Life By Design

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Landscape remodel 2011

I love the phrase life by design. It resonates with me for 2 reasons:

  • The idea that we can create a life intentionally designed by our deepest attractions and desires is appealing, to say the least. I love the thought we can live with true purpose and our days would be filled with meaning and value.
  • I also love design in many aspects. It’s a life-long passion that includes landscape design, architecture and interior spaces. For me the home is a sanctuary and should reflect peace, creativity and a zen vibe.

Check out my Pinterest board here for great design inspiration: “Life by Design” 

Post divorce I’ve had the opportunity to really dig into what my “Life by Design” could be. Its been like hitting the pause button or getting a re-do. Should I live here or there? Should I drive this car or sell it? Should I take that job or quit and try something else? All up to me…and all by my choosing. There’s definitely a lot of options in life. And as mentioned in my post, Fierce Breed- Single Women, for now I’m grateful that I only have to make decisions with myself. It’s one of the benefits of being single.

Choosing the best option though is another matter. I truly believe that when you make up your mind to do something or get somewhere the world conspires to help you achieve your goal. It’s miraculous actually and I think it’s sometimes how people make it look relatively easy. Things appear to manifest for them out of thin air and doors open that were otherwise completely unknown before. Those people have made up their mind 100% and dedicated themselves to the task at hand no matter what. There are no other options and so their focus is sharp and one-pointed. By way of law of attraction, manifestation or divine order the universe seems to have direct assistance in the unfolding process once the mind is set. 

Unfortunately designing my backyard was easier for me than designing my life. And the backyard was a 10 month labor of love…not easy, but absolutely worth the immense effort to get exactly what was in my head into physical form. Kind of like giving birth in a way, …and ultimately so gratifying when its over. 🙂

But living a life by design requires much more from us. We have to consider many options and beliefs we’ve previously subscribed to. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Does your job or career give you money, fulfillment or both?
  • If you have to choose between money and fulfillment which do you choose?
  • Who are you? …Mother, friend, daughter, wife, designer, blogger?? I’ve learned the list changes so I ask myself; how attached am I to those roles I’ve assigned myself?
  • What are your top priorities in life and how do those show up daily in your routine?

2  books I’ve recently read that have helped me answer some of those questions are:

The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope, and

A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine

I love the Stoic’s way of life and the fact the philosophy provides a manner by which to live well. Like attending college today, in Ancient Greece it was a very important part of the culture to attend a school that taught young adults how to approach life…how to live. In contrast about the way we live today William B. Irvine says, “…the default philosophy of life: to spend one’s days seeking an interesting mix of affluence, social status, and pleasure. …an enlightened form of hedonism.” (p. 6)

So while pondering the writings of  Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca I am reminded that “stoic joy” is what I’m after. Life by design and all that encompasses is really about the things in life that are within our control and making the most of them by choosing wisely.

I get hope from Irvine when he says, “This strategy will specify what you must do, as you go about your daily activities, to maximize your chances of gaining the thing in life that you take to be ultimately valuable.” (p. 2)

I’m working to figure out exactly what I take to be ultimately valuable (hmm, …peace of mind, time with my kids, creativity?) and in the meantime please comment and feel free to share your valuable insights as well.

with ♥, Brooke

2 thoughts on “Life By Design

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