Relax: 21 Ways to Know You’re Doing Just Fine in This Thing Called Life
Monday June 13, 2016

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“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” —Bob Goff

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #107

It sometimes happens when we’ve been giving it our all plus an extra 10% for quite some time that when we finally take our foot off of the accelerator, even for a moment or even if to celebrate and take a deep breath to reflect on how far we’ve come, our mind hasn’t adjusted yet and as well, our body finally finds its chance to collapse so it can rejuvenate. Although the rejuvenation to us translates into being sick.

Confession: This has happened to me two different times in my life, once in college after having finishing a fall quarter while holding down three additional jobs, 21 credits and contemplating calling off a wedding, and two years ago after spending a year editing my first book and teaching full-time, all the while trying and failing to acquire a job in Bend. My body quit. My body, due to the stress my mind and life had imposed upon it said, “No more. And since you won’t listen, I’m taking you down because that is what you need to get better.”

And because our body screams for rest, our mind too needs a tune-up often times. Often our mind, whether because we’ve made tremendous progress but haven’t reached our goal yet, or because it is just too murky to see clearly, it cannot trust that we are doing just fine. It cannot see how well we are doing or how far we’ve come. And because we are exhausted, we don’t second-guess our murky mind. But we should.

Today, I’d like to share with you 21 ways to know you are doing just fine in this thing called life even if your mind wants to play tricks on you from time to time.

I have a feeling that many of you are strivers, goal-setters and absolute devout dreamers when it comes to embracing and diving into life. What an amazing approach to life that opens up the richness of the everyday and the endless possibilities of all that we can make a reality. But sometimes as we’re busy doing, planning and charging ahead to attain, we may question whether or not we’re really doing all right. For whatever reason, doubt, an over heard comment that rattles us for a moment, a mini goal wasn’t reached on time, etc. And I’m here to tell you immediately, you are.

Why? Because I’ve had these doubts, I’ve had that question dance around in my mind, “Am I doing all right? Is my life on track according to my goals and wishes?” And once I move through that moment, and recognize my emotions were heightened due to either my lack of rest or clarity, I sit back and remind myself, “Yes, I am doing more than all right at this thing called life.” And I have a pretty good feeling, so are you. Let’s have a look at the list below.

1. You have a job that pays the bills plus a little extra.

2. You eat food to enjoy the experience.

3. You’re 75% sure of the things you don’t and what you do want.

Having some wiggle room of uncertainty isn’t a bad thing. And in fact, I would argue it is a very healthy thing because it means you are flexible and open to life and what it might present to you unexpectedly.

4. You understand that emotions, some emotions, can be temporary.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.” —Aristotle

I have written this quote into my planner as a on-hand reminder to check my emotions and my seemingly absurd thoughts from time to time. It’s okay to have any thought you want, but it doesn’t mean to you have to trust, accept or believe everything you think.

5. You’ve experienced and survived heartbreak or disappointment at least once in your life

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — the main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”  —John Steinbeck

If you have taken risks, taken a chance, stepped out on a limb, and it didn’t work out, but you’re reading this it means you’ve survived to tell the tale. If nothing else, use those experiences to bolster your courage as you move forward toward other dreams and goals. Don’t see it as a failure, see it as an exercise in building strength and confidence.

6. You don’t need constant approval from your boss, your friends, your family, your spouse, etc.

There’s no magic way to find yourself. It’s not out in the wilderness or in another country or city. Or in the deep depths of a book. Or waiting in solitude. It’s right there, in you. And if you never find a way to appreciate yourself, you’ll never see it.” —Anthony Allevato

When we’re not sure of our path, journey or decisions, we can reach out to others for their approval. And while if we’re seeking guidance from a source that is an expert in the field we have questions about, this is a wise idea, but if we are seeking approval so that we can move toward something we are excited about, we need to first give ourselves permission to leap. We need to trust ourselves, we need to appreciate that our dreams and ideas may be different from others, and while their support would do wonders, we must accept and take responsibility for the life we are trying to build. If we believe in ourselves, when we stumble, it will be easier to get back up and keep going forward.

7. You have curiosity about something and are doing something in that arena to tickle your curiosity

Maybe it is a hobby right now or maybe it is something within your career, whatever tickles your mind, include it in some capacity in your life.

8. You have a place to call your home.

9. You have a discretionary income for simple luxuries.

Perhaps a bouquet of flowers for the week or a decadent cup of coffee and croissant. If you can treat yourself to these simple luxuries, you are doing very well indeed.

10. You can reflect and see you’ve grown as an individual

Simply looking back to last year, if you have improved in some capacity, learned a certain lesson, shifted in such a way to improve the quality of your life, you are doing very well indeed.

11. You have doubts

You’re human and you still want to grow and improve. You recognize that you, as we all are, are and always will be a work in process, and you also recognize this is normal, doubt that is. Doubt demonstrates that you care about living well. You want to reach your full potential.

12. Your bills are paid

A monthly celebration is in order. Revel in the small things because they are indeed more impressive than you may know.

13. You have a friend or two who care about you and you them. 

Healthy, loving relationships, no matter how many, if you have one or two, you are blessed.

