I’ve always been a person of many words. If there were a dozen people in a room, and I was one of them, I would most likely be the one filling any silent moment. The strange thing is, for almost all of my working life, I spent a lot of time surrounded by silence and was very comfortable with that. Light bulb moment…maybe that is part of the reason that, when I was with people, I talked so much!
In college, one of my instructors said it was easy for words, in written assignments, to “mushroom.” He was helping his students to understand that the most difficult part about developing a thesis, was to pare down the topic to the smallest pieces, and then consider how many of those ideas were appropriate for the scope of the assignment. I was always the one trying to cover, “everything you ever wanted to know about…fill in the blank.” My early papers were veritable mushroom fields of information. I had a tough time seeing that less could be more.
Throughout my adult life, I have been a very detail-oriented person, who also needed to see the “big picture.” Believe me, you would not want to be in my brain when weighing options! Ask my husband. Choosing our first house was akin to a three-ring circus! Should we buy the one with the smaller yard, and the bigger bedrooms, or the one with the fantastic kitchen but a so-so location? Our immediate needs and the many particulars were very important, but I could already envision our family growing and wondered how a location might meet our needs 30 years ahead! My husband voted for the house with the biggest garage because he’s a man of the moment. He felt the less we agonized over each possible detail the better.
One of the joys of my current life is that I am still able to learn! Last year, when my husband and I were making final plans for retirement, our financial planners laid out their vision of how our “little nest egg” could see us through to the end of our days. I think I challenged their patience with all my “what if” questions. At some point, one of the planners said, “Well, by that time, you will most likely be ready to downsize, sell this house, and make new arrangements.” It was at that instant that I woke to the reality that today’s choice, though it may influence days ahead, would not have to govern tomorrow’s decisions. Less worry equals more enjoyment!
It energizes me to recognize that the lesson planted in my twenties is bearing it’s real fruit in my sixties! As each day unfolds I make some small effort to “pare down,” worry less, and enjoy more! My wish for each of my readers is that, if you have not already made the discovery, may you soon understand that less is more!