I spent the holiday weekend with my brother, sister-in-law, and three nephews (two-year-old twins and their four-year-old big brother) in South Florida. Weekends spent with them are rarely boring. As you can imagine, three little boys foster an environment that is loud and eventful. Especially when they spontanesously started singing the “Rain, Rain Go Away” song in unison when an unexpected storm cuts short their pool day. Or when they decided that when I was in downward facing dog position was the best time to crawl under me and stretch, too, so I was forced to awkwardly flip/roll out of the pose in order to avoid squashing them. Fun times.
I marvel at how calmly my brother and sister-in-law handle the perpetual chaos in their home. They’re even able to joke about their crazy lives and the insane routine that makes it possible for them to raise the kids, work full-time, and be adults. After making a very long list of their daily obligations, we figured out that the kids have only five things on their priority lists: sleep, eat, play, bathe, and poop. Basically this is the simplest that life will ever be for them and not coincidentally, they are as happy as clams.
This got me thinking about how we adults have a lot to learn from our young counterparts about simplification and happiness. If forced, we could all probably boil our priorities down to 3-5 things that really matter, but in practice many of us spend too much time on things that wouldn’t make that short list. This disconnect leads to stress and worry – known happpiness detractors.
My short includes: my spiritual relationship, exercise, doing work that improves people’s lives, writing, cultivating relationships with family and friends, and travel. Each day I work hard to say “no” to things that aren’t consistent with these things that I have deemed as important. Because I suffer from a severe case of FOMO it was extremely hard at first; however with time it is getting easier to stick to my list, and I am starting to reap the benefits of focusing, which is very encouraging. If you had to make a list of the top 5-7 things that matter to you today, what would make the cut?