14.You have clothes to wear that allow you to be yourself – comfortable and authentic.

It doesn’t have to be many, but if you can pull an outfit together and feel comfortable and authentic, you are living well.

15. Goals: You’ve set them, achieved a few or more and are working toward a few more at the moment.

16. Challenges: You’ve overcome a few along the way and are still standing.

“No matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” – Albert Camus

17. You’re self-sufficient

If you can make your own money, get to work on your own, pay your bills, tend to the everyday errands, routines and chores without needing help, you’re doing wonderfully. This doesn’t mean you can’t work with others or share life’s responsibilities with a partner, but if you had to, you could do everything. Knowing this, is a significant peace of mind and a very good sign.

18. Your body works for you, quite well.

No aches? No pains? Able to walk, smile, feel, taste, see and move? Time for the happy dance!

19. You’re not completely comfortable or at ease because you refuse to settle and recognize you can handle the challenge even if you don’t know what it will look like.

20. You’re exhausted

Because you’re trying. You’re doing your best. Now get some sleep, become more comfortable with saying no and taking time for yourself and adjust your schedule as you can so you can do your best tomorrow.

21. You’ve put your feelings out there, made yourself vulnerable

“Have patience, heart.”—Homer

You’re not afraid to love, and even if you get smacked down or ignored, you are practicing a very good habit to refuse to be cynical and to be determined to have faith that you will make connections.

The life we want to live is the life we are living now, whether it seems that way in the moment or not. To appreciate where we are is to give power to the future we desire materializing before our very eyes. So when you have those moments of exhaustion and your mind begins to play tricks on you and question how well you are doing, take the time to glance over the list above and remind yourself (and your mind) that you are doing just fine, very fine indeed. And if a nap or a mini vacation is needed, find a way to give your body and your life what it needs for you to full appreciate all that you are doing well. Because you are doing so much quite magnificently.


~The Difference Between Having Doubts & Being Scared

~10 Tools Fulfilled People Utilize in their Life to Squash Negativity (podcast)

~10 Signs You’re on the Right Track

Petit Plaisir:

~The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

In 1993 Alain de Botton published his first book On Love which became an international best-seller. A fictional tale of a man and woman who meet while on a flight from London to Paris. Over the course of the tale, anyone who has ever experienced the angst, confusion, euphoria and hope of new love will be able to empathize with either or both of the characters. Since his immediate success, he has written many essays and non-fiction works, but he has returned this month with a much-anticipated fictional journey in The Course of Love, officially being released tomorrow.

Having had the opportunity to read an advanced copy, I alluded to my enjoyment of the book in this post, as the book was devoured in less than a day. As we are introduced to Rabih and Kirsten as they are introduced to each other, we follow them through the “disproportionate attention” given to the start of their relationship as Botton adds commentary in inserted italicized commentary throughout the entire novel about love, society’s perception, the reality and realizations we come to find well after it would have been good to know. At this particular stage, he shares “What we typically call love is often the start of love.”

The journey of love, or “course of love” as it is called continues and Rabih and Kirsten marry while Botton suggests “We believe we are seeking happiness in love, but what we are really after is familiarity.” He at regular intervals throughout the novel offers pointed assertions about love, and even if we as readers don’t accept them entirely or even at all, they certainly offer much contemplation and pondering.

Through children and infidelity, as well as career rises and falls, dual incomes and economic balance and imbalance, Rabih and Kirsten’s life together is revealed to the reader. And along the way, we as readers are asked to look within, to question how we see or what we expect from romantic pairings. And it is in one swift, but profound statement that I found most ripe with wisdom as to apply to my own life: “Love is a skill, not just an enthusiasm.”  I couldn’t help but contemplate where the fault should be placed that made me assume that it didn’t need to involve skill. Botton suggested an answer as the novel nears its end, “The fault lies with art, not life. Rather than split up, we may need to tell ourselves more accurate stories —stories that don’t dwell so much on the beginning, that don’t promise us complete understanding, that strive to normalize our troubles and show us a melancholy yet hopeful path though the course of love.” 

Ah, the course of love. While it may never entirely run smoothly, it is certainly a course to become a better student of, if not only to improve our experience.


If you are in any way curious about The Course of Love, I encourage you to read the book. And if you’d like to win a free copy, you are in luck as I am giving away a copy to a lucky reader/listener. Leave a comment below to enter by Saturday June 18th at midnight (pacific daylight time), and the winner will be chosen randomly. Make sure to include some way to contact you if you are the lucky winner.


~Share your #PetitPlaisir on Twitter or Instagram and Shannon may give you a shout-out on a future episode of The Simple Sophisticate. Tag @simplyluxurious on Twitter or @thesimplyluxuriouslife on Instagram with a picture of your Petit Plaisir.

~This week’s Petit Plaisir Shout-Out goes to London Dan with his pic of @BeanAboutTown cup of coffee. Thanks Dan!

