When I first started my blog a little over a year ago, I thought it would bring me a lot of joy, through getting to write about fun topics that interested me and taking pretty pictures. When I started the blog, I was craving more fun, more creativity and a whole lot more joy in my life. I’d just given up a job I hadn’t enjoyed, and where I’d run myself into the ground, working 70 hour weeks and constantly getting sick. I’d been living day-by-day, where the goal of each day was simply to get through it, preferably without breaking down into tears of exhaustion and frustration at the end of it. I was getting up early then, arriving at work most days around 7am, but (unlike now) there was no joy in my early risings, just sheer drudgery. I felt weighted down by exhaustion, disappointment and stress. Was this really all there was? I saw the next decades of my life spread out before me and was terrified. Something had to change.
I’ve always been a big believer in happiness. We all have the right to a happy, fulfilling life. Sometimes, that kind of life flows easily, but more often than not, it doesn’t. Because I believe happiness takes some work: you have to know yourself in order to know what will bring you joy, and you have to be able to look past instant gratification in your definition of happiness.
I had anticipated writing would help me. I had anticipated focusing on the positive and joyful would help me (this is why Miranda’s Notebook is never a place for negative reviews). I knew picking up a camera would allow me to feel in control of my world again.
What I didn’t anticipate – cliche as it sounds – was the amount of personal growth starting a blog would inspire within me. I’ve spent the past year learning so much – not only about photoshop and instagram and WordPress plugins – but about myself. I’ve listened to dozens of podcasts and read so many books, all with the same central theme of what it means to live a happy, fulfilling and creative life. In listening to so many ideas, I’ve gradually started to form my own on how exactly I want to live my life. In the end, my thoughts boil down to one central idea: living lightly. I want to tread through the world with a light step and a light heart.
Anxiety, stress, numbness, exhaustion: these are all burdens. They make living more cumbersome, rather than freeing. Unhappiness often feels like walking around with the weight of the world on your shoulders. In contrast, creativity, playfulness, mindfulness and boundless energy make you feel as though you’re walking on air. How to live lightly is something I am going to be concentrating on over the next year, and I’ll share more of my experiences and sources of inspiration through this blog and social media.
One big realisation I’ve had in living lightly is that everything is connected. What first started me on this journey was the desire to be more productive and fit more in my day. I then realised how closely productivity is linked, not only with good systems, but with my energy levels. You don’t have a great morning routine unless your evening routine ensures you’ve got a good night’s sleep. To have more energy, you need to exercise and eat right. Cleaning out your closets, developing your own style and living in a space that reflects your personal values and taste allows for organised, empowered living. Just as you can get trapped in a negative spiral of bad habits and unhealthy choices, so too can you be transformed by the positive cycle that starts with just one good habit, or one powerful statement like I want to be more productive.
I am not saying that I have all the answers, and I certainly haven’t got it all figured out. I’m learning as I go, and I want to use this blog and community to document some of the process. For next year, I’m starting to plan some challenges that I hope will help us all live a little more lightly. I haven’t got the details sorted yet, but they will most likely take the form of 30 Day Challenges focusing on healthy breakfasts (to kickstart your best days); setting up productive routines and organising your wardrobe to suit your style and life. I’m excited!! In the meantime, I’ll be sharing some inspirational quotes and mantras under the hashtag #livelightly on Facebook and Instagram and some more blog posts on this theme too in the upcoming weeks. As a reminder to myself, I created a ‘live lightly’ wallpaper for my iphone, which I’m sharing below. If this message speaks to you too, then simply save the photo on your phone and set is as your wallpaper: