I’ve started reading a small, powerful book called “Living the Simple Life:  A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More” by Elaine S. James.   I’m not searching for a life in the woods focusing on bare minimums.  Instead, I’m looking for solutions that release my attachments to “must do,” “should,” and any other external beliefs on living my life.

This book speaks to creating our lives, choosing what’s important, and finding ways to scale back all unnecessary distractions and interruptions that clutter our lives.

In her book, I related to this passage:  “So our lives get frittered away by a social engagement here, a luncheon there, an evening of television here, or the habit of working evenings or weekends or both on projects that we don’t have all that much interest in.  And the things we want to do, in our heart of hearts, get put on the back burner.”

I reacted strongly to the word “frittered” since it spoke about my choices and continued to maintain the status quo.  It’s easier to focus on comfort because it brings immediate relief, though I’m not sure from what.   We don’t have to think when we do the same thing, especially if all around us others are following similar lives.  How do you say “no” to dinner with a friend because you want to save money to live a different life?  It isn’t easy to choose our lives and much easier to have someone else dictate what we should do.

I always like to get definitions and found this one on “fritter”:  to squander or disperse piecemeal; waste little by little.

We don’t realize how many precious minutes, hours, and days we waste by habits that don’t serve us.  Do you find the “should in your life” are creating a slow death by squandering our lives? How many of us feel deep inside “is this all there is?”

What about the quiet voice inside us that wants to try something new,
yet we squish it down with our behavior of wasting time.

The author gives many examples of downsizing what we don’t want and upsizing what adds zest to our lives.  She went through this journey, learning to assess what was important in her life and set into motion time to find ways to downsize her “to do” list.

We capture on our “To Do” list many tasks that don’t provide satisfaction unless we believe that money is the most satisfying goal in our lives.  I don’t prescribe to that belief. Instead, my journey in life has been to simplify and locate the heart of what’s important to me.   One has to make choices, and we are always choosing something over something else.   So what do you decide to do?

If you want to venture into simplifying your life, take the time to review what you are doing.  You don’t have to create significant upheaval in your life; instead, you can start adding small changes today.   As you pick up another task, ask yourself if it is essential and what would happen if you let it go.  It’s the start of making room in our heart’s closets to fill it with what adds joy to life.

Your Thoughts

I believe we can choose to be joyful, and we get to decide what happiness is.  The goal is balance and well-being.  What about you?  Are you ready to explore how to simplify your life and reduce the amount of time you fritter away?  Check out Elaine St. James‘ book to guide you in this process.

Women’s Group Topics

Living a simple life sounds complicated, yet if you were to discuss as a group ways you can simplify the “shoulds” in your life and increase the value you add to your daily day, this topic would benefit all.

Be well,

“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
(Pat Brill)


Other Posts You May Be Interested In
How I Handle Money Worries
Same Old, Same Old
How to Get Your Mojo Back


Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More ~ Elaine St. James
Simplify Your Life:  100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy that Things That Really Matter ~ Elaine St. James
Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways to Regain Peace and Nourish Your Soul ~ Elaine St. James




Do you want to download a PDF copy of both of these books, then go to:







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9 thoughts on “Do You Have Too Many Shoulds?

  1. I have spent all of my life frittering away my personal desires.Being everything for everyone.
    Until the day at the age of 53.The world that I had created for myself came crashing down on me.I tried suicide, drugs and alcohol. I was later diagnose with the mental disorder of Major Depression Recurrent.Even though I was satisfied with my life and my accomplishments,in which I was very proud of, but not happy on the inside.
    Now that I’m on the road of recovering I realized how unhappy I was.So now I write about my life’s story in a self help and story form.
    This blog was inspirational to me.

  2. I wanted to say that I appreciated reading your blog and Enjoyed the comment about “is this all there is”. As someone that is striving and always looks to do better and not get carried away in all the clutter, I like where you are coming from. If you get a chance i actually just wrote a blog regarding something similar. please stop by http://reactionone.blogspot.com/

  3. Anthony
    Thanks for sharing your story. We inspire each other on the journey of life, through all of the bumps and joys. I’m glad you are owning your life and sharing your story.


  4. Hi Shane
    Thanks for stopping by. I did check out your site and I understand not getting carried away with all the clutter…frittering one’s life away.

  5. Hi Sachie
    I’m sorry you are feeling not so great about yourself. Hope the new day brings you a softer and compassionate feeling towards yourself.


  6. Hi Pat,
    I’m new to blogging. I have started to write about myself, tentatively and not at all confidently. However, after 12yrs of what seems like constant turmoil & much wasted time, I’m finally beginning to see a small glimmer of hope. I feel I’ve definetely frittered away too much time. Mainly by being pessimistic and downright depressive. Blogs like yours give me hope and inspiration. I don’t think I have ever really stopped long enough to visit with myself, not without feeling guilty anyway! Plus I’ve slways felt that some of my extreme views had nowhere to go, now they do. I’ve started to paint and blog of course, and the guilt is beginning to diminish. Thanks, I love your site and will return often.

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