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“The older you get, the easier it becomes to follow your own rules.” —Linda Rodin
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #116
At age 66, beauty business mogul Linda Rodin is a force of vitality, independence and femininity, all according to her own rules of how to live her best life. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, her interview with Garance Doré grabbed my attention. For many reasons, but primarily for her determination to love the life that she has chosen to live, following nobody else’s “rules”.
The quote above was quipped by Linda during that particular interview as she spoke about her introversion, her absolute enjoyment of not being a night-owl who partakes in the NYC late-night, but rather someone who goes to bed rather early (8 or nine) and reads or watches something of interest for a few more hours. She has her routines each morning, walking her French poodles Winks to grab a cup of caffeine from a select local coffee shops, and diving into her work from 9-5. She doesn’t apologize, she revels. It works for her, it enables her to thrive and brings forth who she is rather than who other people expect her to be.
Choosing to live a life, to follow our own “rules”, is to set ourselves free. To set ourselves free to respect what works for us, what energizes us, what respects the voice that speaks from within that may or may not synchronize with the rest of the world. The liberating life truth is that when we listen to that voice, we catapult the quality of our everyday lives into an entirely different dimension of contentment.
As someone who is 37, it was refreshing and a relief to know that living becomes all that more enjoyable with each year so long as we are listening to our lives. But I couldn’t help but ponder another question, can I be more comfortable following my own rules now, or do I have to wait a couple more decades? However, after I pondered my own question, I began to realize, the sooner we can become and allow ourselves to become more comfortable following our own rules, much like compound interest, the ease will only intensify as we live each year, and that is a very exciting revelation.
So how can we become more comfortable living by our own rules?
- Begin listening to yourself
- Get to know yourself
- Begin to think for yourself
- Step away from the world regularly
- Accept and embrace the uniqueness that resides within you
- Strengthen the powerful tool of self-acceptance
- Stop looking for outside approval of the life and decisions you have made
To call the guidelines by which each of us chooses to live “rules” is a misnomer in many ways, as it contains an air of limitation. But I think we all understand what Linda Rodin was implying when she uttered this phrase. We know what works for us; we also know what doesn’t. And so to protect ourselves from making mistakes in moments when we, for whatever reason, are influenced by the moment, a persuasive person, etc., if we have personal rules set in place, it’s a no-brainer. We already know what we need to do, regardless of temptation.
In many ways, so long as we are the ones creating the rules for ourselves, the rules we put in place will be lifting us up and ensuring that when we wake up in the morning we are full of appreciation rather than regret and disappointment.
Below I’ve gathered together general areas of our lives where putting into place rules can bring more fulfillment. I’ve also included a few questions with each to help you pinpoint what would work best for you. Contemplate what has worked for you, what would benefit you and the journey you are on and what you want to achieve. Every single person will have a unique combination of answers. That is the beauty and that is also a sign that you are truly listening to yourself and the voice from within.
1. A schedule that works for you
- How much sleep do you need?
- What helps you unwind to have a deep, restful sleep?
- What helps you begin the day well?
- At what time do you need to go to bed, wake up to have a productive day?
- When do you need breaks?
- When are you the most productive?
- In what instances did a particular schedule work for you? Why?
2. A style that speaks to who you are
- What are you wearing when you feel your best?
- What works with your lifestyle and regular routine?
- What can you invest in that will be worn regularly and loved?
- Visit TSLL Capsule Wardrobe to dive into how to create your own spring & fall simple, dependable and confident wardrobe
3. Which relationships to foster or let go (friendships, family, romantic and collegial)
- Who can you relax around? Be yourself?
- Who can you trust?
- Who has similar interests and passions?
- Who is kind and thoughtful?
- Who do you enjoy being with?
- Let go of wanting to be liked by everyone you meet .
- Let go of not wanting to upset people.
- Respect the boundaries you have put in place and let go of those who refuse to accept them.
- Let go of people who try to control you, passively or directly.
- Your feelings of discomfort or peace are feelings to respect even if others do not understand.
4. Risks worth taking
- How did you reach the point where you are today? What were viewed as risks at that time?
- What are you confident about in your life?
- Who do you look up to for life advice? Have they taken risks and been successful? What did they learn when they weren’t?
- What talents and abilities do you have that are not similar to the masses?
- What are you comfortable letting go of or losing in order to gain what you seek?
- Who is dependent upon you?
- What responsibilities do you have?
- Who is telling you it’s too risky? Who is telling you to jump? Consider their experience – do you want to live their life?
- How would you feel if you never took the risk?
5. The food and drink you consume and imbibe
With each year of life in adulthood, if we choose to, we become very aware of our bodies: what makes it feel good, what gives it energy, when do we think most clearly and how it responds to types of food and drink and quantities of food and drink. No matter what your mom, a friend, a random stranger say has happened to them if they eat this or done that, first seek out the facts from science and the nature of human biology. How does the body work? Understand, for example, how certain carbs work in the body when more than needed are consumed. Read How Not to Die and come to understand the truth as to why many disease are preventable. Then, incorporate what you know about your own body. Knowledge is power and when you eat well, hydrate your body and have simple, clear rules that you abide by when it comes to food no matter what is put in front of you, the quality of your life will blossom. (Read Why Not . . . Feed Your Body Well? to get started on what and why the food you eat is or is not helping you.)
6. How you spend your money
- What are your financial goals?
- Have you seen or spoken with a financial adviser you trust?
- What do you know about investing? (Read TSLL Money Archives to learn more about being financially savvy).
- What risk are you comfortable with? (what is worth the investment – a home, a business venture, etc.)
- How much and how long do you want to work?
- Do you have debt? Do you have a plan to eradicate it?
- Do you understand the power of money? (Read: The 9 Ways Money Can Buy Happiness)
- In what manner do you feel most control when it comes to money? (cash, debit, credit, etc.)
As we know life and what will happen tomorrow is unpredictable. We can always put the odds in our favor, we can always look to others who have gone before us, but tomorrow, next year, and 10 years from now will have their own special uniqueness about them. As a child, our parents set certain rules for different periods of our lives: don’t walk across the street without holding my hand, don’t eat candy for breakfast, feed the dogs every day at a certain time, close the gate behind you, turn off the lights when you leave the house, etc. While yes, some rules can be too stringent and limit our potential as children and then as adults, other rules are merely for our own best interest: save our lives, feed our bodies well, properly care for others, keep others safe, reduce the energy bill. In no way do any of these particular rules hurt us or harm someone else but rather enhance the quality of our lives and play a rule in helping the community as well. A win-win.
When we are at our best, we feel amazing and yes, when we are at our best, the community and world around us benefit as well. So today consider the rules you live by. Are they your own? Are you consciously aware of the rules you follow? Why do you follow them? And then if you see a need for tweaking and improving take some time, an afternoon or a few hours this weekend to consider helping yourself build a life that cultivates habits that make you excited to wake up each and every day, no matter what your age.
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~pair with a decadent cheeseburger on a brioche bun
~see the entire recipe here and a video demonstrating how to put it all together here.