Here’s a little conversation I had with myself while I was walking the dog just the other day …
Me: I really miss France! I’d love to be in in Provence right now.
Myself: And just what would you be doing right now, if you were in Provence?
Me: Oh, I’d be taking a walk outdoors, enjoying the flowers, the smell of the air, seeing people strolling along, maybe sitting outdoors enjoying a nice cup of coffee.
Myself: Well ok Einstein, you are walking outdoors right now. There are flowers everywhere. People are passing by, and there’s a coffee shop down the street.
And voila, just like that, I was in Provence, taking the time to appreciate what I was doing, without ever leaving my own neighborhood.
Life isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. We all have our own “someday when …” vision, and they can be a different as cats and frogs. It could be an apartment in the middle of Paris with a closet full of Chanel, or a small chicken farm with checkered curtains and a pie cooling in the windows.
Part of your ideal life could simply be waking up to a calm morning in a lovely room, launching into your morning rituals that lead you to a productive day.
Either way, it’s your happy place to dream of, and that’s what matters.
And it’s entirely possible that in order for your dream life to fully materialize, it requires the death of a wealthy relative you’ve never met and didn’t know you had, or picking the winning lottery numbers, the odds of which are worse than those of being hit by falling satellite parts. But here’s the thing, you may be able to get a lot closer than you think, right now.
It all starts with a clear vision. What is that picture of life that puts a smile on your face and makes your heart go pitter-pat?
Maybe you think the goal is having loads of money. Sure, who wouldn’t want that? But money so you can … what? Dress well? Live in a nice home? Drive a nice car? Engage in philanthropic activities? What if you could skip the “have lots of money” part, and just do those things?
For most of my life, I had what my grandmother used to call “champagne taste and a beer pocketbook.” But I always managed to dress well and live well. I poured through fashion magazines and books to develop my own sense of style, then combed the consignment stores, resale shops and eBay to find what I wanted, or the nearest facsimile thereof. And now that I can actually afford to buy retail, I still can’t resist a great bargain.
You can elevate your home right now for little to no money. Start by getting it spanking clean. It will not only look better, but you’ll feel better and have a greater appreciation for what you have. Get rid of anything you don’t have a use for – out with the old to make room for the new – and organize the crap out of what you keep. Make a proper home for everything. Use baskets to sort like items. Get inspiration from Pinterest and see what ideas you can come up with to put into play right now.
One of my favorite things to do to “refresh” my home is to sort of hold a little garage sale for myself – audience of one. Grab all of the tchotchkes and do-dads from all over your home, and gather them in one spot. Look at them with fresh eyes, as if you didn’t own them, then place them in new spots, things you’d never considered before. I’ve even done the same thing with furniture, dragging it all into one big bunch in the middle of the room, and then placing it as if I were just moving in.
Maybe right now you can’t afford to be the biggest benefactor of your favorite charity. But you can volunteer and accomplish the same thing on a grass-roots level.
There are so many ways you can apply these same principles to basically any area of life that is short of ideal. Just focus on what is good, what can be changed, what can be done.
Every step you make toward living your ideal life right now is a step in the right direction. Keep creating it, bit by bit, and enjoy your accomplishments large and small.