One day I realized that I was totally lost. I knew I had more to offer this world, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. I "had it all," yet felt like I had nothing I wanted. I worked for years to have the big degree, the great job, the beautiful home. I worked out, drank green juice, practiced yoga... why was I totally unsatisfied? How could that be?
Have you ever googled "what should I do with my life?" I have. More than once, too.
One day in my search, I stumbled upon the concept of lifestyle design...
You see, most of us go about our days on autopilot. That's fine sometimes, as it would be exhausting to have to think and analyze every single decision that comes our way. The problem is that many of us find ourselves unhappy and dissatisfied with the choices and habits we have made while in autopilot. As children, we are shaped to carry certain beliefs and behave a particular way without ever really stopping to think about why we are doing it. We also act out of emotions rather than making sound decisions. Frequently, our habits are self-limiting. We don't believe that we can make meaningful decisions, both little ones and radical ones, that lead to a life that is satisfying and true to us.
Welcome to lifestyle design, or living on purpose, as I like to call it.
I had jumped through hurdles for years. After my four years of college I attended grad school for five vigorous and nonstop years. I believed that once I got through school I'd enjoy life. Then I got a job, and went through a two years process to get my license as a psychologist. It was hours and hours of work, practice, and studying. During this time I got married, and bought a cute house in New Hampshire. I worked in a school five days a week, and then in a private practice three evenings per week. I kept myself so busy, always believing that this was just the grueling process I had to take part in, and that life would be better one day when on the other side.
Nope. Not true. Life doesn't magically become better on the other side. And when you realize that your "other side" is one you don't even like???
So back to my late night "what should I do with my life searches," and the discovery of lifestyle design.
Did you know you can make meaningful choices about your life? That you can be your own life interior designer, and shape your physical, emotional, and spiritual life? That you can choose and design your experiences? That you can work to build a life you actually love living?
Most of my life had been a series of decisions I made in default mode, rather than design mode. I blindly accepted that "this is just the way life is."
I became consumed with the following thoughts:
- Why am I working so hard to pay for so many things that I don't even need?
- Why am I only following the career path that I have been told to follow?
- Why not use my education and experience to make a real difference that I'm passionate about?
- Why do I have so much shit? Like SO much shit?
- Why do I have so many clothes that I don't like, don't wear, and aren't my style?
- What even is my style?
- Why is my house so big, yet we only really live in 1/3 of it?
- Why do I say yes to so many things I want to say no to?
- Why do I think I have to do what society says is the "right" path?
- Why do I live somewhere that I don't love?
- Why do I think I have to make a ton of money to be successful?
This is scary stuff, and it scared this hell out of me. I battled my own limiting and belittling beliefs that tried to keep me "safe." I had no clue who I was or what I was even doing. I went on a wild path of self-discovery and living on purpose across all facets of my life. I trusted that this process was exactly what I needed, and that it wasn't something to rush. Although I had many questions, I realized that there really weren't any answers. I did not like that at first. Now I love it!
As I became conscious and took action I noticed that I became happier. My daily activities began to sync with my likes and interests. I started taking even better care of myself.
It started out slowly. The next thing I knew we got rid of 90% of our stuff, sold our house, quit our jobs, and moved to the beach. Now I'm sitting here writing about it with the hopes that I'll help somebody else live on purpose, too, whatever their version of it may be. Somehow this journey led me to professional work that I love that actually uses the skill set and expertise that I had worked years to achieve-- without me even knowing it. Amazing, isn't it?
I know with certain that I'd rather go through life purposely than die living by default.
I invite you to take a peek at your life, and ask yourself if you're living it on purpose. If not, why not?