The other day I heard a woman say that escaping her life every weekend to her mountain home was what was getting her through.
Immediately, this question popped into my mind:
Sandy beached resorts wink at us through turquoise blue eyes with the promise of “getting away from it all.” Many are seduced to leave themselves and their lives through any number of substances daily: alcohol, cigarettes, pot, sugar, pain killers, [insert drug of choice here].
When my parents met and were deciding where they wanted to build a life together they chose Maine. They chose Maine because they knew that they both wanted to spend their vacations in Maine. So, they figured, why not simply live where we would want to vacation anyway? Why not create a life that we want to live inside, instead of one we need to escape from?
How can we make our lives, even in tiny ways, more inhabitable?
How can we make them more inviting?
How can we craft a daily reality that makes us want to stay instead of leave?
1. Stop trying to prove anything to anyone. I have a friend who, after years of struggling and striving in New York City, recently moved to the country. She realized she’d been trying to prove something and now she was done. Her new found ease is palpable in her skin, her eyes, and the way she stands. She chose to make her life a place she wanted to live.
2. Be you. I’ll never forget when I was in high school feeling frustrated with my sister. A close family friend pointed out that I would probably get a lot further in life by being myself instead of trying to not be my sister. Trying not to be my sister was exhausting. Being me instead created a life that was, and continues to be, far more hospitable.
3. Notice what triggers your escape plan. Who are you with when you find yourself wanting to drink? What conversation were you just having before eating that pint of Ben & Jerry’s? What were you saying to yourself as you bought the pack of cigarettes? When you say you really need to “get away”, what is it that you’re trying to leave? The answers to these questions will give you clues to what needs tweaking.
4. Easy does it. Your life does not require a complete overhaul in order for you to want to live it. Tiny changes make a world of difference. Frustrated with your current situation moonlighting as a server at a restaurant? Spend your off hours designing those dresses you’re always dreaming up for someday when you have the money to start your own label. The hours infused with creative juice will offset the hours spent taking orders. Your life will become more tolerable by the minute. And you’ll want to stay there because it will just keep getting better.
There’s nothing wrong with new states of consciousness, changes in scenery, and shaking things up so long as you’re pursuing them for expansion, not escape. Next time you find yourself craving an escape, stop and see how you can inhabit your life instead. It won’t happen overnight. But little by little you’ll have created a life you truly want to live in.
In the comments, share one thing you can do this week to make your life a little more livable. I’m excited to hear what you come up with!
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