5 GREAT CHOICES FOR CURATING A SIMPLE AND SATISFYING LIFE

5 simple choices to help you find a life of satisfaction and contentment

YOU GET TO CHOOSE YOUR LIFE

So many people feel like their life has a set course and they have very little control over the direction they're heading in. There are bills to be paid, career ladders to climb, mortgages to be paid, investments to be made, chores to be completed, families to raise, and a million other little tasks. 

But what happens when you start ticking some of those necessities off the list? What happens when the mortgage is under control, when the nest becomes empty, and when getting up for work every day becomes a chore in itself? Do you have to keep heading along the same beaten track, or can you start curating a new and more bespoke life to carry you through the years ahead? Today I'm covering a few choices that can lead towards curating a life that's simple and satisfying - and who doesn't want that?

CURATING A SIMPLE AND SATISFYING LIFE

Some people want the world and won't be satisfied until they own all the "toys" and are the envy of all around them. Fortunately that's not everyone - there are a lot of us who are just looking for a comfortable life that brings a sense of peace and contentment - a few challenges, new interests, time for family and friends, and the knowledge of reaping the rewards of a job well done - before we're too late to enjoy the fruit of our labours. Here's 5 choices you can make to help you curate a life of contentment....

1. GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT FOR WHAT YOU'VE ACHIEVED

If you've reached your 50's or 60's and you're financially secure (or at least keeping the wolf from the door without too much effort) then you've probably worked hard and saved hard to get to that point. Recognizing that the hard work has been done and that you've made choices that have brought you to the point of being less dependent on earning an income is something worth pausing and giving yourself a pat on the back for. 

There are many, many people who never get to that point - through circumstances, poor choices, or living beyond their means. It's a wonderfully satisfying feeling to know that you've built a life that will sustain you into the future and it's a great feeling to get there. Take a moment now and then to pause and appreciate all you've achieved over the years gone by.

2. DON'T WORRY ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S OPINIONS

Don't compare your life to other people. That's such an important statement - comparison is the thief of joy and it sucks away at your confidence. If you're happy with a simple life, if you feel that you are in a good place, be satisfied with that - it doesn't matter what the Joneses have, it only matters that you are content with where you are - and a lot of us can be content with much less than what we see others striving for.

If you choose to retire early, or if you choose to work longer, if you want to travel, or you love being at home, if you like to party, or you like to be quiet, if you want to shop, or you're happy living in your pajamas, it's nobody's business but your own. Choose your life and honour that choice without the constant need to compare.

3. BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE

Don't tie you worth to your possessions. There will always be a new toy or a new fashion, or something shiny that tempts you to click through and use your credit card. If you want a simple debt-free life, then you need to reach the point where you realize that you have enough (in fact you probably have more than enough). Look around at what your home is full of, what your wardrobe holds, what you have to entertain you, and ask yourself if you really need more?

Sometimes the constant desire for more masks a deficit in our life. Perhaps before you pull out your credit card yet again, you need to ask yourself why you feel the need to spend and whether there's an area of your life that needs some nurturing and self-care - if you're happy in yourself, then you may not need to fill your life with more "stuff" to hide behind.

At the end of the day, you are ultimately the curator of your life. So, when you wake up each morning — take your life back. Take your life back from anything that feeds negativity within it, take your life back from the things that do not grow you, or move you.

4. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

One of the greatest blessings of the second half of life is that you have more space to choose the things that make you happy. If you've launched your fledglings successfully out of the nest, if you have your mortgage under control, if you've cut back your work hours, then there is time to discover the things that bring a smile into your life. They may be simple little pleasures, or they may be larger aspirations, but you have the room to explore them and to decide whether you want to invest in areas that have been on the backburner for years.

Taking the time to putter around in the shed, or to dig in the garden, or develop that little hobby you've dabbled in, to learn a new skill, to see new places, to sit back and relax, to get out and exercise, to try new restaurants, to join a club - there are so many choices open to you once you make room in your life for more enjoyable pursuits - don't leave it until it's too late.

5. LOOK FOR SOMETHING GOOD IN EVERY DAY

Not every day is perfect, but there are perfect little moments in every day. It might be not having to set your alarm to get up early, it might be that lovely cup of coffee, the smile you give to a friend (or stranger), the satisfaction of a task completed, a conversation with someone you've been wanting to catch up with, or a myriad of other simple pleasures. Take a minute to appreciate them, to be grateful that you have the time to give to them - and to realize that life is very good indeed.

