Our November theme on Wit & Delight is about building—and maintaining—a sense of focus. It’s about saying “no” more often so we can say “yes” to the things that actually matter. It’s about giving our energy to the things we actively choose and letting go of the things we don’t.
While it of course isn’t always possible, I’ve been trying to implement this mindset much more often in my life of late. I’ve been actively asking myself, What can I say no to? What boundaries can I set?
Today I’m sharing a few of the tangible ways I’m finding focus right now, in what is a very busy season of my life. Even if the practices below don’t *all* apply to you, I hope you still find some takeaways you can implement in your own life.
I have a deeply ingrained tendency to rush through things, even when I don’t actually have to be in a hurry. I’ll rush through the process of getting ready, rush through errands, rush through chopping vegetables—you name it, I rush it. The thing is, I don’t actually want to be rushed—or feel the resulting frazzled sensation—especially in situations where it’s unnecessary. When I feel like I’m rushing for no reason, I’m trying to take note of it, intentionally determine whether it’s actually necessary, and slow down if it’s not.
Throughout the entire first half of November, at least one person in our household has been sick with some sort of nasty virus (not COVID, thankfully!). It’s taken a toll on us all and it’s made me realize that some things have to give. Because of this, we’ve been less focused on things needing to be “perfect” in our home, particularly before we go to bed. Joe and I will tidy a little if needed but otherwise, we’ll turn off the lights and go to sleep. In this season of life especially, focusing on quality rest has been much more important than a perfectly put-together home.
The lessons from my spending freeze are still very present in my life, particularly when it comes to clothing and accessories. Most of my shopping is done online and while I’ve found myself ordering more than I did earlier this year, I’ve also found myself returning more. I’ve become much less attached to specific items and much more comfortable saying “no” to things that aren’t for me. I’ve also become more comfortable with a slower shopping process. The slower approach takes more energy and time, but it tends to lead to things I truly want and will wear for the long haul.
This focus on less attachment has extended beyond my spending habits too. I’ve also been applying it to other areas of life, particularly when it comes to outcomes I’m seeking or goals I’m pursuing. I’ve been trying to hold these things really lightly, not overcomplicating them and not talking myself out of decisions I’ve already made.
In my day-to-day, what’s helped me most in this area is practicing active meditation—paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment rather than fretting so much over the past or future. My wandering mind is at the root of a lot of my anxiety, which is why focusing on the present is so key.
In my day-to-day, what’s helped me most in this area is practicing active meditation—paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment rather than fretting so much over the past or future.
I was thinking recently about last Thanksgiving (and the entire holiday season in general). Looking back on last year, I really overdid it. I felt like I needed to do more, more, more to make the entire season special for my family and everyone else we were spending time with.
The reality is that I can plan a few simple things (and ask for help from others) and the resulting experience will be perfectly delightful all on its own. I can trust the process, trust myself, and trust that whatever we choose to focus on in this busy season of life will be enough.
BY Kate Arends - November 16, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.