Simple kind of life

Every year I pick one word that serves as my guiding force.

In 2013, this word was a noun. I wanted to focus on something that seemed tangible. Something attainable. So I decided all my actions would lead to achieving an ultimate goal. And that goal was Balance. From an outside perspective, some may argue that I am far from living a Balanced lifestyle. I am constantly “on.” Always involved in some new project or adventure. Can’t relax. These are all facts, but the truth is that I make sure to spend my time doing things I truly enjoy. Feel challenged by life but relaxed enough to enjoy it. I’m enjoying it.

Balance? Check.

In 2014 I opted to take a different approach. Instead of picking a word that would serve as an end result, I wanted to close out my year with an ultimate definition of myself. A single adjective that could paint a picture of Emily Alvarez to any given stranger (and, unbeknownst to me at the time, I’d certainly be meeting a lot of strangers in the coming year). I decided my word would be Fearless. But one can’t just be Fearless. You have to earn the part. So I focused on doing things that made me slightly nervous. Or that scared me for reasons that were, in the grand scheme of things, unjustified. Like running a full marathon. Leaving a comfortable job that I knew deep down I wasn’t completely happy with. Packing up and moving cross-country to Los Angeles, where I knew almost no one and didn’t have work lined up. It sounded crazy to most people. And it felt crazy in the midst of the transition (and every moment leading up to it), but it was all for a bigger purpose.

Fearlessness? Check.

I closed out 2014 with some very personal decisions that only reinforce the Fearless factor. These decisions are the basis of the life I intend to lead in 2015. So what word will steer my path in the coming year? Something actionable. This year I will Simplify. I’ve come to the realization that I hold on to too many things that don’t add much value to my life. Why do I waste my time and energy on things I will not benefit from? I realize that may sound selfish but I encourage you to think about self-development for a minute. It’s something we should all strive for. If you have a limited amount of time and energy, you are limiting your opportunity to grow if you exhaust yourself on items that aren’t on your agenda for improvement. It’s time to let go. Reduce the noise and add some white space. Get rid of the negative and learn to say no to things that don’t matter. Get over the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  Free up some time for myself and enjoy the positive new opportunities that will present themselves as a result. But be careful not to overdo it (remember Balance!).

My best friend Gil, in all her wisdom, reminded me the other day that less is more.

“…spend your energy wisely and don’t overdo it. Otherwise you end up doing a bunch of things half assed.”

Simplicity? Added to the Checklist.

I read somewhere that it takes repeating an action three times before it becomes an official tradition. Year three. Word three. Cheers to new traditions.

Happy 2015.

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