Sometimes we get so caught up with living that we forget to take a breath, pause, and appreciate the simple and satisfying parts of our lives. The more we focus on them, the more we come to see how blessed we are and how lovely our lives have become.

Be a curator of your life. Slowly cut things out until you’re left only with what you love, with what’s necessary, with what makes you happy.’ — Leo Babauta

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you curating a life you love? Are you pausing to appreciate all you've worked so hard to achieve? Are you making the most of your days and not leaving it until it's too late to get the most out of what life is waiting to offer? I hope you're loving this second half of life.

RELATED POSTS


5 simple choices to help you find a life of satisfaction and contentment

5 simple choices to help you find a life of satisfaction and contentment
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42 comments

  1. I like the phrase simple and satisfying, Leanne. Comfortable, contentment, also words that create a warm feeling. It is interesting how ‘comparison’ has come up a few times recently. “Do what makes you happy” reminds me of Stephen Covey many years ago. I have been using a Franklin Planner and this system for about 30 years. Stephen Covey and Franklin Planner used to go together. A basic premise is using A, B, C to map out our day, weeks, life. “C” is many of the fun things that may not be necessary. My husband used to point out I was not doing any of my “C” list when I was on a tight schedule. I have now changed this, and your #4 is part of this. Thank you for sharing another great post, helping me live - curate my week and my life.xx

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    1. Hi Erica - I think when we're caught up in busyness (and especially in those earlier days of work/family/bills/etc) we forget that there is such a joy in finding little things that make us happy or that relax us. Retirement has given me time for more of those and I'm grateful for it every day.

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  2. I so love this. Thanks for sharing this. I will stealing this and giving you credit as I would love to use this for my final ELA lesson of the school year.

    So very beautiful.

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    1. Patrick I would be honoured for you to use this - thank you for your kind words and I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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  3. Hi Leanne I like the first point about taking time to give ourselves credit for what we have achieved. It is so easy to be hard on ourselves or bring up our negatives isn't it? I'm in a good place at the moment with lots going on but I do take time each afternoon to stop, take time for myself and be grateful. Have a great week!

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    1. Hi Sue - I think we often forget all that has gone behind us. It's great to be focused on the present moment - but gratitude and appreciation for all the effort it took to arrive at that point is so affirming and helps create the confidence we need to tackle new challenges. You are always pushing into new and exciting frontiers, so recognizing how far you've come is a great bonus x

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  4. Fabulous post Leanne. The comparison trap is one I can fall into if I let my guard down and i've been feeling it a lot lately. I also worry a lot about what people think of me and make up stories in my head of how they may negatively think of me. I am grateful though for my home and security and family and I do pursue doing things that make me happy. I used to actively look for something to be grateful for every day and I blogged it (how I started blogging) because I did a 365 Grateful Project. It had a hugely positive impact on my life so I think perhaps it's time I did another one. Hope you have a wonderful week! xo

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    1. Hi Min - I've been guilty of assuming people are thinking about me negatively too. The strange thing is that the people who love us wouldn't be, and if anyone is then we don't need them in our lives. I find it hard to not listen to others who are trying to get me to live a life they think is great (when it wouldn't suit me at all). So, now I'm spending more of my time filling my life with things that bring me joy - little things, little interests, little cost - and I'm happy with that.

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  5. Hi, Leanne - Once again you have hit on much wisdom. Gratitude, not comparing ourselves to others, giving ourselves credit for what we've accomplished and finding the joy in everyday are major components of living a life of contentment. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Donna - I feel like I'm finally able to tick all those boxes (not every day, but most of the time) and that certainly leads to a sense of contentment and gratitude for this wonderful life I've been given. So many unexpected blessings that have come my way after weathering the work storm :)

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  6. This says so much about living life well Leanne and I totally agree with your points. As we get to this stage of life it's nice to look back and give ourselves credit for what we've done and achieved, and the way we live our lives each day. I'm into making the most of what every day brings and some days are slower than others but that's OK with me! Do what makes you happy is my mantra :). I have pinned this post - thanks!

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    1. Hi Deb - "do what makes you happy" sounds pretty good to me. I think we're old enough and wise enough to be able to do that without hurting other people, and in the process we become happier and better to be around. I love that I'm not frustrated, or bored, or annoyed, or discontent. Getting past all the drama and trauma and coming out into the sunshine of life is more lovely than I ever expected it to be.

