“Seize the Day” – Is it that simple? It can be hard to grab each day and live it to its fullest. I know- I tried for years, though after the diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease, its importance became so clear. I was on leave, the doctor’s telling me to rest and recuperate, and I was going crazy. I was desperate to go back to work and feel productive, yet each time I tried, it was clear that my body was not ready. So much of what I had always taken for granted was now challenging. I could not simply sit around, and I needed to figure out how I could my maximize my energy and time. When I hear the phrase “carpe diem,” I hear Robin Williams’ voice intoning, “Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary” from the movie Dead Poet’s Society. This has become my motto, the thing that resonates deep within me, and inspires and motivates me to seize each and every day. It is important to make the most of your energy and time despite all the other things that require your attention and time.
The first step is to figure out what areas of your life you want to improve. You probably already have clear ideas of where you’re struggling, the things that cause you stress. Part of this first step, is then to come up with some ideas on how to help control those areas you want to change. If you are like most people the potential solutions can fall flat, leaving you still struggling. Depending on your resilience and experience, you might get so dejected that you give up hope of things changing. Please don’t. Not generally an optimist, I have eternal hope that there is a way to make effective changes for the better.
When I look at my own life, I see that some of the changes I wanted to make where ones that I was not ready for yet. This can be so frustrating. I felt ready, I had been problem-solving solutions, and trying to put them into practice. Except there were things that needed to happen before I was truly ready for change. I know a number of people who recognize this phenomenon also. If not being ready is a major reason for the failure, there is hope after all. At those moments I needed patience and a certain trust that the time would come when those changes were right.
Whatever struggles you are dealing with, there are ways to try to deal with them, reducing your stress. Since there are so many different kinds of struggles, I cannot address them all. Yet the one message I want to pass along- do not be afraid to seek help. This can be as simple as asking someone to be an accountability partner or it can be someone who specializes in a certain area. For instance, if there are health issues, find a doctor who will talk to you and come up with a plan to address the issues. There are professionals in every field and ways to get information and tips that can assist you in the journey of finding more peace. Just open yourself up to asking for help.
Sometimes things have gotten so bad that it can seem insurmountable, especially if we’re talking about clutter. If you have been struggling for years or even decades, the very idea of getting things under control again might appear to be daunting. How much time will it take? Will it be worth it in the long run, spending all that time de-cluttering? Getting through those things makes life so much simpler and is amazingly freeing. I like FlyLady’s point that it did not get that way overnight, so it is unrealistic that it can be fixed overnight. This is one of the reasons that taking small steps, like setting the timer for small goals is so helpful. You can continue to embrace life as much as possible, while still making efforts to improve it in the long run.
Even if your house is not filled with clutter, the inefficient or somewhat cramped space can add to your stress levels. I have been working with a woman facing multiple transitions and we’ve been slowly working on her entire home. She was raving the last time we met about the effects that the changes have been having, not only her home, but also on her mindset. Behaviors are changing- having space in her hall closet to hang jackets has inspired her to hang her jacket up each time she gets home. There is a greater peace in her and it warms my heart to see that.
In my own life, I am always looking for ways to simplify so that I can seize the day more fully. I am passionate about increasing quality of life, regardless of where the struggles come from. I encourage you to find ways to seize each and every day for yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the person on their deathbed and in looking back at their life, they do not wish they had spend more time working or cleaning house. Nevertheless those things need to be done, the key is to not lose unnecessary time to them. Reach for the highest quality of life possible and never lose hope. We are never too old to make our lives extraordinary.
How can you remind yourself to seize the day?