Reinventing Your Daily Lifestyle

Adopting the European style of Quality vs Quantity

 

 

Do you feel like your life is spinning out of control and you are being buried under stuff with an unmanageable schedule that has you running from dawn until midnight?   STOP, and re-evaluate.  This is no way to live. Yes, we are fortunate to live in a society where we can have anything all the time, but too many choices create a different problem.  Too much, too many and too often becomes what we don’t want.

 

 

Less is more.  Less means doing less meaningless tasks and focusing more on things of greater personal importance.  Focus on being productive, not busy.  Busyness is a trick of the ego that makes you feel important but holds no real value.  Judge a successful day by results, not time spent.

 

 

When I first year I lived in Italy, I was so impressed that people seemed to have all the time in the world to chat with a customer or say hello to a friend they met in the street.  No one was rushing around, tapping their foot in aggravation or shouting into a blue tooth while walking down the street.  I quickly learned the “one thing a day rule.” Getting one thing accomplished a day was enough. So choose what will improve the quality of your life and enjoy the process of doing it. Let all the other things fall away as unimportant.

 

 

For example, the evening meal IS the event.  It is not something we quickly get through to go on to do something else.  There is nothing else to do.  Without TV or going out to an evening meeting or errand, we enjoy a leisure meal, letting the food digest before we decide if we should have another serving.  We put something on our plate and enjoy it, really tasting the flavors. We eat lunch and dinner together, sitting at the table with a table cloth and wine.  At first, I was scolded for jumping up to quickly and clearing the plates. Where was I going in such a rush?

 

 

In Italy, we enjoy amazing food because we follow the rhythm of the seasons.  In summer, we have beautiful fresh vegetables from the garden, eagerly waiting for the first zucchini and beans and eat them all summer long until we don’t want to see another tomato or eggplant.  By fall, we are ready for the next season’s food, such a polenta or squash.  In winter, we start each meal with hot steaming broth with tiny bits of pasta and finish with different types of cheese. But come spring, we are out preparing the garden again.  We don’t eat foreign grown foods or have much ethnic cuisine. We shop everyday and have small mini refrigerators. Quality and freshness are more important than quantity and exoticness.

 

 

Same goes with clothing.  Europeans don’t have huge wardrobes, just a few pieces of expensive, high quality clothing that are stylish and in fashion and they wear them all the time, then when the new season comes, they add just a few pieces.  We wear linen in the summers to stay cool and classic cashmere or wool in winters. A typical closet is a wooden armoire- a piece of furniture, not a walk in closet.  Less quantity and higher quality.

 

 

Europeans are not always upgrading and remodeling.  My bedroom furniture is over 100 years old and our household linens and bedspreads are the same ones for over 50 years.  We are not constantly replacing for a new color scheme or tread. We have one set of dishes, not a bunch of mismatched plastic junk. We don’t buy something because it is cheap; we buy high quality because we need something. Of course, we replace what is broken or worn out, but quality things last.

 

 

Learning to ignore products, trends, events and technology will dramatically change your life. Most material wants are justifications for spending time on things that don’t matter. Creating simplicity requires constant pruning of useless actions and requires making hard decisions about which activities really serve you. Extra physical space creates extra mental space.  To be free, happy and living a meaningful life, you must stop doing many common but overestimated things.  Focus all your attention on this.

 

 

I challenge you to adopt the European lifestyle of quality vs. quantity and downsize your stuff and schedule, while creating a lifestyle that gives you time and freedom to choose how to spend your precious days.


2 Responses to Reinventing Your Daily Lifestyle

  1. Or even immediately.What are some major pieces of advice that you would give to a 20-year-old? What life lessons would you pass on? What books would you tell them to read? Where would you tell them to travel to?How would you help them lead their life to the maximum, knowing that they have their whole life ahead of them?Perhaps being down the line — what were the things that you wished you had done when you were 20?Also check the follow-up question: Life Advice: What could a 30-year-old do to potentially improve their quality of life further down the line?

    • Barbara says:

      What are some major pieces of advice that you would give to a 20-year-old?

      Follow Your Heart ! There is a lot of pressure to follow a ‘pre-subscibed life path.” Do what you love, live with passion and others will want to buy whatever you are selling. Before you start your own company, work for someone else who is already doing it. Take what works, make your mistakes on their dime, learn and then put your own spin on it. Be financially disciplined. Start small and keep doing the part of the business you love and hire people to do what you hate.

      What life lessons would you pass on? What books would you tell them to read?

      Do your own thinking? Turn off the TV. Be acutely aware of what you let into your world ! Control your technology rather than letting it control you. Spend time in nature. Manage your day into chunks, 2 to 4 hours. Manage energy not time. Best reads: You Can Have It All by Arnold Patent, Conversations With God by Neal Donald Walsh, Take Time for Your Life by Cheryl Richardson, and Think and Grow Rich by Wattle. Anything Metaphysical

      Where would you tell them to travel to?How would you help them lead their life to the maximum, knowing that they have their whole life ahead of them?

      Go to what excites you. Go for experiences not stuff. Keep it light and keep moving. Keep reading and learning, growing and evolving.

      Perhaps being down the line — what were the things that you wished you had done when you were 20? I wanted to be a grown up, have a big job, make a lot of money and that freedom would make me happy. NOw I am happily homeless, have no stuff and live an amazing life with very little money.

      What could a 30-year-old do to potentially improve their quality of life further down the line?

      Don’t plan for further done the line. Live for today. Live within your means but keep the focus on having the experiences that interest you right now. Think outside the box. Figure out alternative ways to get what you want. Give to others. Be useful.
      Break up your routine. Keep changing. Join clubs or other events thats will put you in a position to meet others. LIVE NOW!

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