Welcome back you little glutton for punishment, you!
We’re here to shine an unflattering spotlight on the ways you are robbing yourself of aliveness/ unwittingly killing yourself/ detonating your potential to live with guts and gusto.
This stuff ain’t for the squeamish . . . but it’s “required reading” for those of us who want to spruce up this one go we have at life.
Quick review, in case you missed a beat:
In Part One and Part Two of this “What Needs to Die in Your Life” series, we addressed the following cavities that might need filling in your giant mouth of a life:
Life-wrecker #1: Kill your Pleaser mentality. Life-wrecker #2: Kill your comparing tendency. Life-wrecker #3: Kill your (emotional) dependency on food that deadens you. Life-wrecker #4: Kill the soul-stifling job. Life-wrecker #5: Kill off the shoulds. Life-wrecker #6: Kill the snooze button.
Seeing these “kill your xyz” life-wreckers all stacked up looks like an alarming amount of murder, no? All in good faith though! With a limited amount of time left in our lives, we can’t afford to trudge on with life-draining albatrosses around our necks. WE MUST DE-ALBATROSS.
So let’s get on with two more common vices that might be worth paying attention to . . .
Life-wrecker #7: Kill the clutter.
Well hello there, Clutter Queen/ King! Your life feels a tad bit closed in on you, doesn’t it? IT’S BECAUSE YOU NEED TO PURGE, SWEETHEART.
Research is clear that clutter kills joy. You might not believe there’s “a place for everything and everything in its place,” but you also know that living in a cesspool of clutter negatively impacts your subjective sense of well-being. We all have different thresholds of untidiness anxiety . . . you might feel squirrelly if your junk drawer’s getting junky, whereas your partner might be just fine with heaps of papers and files and coffee cups and old Banana Republic catalogs on their desk. (It’s okay if that makes you want to breathe into a paper bag.)
Studies reveal that “47.3% of [research participants] who scored in the healthy range of clutter on the objective cutter scale, reported that clutter had negatively impacted their quality of life.”
Other research shows that clutter spikes cortisol in women—so if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the state of your closets and cupboards, know that there is a physiological impact stemming from your decision to keep the plastic logoed water bottle from that conference you attended in 2012.
The good news is that the act of decluttering can elicit hedonic feelings of happiness and relief, which means that setting aside a weekend to sort/ donate/ trash/ set your shit on fire not only rids you of the heavy mental weight of living in squalor, but it also delivers a sweet relief of knowing you’ve cleaned up your act.
You can scour the internet for ways to get rid of your junk—it’s not hard to figure out how—it’s usually more about quieting the inner voice of judgment that scolds you for being a horrifying hoarder. Who cares why you’ve let things go? All you have is this moment, and hopefully copious Mondays ahead of you, so get going on ruthlessly editing your stuff. Lighter feels better. You deserve to feel good about your space and life again.
Life-wrecker #8: Kill your couch (i.e.: inertia).
If you have any interest at all in living a lively version of your life, you must slay your slothness.
I’ve told you before that my first job out of college—back in another century—was as a personal trainer. I learned early on that people thought they were paying to lose weight &/or look better naked, but in reality, clients were getting more than they bargained for: they were liking themselves and their lives more. Movement changes your relationship with yourself, and not (just) because you can see some definition in your delts (if that’s something you even give a care about). Exercise builds self-esteem and vitality . . . two crucial ingredients in a well-lived life. Other nerdy notes:
Exercise buys you time on earth: your risk of premature death may decrease by 4% for each additional 15 minutes of daily physical activity.
Moderately exercising for 150 minutes or more per week will buy you about 4.7 more years of life compared to people who don’t exercise.
If you exceed the 150 minutes, you’ll be 35% less likely to die early.
If 150 won’t fit into your schedule, even 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week will let you live 1.8 years longer, on average, compared with people who don’t work out.
Lifting weights will reward you with a 46% lower risk of early death than people who don’t strength train.
Playing tenniswill add 9.7 years to your life . . . badminton will buy you 6.2 years . . . swimming gets you 3.4 more years . . . and I know you’re going to ask about pickleball but I couldn’t find any official data. Let’s just say it makes you immortal.
Alright friends. We’ve covered enough stuff to snuff for one day.
Remember that you don’t need to overhaul your life in one fell swoop to add to your well-being and sense of aliveness. It might mean cleaning out one drawer at a time in your home, or going for one quick + short walk after work.
Your Mondays are dwindling, and you deserve to make the very most of however many you have left in this crapshoot game of life. Anyone up for a game of badminton with me? I’m pretty sure you’ll win.