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  7. Very profound words, thank you for the reminder Leanne. I think the things we fear and that hold us back from living the life we seek is often nowhere near as frightening or powerful as we think it might be once we get there. Sometimes the only way to discover this is to take a leap of faith and jump into the deep end.

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    1. Hi Angelique - I've lived a very fear driven life - always being careful and avoiding risk wherever possible. It's been fine playing safe, but a lot of the risks that I've taken here and there have been what have brought me to where I am now - and I'm so grateful for them. If I hadn't dived off the deep end and left my last horrible job I'd definitely be a lot more miserable than I am now - I can't believe how different life is after taking the plunge!

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  8. I do think number 2 is a big part of it - what's right for you might not be right for me, so if I voice what you should do, it might actually be a disaster for you and feel like a criticism. I think it takes people a lot of time to work that out, both in hearing the advice and knowing what advice to give. Good post!! (obvs the you and me are generic and not ACTUALLY you and me)

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    1. Hi Lydia - I soooo totally hear you on that one. I've had so much "good advice" since leaving work. It comes from well-meaning people....but it's not what's right for me. I understand that it works for them and comes from a genuine desire to "improve" my life, but I actually really like where I'm at, and I'm happy for them to be doing what makes them happy. I'm very "live and let live" these days xx

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  9. Great post!! I am all about living a simple drama free life...I am not interesting in traveling or joining various organizations in my retirement at this moment. I just want to sit back, enjoy my home and garden and slowly work through the list of things that I complied that I want to do but could not get to because of working....Now after I accomplish this, my mindset may change and I may want to join in on some things but for right now..I am perfectly happy staying home..Thanks for sharing!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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    1. Hi Debbie - I feel much the same way. I'm happy for those who are bursting out and tryinng dozens of different things in their retirement, but there's room for those of us who are happy living smaller lives. It's not a competition and living simply brings a lot of satisfaction with it.

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  10. So much good stuff in here, Leanne. First, I appreciate how you point out that we do have choices in life. I think one of the signs of maturity is to accept responsibility for our choices.

    I am thankful my husband made choices early in our marriage that have allowed us to enjoy a comfortable retirement. If it was up to me, I don't know that I would have done it. Not caring about others' opinions is a work in progress for me. I have to remind myself of it at times.

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    1. My husband says about me what you said about your husband Laurie. I've always been very careful with out finances and it's definitely contributed towards things being a lot steadier and more settled now than they would have been if we'd spent big in our younger days. And yes, other people's opinions still eat away at me at times - but I'm getting better at smiling, nodding, and moving on with life on my own terms.

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  11. I love these Leanne and there are so many I need to heed. I sometimes feel kinda 'blessed' with my life - my house etc - but have to remind myself I worked damned hard for many years with no holidays etc to invest in previous mortgages to be where I am. I'd prefer to not have a mortgage now when I don't have an income but that was also my decision. And I need to not compare myself to others who I think have more - either financial security, better relationships (or ANY relationships) and / or more opportunities.

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    1. Hi Deb - I totally understand where you're coming from, when we work hard for decades and save and pay off our mortgage, then we reap the rewards further down the track. I'm so grateful we lived frugally and that's brought us to where we are now (still frugal but also with enough to be content). Comparison is definitely the killer and I remind myself of that regularly!

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  12. Hi Leanne - ‘Do what makes you happy’ resonates most for me In this blog post. I had a long visit with two friends over the weekend who felt they should have a similar purpose to mine, after reading my blog. No, I said, you need to live the life you want to live! You have shown so clearly in your blog posts how and why it’s important to do what makes you happy. It is different for everyone. As you have stressed, never feel like you have to fill someone else’s shoes! H.

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    1. Hi Helen - that's SO exactly right! I find it really tiring when people think that they know how I should be living this next stage of life, what choices would be "great" for me, or what I should be planning next. I'm not that person - and I think the old "you do you and I'll do me" concept is definitely the best fit for me in Midlife x

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  13. You do have a knack for raising points which resonate Leanne. Thank you. I still dwell but not for as long as before, on the poor financial choices I made (yes, based on my staying on working) that in the end left us with no choice other than to sell our house and rent. BUT...I no longer see this as the WORST thing...because in overcoming my cancer, learning more about my inner strengths and being incredibly grateful for my long married spouse and our family, along with a reasonably satisfying career, I do feel like we have reached a rather pleasant time of our lives. We are quite a bit older than you, and health niggles crept up on me and my husband lives with chronic pain..but we are happy as a couple and to choose each day to do what we like. Yes, good news really!
    Thank you for joining in Life This Week Link Up.
    I've just added another 10 optional prompts taking us to October!
    It's always good to see a blog post from you and I value your presence here. Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse - I think life happens to us all in unexpected ways - and it's how we respond that is the key to being content. You may not be living in the home you expected to be in at this time of life, but as you say, you have someone who loves you unconditionally (and has been a wonderful support), you've conquered cancer, and you're doing the things you love - that sounds pretty satisfying to me :) x

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  14. There is so much wisdom herr, Leeanne, and I particularly appreciate the word "curate." It really is that purposeful!

