Enlightenment Is A Pair Of Black Jeans

So, it turns life gets really good when do only your favorite things.  Go figure!

Believe it or not, I came to this realization last week after a stress-fueled purge of my wardrobe. I was frantically throwing clothes in a garbage bag, trying desperately to turn down the noise of clutter in my bedroom, when I stumbled upon a pair of black jeans that I hadn’t worn in the five years since my wedding. Struck by a wave of nostalgia I put them on just to see how they would fit, and the weirdest thing happened: For the first time that I’m aware of, I felt really good about how I looked in an article of clothing.

So I kept the jeans and almost nothing else.

Over the next couple of days I pared my wardrobe and many of my personal things down to only the items that I consider my favorites (I now own just ten shirts and three pairs of pants) and, man, things feel a lot better. I feel a lot better. There’s just something cool about knowing that I only own my favorite stuff. But the real mind blowing moment came when I realized that I could apply that same logic to the things I DO.

On Sunday afternoon I decided to only do the things I enjoy most in my free time this week, and nothing else. Believe it or not, it’s harder than it sounds.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “What do you mean it’s hard to do whatever you want?! That sounds great!” And up until Sunday I agreed with you. But the world today makes it really hard to do that. For me, it’s really easy to sit around and play video games, or veg out on YouTube all day, and for the most part that’s what I’ve been doing for the last year. Those things are fun enough, but I don’t take a real sense of enjoyment from doing them (ok, sometimes I really enjoy video games, but not always), they’re just time killers. The things I really, truly, enjoy take effort and time. I love reading. I love writing. I love playing guitar. I even get a lot of calm and relaxation from painting little plastic miniatures. But all of those things take effort. And that’s ok.

I wasn’t kidding about those little miniatures. I’m a total nerd.

Even though it’s only been three afternoons/evenings, I have already noticed that being more intentional with the way I choose to spend my time has reduced my stress and allowed me to feel happier. Instead of coming home from work and immediately throwing on YouTube, I’ve restarted my habit of working out every day. Instead of staring into the glowing screen of my Nintendo Switch, I’ve been reading a book. The key is that I’m being intentional and only doing the things that I know I enjoy most. From that intentional restraint I’m finding I actually feel more free from the automatic impulses that have ruled my actions for so long.

And I want to share that with you. Next time you put on clothes, only wear your favorites. The next time you go to veg out in front of YouTube, or Netflix, or whatever, take a breath and intentionally shift your focus to something you know you enjoy. It’s definitely easier to go on auto-pilot, but I promise you’ll feel a lot better if you choose to only do what you truly enjoy.

Thanks for reading, you’ve got this,

-Ian

2 thoughts on “Enlightenment Is A Pair Of Black Jeans

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