my shortcomings.

Wednesday: Commitments

In my Ideal Life, I only commit to things that make me feel alive. In so many ways throughout my life, I have made commitments out of guilt, out of duty, out of need. Living this way meant that I would often dread activities that were on my calendar, up until the very moment I showed up.

In my Ideal Life, if I were to commit to something, it would be because it made me feel alive. Because it made me feel joy. Oddly enough, I came to be a funeral singer because attending funerals makes me feel alive. I always leave a funeral with a renewed appreciation for my family and my life. (This is, apparently, also a strange genetic quirk I share with my Grandfather’s Father, who attended funerals of people he didn’t know, too.)

Sometimes, this meant changing my attitude about the activity at hand: helping out at my boys’ school doesn’t thrill my heart because it takes time away from my writing, but seeing my little boys interact with their classmates does make me feel alive, like being a fly on the wall.

Assessing my commitments every few weeks is important to making sure that they are still what I am to be doing. I don’t like overstaying my welcome in any season of life, and learning to let go of a commitment is just as important as taking on a new one.

Thursday: Environment & Ecology

This speaks for itself: How is my family doing in regards to trash? What can we do better? I take the glass to the recycling center on this day.

Incidentally, this is also the day I water my orchids and do any “balcony gardening” that I have been putting off. We have a lombricomposter (a worm composting system for veggie scraps), so I make sure those little dudes are happy.

Friday: Mental Health

How we talk to ourselves matters. How we think about ourselves matters. On this day, I take a few minutes to reflect on the recurring thoughts I have about myself and how they effect my self-talk.

Saturday: Craft & Creativity

In my Ideal Life I am a person who knows how to tailor her clothes.

I come from a long line of crafters, mostly self-taught creative types. This means I am much more likely to make a crazy quilt out of t-shirt scraps than ever follow a pattern. But knowing how to really tailor a piece of clothing is such a bonus in being happy with what I own.

I take five minutes every three weeks to think about any technique I have tried, what I need to learn or any projects I have started and forgotten about.

Round-up

And there you have the themes for Week Three of the Ideal Life Exercise. Here is your printable calendar for the Week Two themes. Use it however you see fit to help you make progress on your Ideal Life!

In Conclusion

Boy, oh boy, I feel like there is still so much to be said about how to make little bite sized goals within each theme, and hacking routines to help make progress towards those goals. I could talk about this forever, but instead, let’s continue the conversation over on Facebook or on Instagram for now!

Tomorrow here on the blog we are going to move on to the single most important thing you can do to take care of your future self: Mise en Place. Special guests, detailed how-to posts, testimonials from women who have tried it… Get ready for the Magic of Mise en Place!


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
Part Six: Ideal Life Week Three Themes (You are here)

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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