Ready for my latest personal learning? Let's jump right in.
1) Meeting new people is easy.
Those of you who have been around here for a while know that I consider myself pretty introverted. That means I re-charge my battery by being alone (or possibly with one other very, very dear person who lives in my inner heart circle...but most often it's gotta be solitude). Plus, being at home on the sofa with a book in my hands still tops the list of favorite activities. So the deck seems somewhat stacked against me in terms of meeting new people and making friends - because they tend to not knock on my door to introduce themselves and invite me out for coffee, you know? I need to actually exit my apartment and bravely make eye contact with strangers if I want to make new friends.
This has never been easy for me. My strategy for making friends might be accurately described as completely accidental luck.
BUT! Meeting wonderful new people has been weirdly easy for me in Seattle.
And I think that comes down to two things: how profoundly happy I feel in my own life, and how confident I've become. I love living in this city, I love my apartment (and the view of Puget Sound!), and I love my freedom. I know from the depths of my soul that this is the right place for me. I even wake up happy, which is never something that I thought would happen! Plus, although I'm very introverted, I am no longer shy: I'm not afraid of being myself in front of others. No more fear about putting myself out there, taking a risk, quite possibly looking like an idiot, and also quite possibly turning bright red in front of strangers. I can recover from foibles and try again - because I know how to care for myself. In most moments, I know how I feel and what to do about it. And that, to me, is true confidence.
Also relevant here is my mindset: I consciously believe that meeting new people is easy, and I consciously believe that my kind of people - SuperFeelers! (all the feelings, all the time) - are everywhere. I can be lucky on purpose.
Key Questions: What are your beliefs around meeting your kind of people? How do your overall sense of happiness and your confidence impact your capacity for making new friends?
2) Time is better than money.
As I've written before, time is the one non-renewable resource. I can always make more money, and so can you. But so far I haven't figured out how to create more time. (If you have, please fill me in!)
Since moving to Seattle, I have really faced up to the ways in which I spend my time. I've been confronted by the reality of my choices in a new way: I make my own schedule, fill my own calendar, and my time is completely mine. As a single self-employed person with no kids, I've got zero external pressures on my time. But even if I had eight kids and a full-time job, this would STILL be true. My time would still be mine, just like your time is still completely yours - regardless of how many people or things are making "demands" on it.
Because, in the end, we are the ones making choices about how we spend our time.
I like money and all, but I LOVE having time.
Key Question (asked with loving-kindness): What lies are you telling yourself about how you spend your time?
3) Being "crazy busy" is often a form of avoidance. (Or, busy-ness is laziness.)
Related to the previous section, I have decided to stop being insanely busy.
This is a major life change as I've kept myself crazy busy practically since I was in the womb. Between over-achieving in school and doing all kinds of extra-curricular activities (gymnastics, soccer, piano, softball, dance, volleyball, and more!), I made very little time in my school years for just being. And I kept up that frenzied pace through my early thirties. So that's three decades of being absurdly busy. Yep.
Much of that can be attributed to habit. The strongest impulse we have as humans is to experience the familiar, so we re-create the familiar constantly whether or not we know what we're doing. Some can be attributed to family programming: I mean, my grandma, Kay Christensen, saw this upbeat pace so much in my grandpa and my dad that she named it "The Christensen Go-Go-Go!!!" But wherever it comes from, and however legitimately, this way of being is still a choice.
And now I choose otherwise. Instead of driving myself bananas with email, over-scheduling myself for various meetings, running around to accomplish all the tasks on my list, and still getting myself to the gym, I'm going easier on myself. In addition to valuing the hell out of my time, I have consciously dropped the busy-ness.
You know what? It's a treat now to tell my beloved clients, "I always have time for you. I will make space for you in my calendar - easily. In fact, I've got plenty of time." Sure, they might think I'm not any good at my work because I don't present as over-booked, but that doesn't matter - other people's opinions of me are not my business. The truth is that I have time, and I like it that way.
For me, being absurdly busy is a tricky form of avoidance. It's a way of avoiding my own self: my own experience, my internal world - which, as a bona fide SuperFeeler, is rich and complex and nuanced (but only always).
In this sense, busy-ness is laziness. It's lazy for me to ignore my own needs, wishes, thoughts, feelings, dreams. Yep, I said lazy. Because it takes time and intention and skill and energy to attend to what's happening internally (!) while stuff on the internet is so damned interesting and easy. Because these precious internal truths are the most important thing (!!) even though REI is having a massive sale and wait, I have a coupon for West Elm.
The internal world - not the external one where we so often focus - is where you find your most perfect map of your most uniquely right life. Your map is a gem. And so is mine. Paying attention to this priceless map is the ONLY way to really build a life in which you feel deeply, profoundly, authentically happy.
Key Question (asked with loving-kindness): What are you avoiding by keeping busy?
I hope my personal lessons offer some value for you. And if you decide to sit with yourself and sketch out answers to the key questions, I'd LOVE to read your thoughts. Please send! I definitely have the time. :)
P.S. I just thought of a fourth thing, and it's this: streaming entertainment services are not my best choice. Binge-watching is far too easy and I kind of hate myself after doing it. SO, I've cancelled Netflix (and therefore must finish season two of "Grace & Frankie" before the subscription officially ends on June 11). This introvert is going back to old-school DVDs!!