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    1. Thanks Michele - I loved the word 'curate' as well - it reminded me very much of 'cultivate' which is my #WOTY and has been a great motivator to keep creating balance in my life.

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  15. Great points here. My 2 faves are the one about comparisonitis, the one about taking time to see the good in every day and the one about giving yourself credit for your achievements. And yes, that's 3 faves rather than 2... :)

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    1. Hi Jo - I love "comparisonitis" it's definitely a malady that I suffer from - despite the many cures I've tried along the way. I think I've reduced the symptoms and may eventually wipe out the bug, but in the meantime I keep my vitamins up in the hope that my resilience levels will stay high x

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  16. Hi Leanne, These are five terrific points. I like Leo Babauta quote in your post. I've been curating and enjoying my life very much. Thank you for linking with #weekendcoffeeshare.

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    1. Hi Natalie - I think your blog shows that you love every minute of your life - it's definitely something you've earned and are enjoying to the full.

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  17. Hi Leanne, I love this advice! So many people are dissatisfied with life because they compare what they have to other people. They don't realise that many of the people with flashy possessions are in a lot of debt! The one area that I've changed my opinion on in the last year is our future housing. Since being at home so much I've realised I love my home. I always thought we would downsize as soon as the kids moved out but I realise I don't want to do that! Yes, it's a big house that's too much for the two of us but too bad! We want to enjoy it now that the renovations are done and the garden's finally nice! Love your advice, always very wise!. Regards, Christina

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    1. Hi Christina - we sold our house when our kids left home and ended up buying a slightly bigger one! We thought we were crazy, but it's been perfect having the space for when they visit and for my husband when he decided to start working from home (and it gives us space to be together and to also be by ourselves). I'd definitely recommend not rushing into downsizing any time soon x

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  18. Hi Leanne, All these choices are good ones, and I especially appreciate #5. No matter how many challenges I have to cope with, I look for something good in every day. Wishing you a lovely day.

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    1. Hi Nancy - I've missed seeing you on the blog - hope all's well in your world and I'm so glad you find the good in life - it's the attitude we choose that makes all the difference x

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  19. So good Leanne. I have truly loved finding you through Weekend Coffee Shares and your weekly encouragements and challenges. I am 52, we still have a ways before retirement, but I can say that we have created a life we love. My MIL is a beautiful example at 75 of embracing her life and living it simply and to the fullest. It's so important to be content with where we are at and if we aren't, to evaluate why that is. Thanks again for another great post .

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    1. Hi Kirstin, it's been lovely meeting you too - and I've been enjoying your progress with your house renovation. There's a lot to be said for contentment and being happy with a simple life. I thought I had a long way til retirement when I was 52, but life has a funny way of shaking things up, and 5 years later work finished for me - probably forever. I really can't say I miss it, and retirement is pretty darn fabulous!

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  20. Hi Leanne. I'm sorry I missed this very inspiring post, when it came out. I was feeling pretty good, when I started the post, and giving myself a pat on the back. Then I got to the part that said not to define your worth by your possessions. I thought I got over all that, when I was in my 30's and 40's. Now, I realize that I'm sometimes guilty of feeling the need to buy some new cosmetic or outfit, that I don't really need. After reading this post, I know that t5here are aspects of my life that still need nurturing. I feel the need to get back to being creative, whether through writing again or sculpting. It's time. Outstanding post! Sharing to FB. xx Christina Daggett

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    1. Hi Christina - I think that buying ourselves the occasional treat is very different from those who need to be surrounded by every bell and whistle. When you define yourself by what you own, then you set yourself up to constantly need to have the next new thing. When you're content with a life that is within your budget and you then add in a few little extras, then life is pretty sweet. I'd love to see you crafting and sculpting and writing in your new place (that is looking pretty darn amazing btw!)

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