Image: source
 | The Simply Luxurious Life

36 thoughts on “Relax: 21 Ways to Know You’re Doing Just Fine in This Thing Called Life

  1. I think #13 and #18 are extremely important.
    The points about being able to pay bills are good, yet I think too many of us consider essential things that just aren’t. I was in the Peace Corps in Africa and it really gave me a different perspective about what’s important in life. I do not NEED clothes–I have enough to clothe a village. I do not NEED a haircut from a salon, though it sure would look better. I do not NEED a car–I could bike or take public transport. All those things make my life much better, but I learned to see them as luxuries rather than as essentials. And that means I have a very rich, luxurious life in the greater scheme of things. I like nice things, of course, but I try not to forget how lucky I am to have them.

  2. I think your words remind us to realize what is truly important to live fulfilling lives. Not scatter our energies on what and how we “should ” be living our lives.

  3. Wonderful list. # 18 is the most important. When you have your health, it is truly a blessing. As you say, we have to appreciate the luxuries of food, health, a clean bed to sleep in every night, and clean water to drink and bathe.

  4. I love your blog and I very much enjoyed Alain’s first book, On love. Looking forward to read his new one!

  5. Such a breath of fresh air. A lot of lists like this tend to take on a tone of making me feel guilty about what I do have, but instead yours is gracious and reads as gentle encouragement. I’m certainly a “do-er” and am learning to not place all my value in my work and accomplishments. Sometimes we just need to speak these things aloud and get “permission” from someone outside our life for it to sink in.

    1. Thank you for your comment. It has been my experience, that most of us are doing far better than we give ourselves credit for. We tend to be harshest on ourselves, and so long as we are doing our best with the knowledge we have at the moment that is all we can do.

  6. I found your podcast a year ago and have listened to every single episode – I am always so inspired! I have discovered so many wonderful books, movies, recipes, and simple joys from listening to you. The Course of Love sounds like a wonderful book!

  7. Another great podcast – I so appreciated it! I’m coming up on 30 years of marriage & I think this book would be a fun read to celebrate : )
    until next week – yours with love, Sandra

  8. Love your list, couldn’t agree more ! More isn’t necessarily better or more satisfying, it’s just more. This is a difficult concept sometimes, particularly nowadays with the onslaught of social media. It is my aim to simplify and enjoy what I have rather then constantly striving for more/better/newer. I really enjoy your blog, you seem to have found the right balance. Sending you love and light ! PS: My username on Insta is _lepetitplaisir_ , how funny is that since you always post your “petit plaisir” ❤️

  9. Thank you for another articulate and thought provoking podcast. I am at a time in my life where it is very easy to get caught up in ‘where I should be’ or ‘what I should have’ and this was a timely reminder to take a deep breath and be at peace with my current situation, both professionally and personally. Alain de Botton is such a talented, eloquent writer and I can’t wait to get my hands on the Course of Love. Thank you again for your contribution to women like me everywhere.

  10. Thank you for such a great post – a reality check if you will. As someone who is currently purging her life, this is such a lovely reminder that I am enough. Perfect timing.

  11. I’ve been meaning to reach out for a while. Really enjoy your podcast and this one was right on time. Much appreciated!! Keep up the good work!

  12. It is much more helpful to realize and appreciate that a good job is done when you have a list by your side! Merci Shannon for making the job much easier and more enjoyable. Keep being a quality person and help us evolve.

  13. It feels_so_incredibly reassuring to hear from another that I am doing just fine at this moment. There are countless articles in the world about how wrong we are doing even the most mundane of things, e.g. peeling a banana (for mushing your first bite of banana) or squeezing a lemon (how to extract the most juice), that one can’t help but feel as if they should improve and optimize forevermore.

    Sure, setting and reaching goals fuel my life with purpose and meaning. Yet, recognizing that I am doing pretty darn well right now consciously signals to my brain that I need not feel guilty for napping, lounging, meandering or simply pausing more throughout any given work day, the weekend or while on vacation.

    Enough with the guilt and time for more relaxation! Merci, Shannon! I have re-listened to this podcast 3x already since Monday!

    1. Oh my goodness! Thank you for tuning in! Ah, you make a very good point. The cycle of always trying to improve or do something better subconsciously makes us think we aren’t doing well enough. It is important that we find the balance of improving and approving of ourselves. Thank you very much for your comment. 🙂

  14. What a Wonderful post – I’m printing it out ! I’d certainly enjoy this book…..Thank You ! Vera

  15. As I listened to this podcast and Petit Plaiser, my sister and I were having similar conversation about these topics through messenger. Nothing like a second witness to these truths.

  16. I love your posts. I’ve printed out so many of them just so I can have them on hand, and read them again and again. I also just recently purchased your book, everything is so inspiring and I am so grateful that I found your blog! It’s one of the first things I look forward to when I check my email in the mornings.

  17. Another thought provoking podcast. I must say, after listening to the list that I feel pretty good about things. Love each and every blog and podcast and I am almost finished reading your book- which I have been enjoying. thank you for all of the time and energy you devote to TSLL. The book review has captured my interest.

  18. This was a wonderful episode and really reminded me of all the things I have to be grateful for.

  19. Am I too late too win the book? It’s after midnight but I’m EST. I really need to listen to the podcast earlier in the week 🙂 Enjoyed this one a lot.

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