Live Lightly

#livelightlyWhen 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:

#livelightly - my new life philosophy | Miranda's NotebookHave a wonderful start to the week everyone!

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  • Eleanor Baggley

    This is absolutely wonderful, Miranda! You’ve really brightened up my morning. I love the idea of living lightly and I really look forward to following your journey. I’ve been thinking a lot about life and how I live at the moment too and there are so many changes I need to make to feel better and happier – this is a bit of a boost to actually make those changes.

    Ellie xx

    • Thanks so much for the lovely comment Ellie! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. I do feel my learning curve has been huge over the past year (and is still going!), but it’s been so worth it. Good luck with your own changes that you wish to make. xxx

  • Congratulations on your profound realization on your personal growth because of the blog. This is so inspiring and is certainly something I’ve overlooked in my own blogging journey. Living Lightly is a fantastic project. I definitely look forward to following along. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your kind words Margo! It’s amazing how a simple thing like starting a blog can end up having a profound effect. I’m looking forward to continuing to share the journey 🙂 xxx

  • Oh my goodness, Miranda – I think this just might be my favourite post you have ever done.

    Firstly, this: “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.” This was amazing to read, and so, so true.

    I only hope to achieve the same level of personal growth you have over the past year of your blog, you have really exemplified what it means to take your life into your own hands and not wait around to be handed things or feel a certain way.

    I am SO big on being productive, it is so important to me – and to read the way you connected how it links to every part of our day was so cool. To say I’m excited for the upcoming challenges would be an understatement 😛

    Already set the photo as my home screen background 🙂

    Raashi
    http://raashiagarwal.blogspot.com.au

    • Thanks so much for such a lovely comment Raashi! This was so lovely to read – I’m so glad you enjoyed this post 🙂 And yay for your new homescreen – I’ve been looking at mine a few times throughout the day already, and it’s definitely helped 🙂 I’m so excited to start planning the Challenges properly!! Great to hear you’ll be on board! xxx

  • This is such a wonderful post Miranda! You always share such thought-provoking pieces and your blog is a joy to read. I love that you want to share the good vibes and inspiration quotes! Live lightly. I’m going to remember this. 🙂

    T x

    • You’re so sweet Tara – thank you so much for the lovely comment! 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoy the blog, and I’ve been having fun pulling together some of my favourite quotes, so I’m looking forward to sharing them more! xxx

  • Remind me what this “happiness” thing is? Actually despite a number of fairly challenging aspects of my life (personal and work-related) which certainly leave me tired, frustrated (occasionally) and constantly searching for a little personal time I very rarely feel unhappy. Perhaps that’s because of your wonderful weblog posts! 🙂

  • This post really spoke to me. It is so true and wise, Miranda! I look forward to learning more about living lightly!

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, and I can’t wait to share more about my #livelightly philosophy 🙂 xxx

  • sunday taylor

    This is such an inspiring blog post. Thank you so much for getting my week started on a positive note!

  • It did me so much good to read this post Miranda. It reminded me of something I had forgotten. What I was taught as a therapist is that our burdens, troubles etc… are like small stones. They go into a basket that is our inner selves. At first there aren’t many stones, so the load isn’t heavy. But when you start allowing more and more stones to be added to the basket, the weight becomes unbearable. We can’t move or think of anything but those stones. You have to lighten that basket. There’s no such thing as a completely empty basket. Not when your an adult. But you can choose what you carry with you. Thank you for reminding me that my basket needs unloading.

    • Thank you so much Ali! I’m very glad your found this post helpful, and I love that idea of the basket and stones – it’s so true and such a good metaphor. xxx

  • This was such a lovely, lovely post, Miranda! Lately, I have found myself struggling with living lightly as you put and I can very much identify with the negative mindset that you were in a year ago – there just seems to be too much work and too little time, too much pressure and too much fear of failure. I definitely have to find some better coping strategies, so I’m sure I could benefit from some challenges that push me back into a more positive/productive cycle. I also just saved your graphic to my phone, so I hope that it will serve as a helpful reminder to myself to live a little bit more lightly. Hope you had a great weekend! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment Melanie! So glad you found this post helpful 🙂 Honestly, coming to this realisation has been a tough journey (and a never-ending one, I think) so I totally understand where you’re coming from right now. I’m really excited to share more of my own experiences and also participating in challenges myself! Here’s to a productive and happy 2016 🙂 xxx

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