You’ve probably noticed that this blog’s tagline is “creating a beautiful life”. I love the idea of intentionally creating the sort of life I desire. But just exactly how do we do that? Let’s consider what a museum curator does and how that might apply to our own lives.
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I went to the dictionary for the definition of “curate” when used as a verb. According to the Cambridge Dictionary:
*to be in charge of selecting and caring for objects to be shown in a museum or to form part of a collection of art, an exhibition, etc.:
*to be in charge of selecting films, performers, events, etc. to be included in a festival:
*to select things such as documents, music, products, or internet content to be included as part of a list or collection, or on a website:
Curators have traditionally been those who work in museums but the definition has broadened. I like to think of us all as curators of our own lives. We consciously select the various elements that create the sort of life we want to live. At least, that’s what we should do.
Our lives consist of many facets, all of which we make choices about.
Yes, I want to include that.
No, that doesn’t fit my lifestyle.
Here are some life categories and how we might curate what they include.
Decluttering is a hugely popular topic these days. Whether you follow the rather extreme Kon Marie method or something less structured, I think we’d all agree that eliminating excess and unwanted items from our homes makes for a more pleasant home life. However, it’s all too easy to get caught up in what we should eliminate rather than what to include.
When you consider your living space, think about the items that contribute to the way you want to live in your home. Do you like to read? Then you’ll want a comfortable chair with good lighting. Do you have hobbies you enjoy? Then you’ll need space for those, including storage. A tea aficionado like myself? A good tea kettle, mugs or cups and saucers, and a selection of teas should have dedicated space in your kitchen.
I like to start with what I want in my home and then begin eliminating the things that don’t fit – either the space or the vision.
Is your closet full yet you have trouble finding something to wear much of the time? Then it’s time to rethink your clothing. Ideally, everything in your closet and dresser drawers should fit, be in good condition and make you feel good about yourself when you wear it.
Many people are dramatically scaling back on the number of items of clothing they own. There are a number of resources on the “capsule wardrobe”:
Most of us have heard of a capsule wardrobe but have you heard of a “capsule menu”? Shannon Ables of “The Simply Luxurious Life” developed the concept and has this to say about it:
“Much like curating a capsule wardrobe for spring and fall, adhering to a capsule menu for regular weekly meals is a simple, but dependable way to eat well, always have on hand what you need and fuel your body efficiently.”
You can read more about it here:
It’s worth considering, especially if you find cooking more of a chore than a pleasure.
This is admittedly a tough one. We all have “difficult” people in our lives. Sometimes we can (and should) completely remove those people from our lives. Truly toxic people, especially those who are abusive, don’t deserve a place in a carefully curated life.
But what about those who are often negative, make us feel inadequate or always have drama following on their heels like a parade? If they are casual acquaintances, you may be able to avoid them but if they are family? Much harder! Only you can decide where to draw the line for your own well-being.
I’d also encourage you to actively seek out relationships which enrich your life. If you have enough loving and affirming relationships, those few irritating people in your life won’t matter as much.
This is a hot topic. Everywhere I turn, I encounter another article or podcast about digital detoxes. I personally know a number of people who have deleted their social media accounts entirely and are happier for it. It’s certainly worth considering if social media is making you miserable. On the other hand, social media can promote positive connections with others. Like anything else, it’s largely a matter of choices and balance.
A limited social media detox is a good idea for many of us. For the past few years I’ve given up my personal Facebook profile for Lent. I administer several pages and groups so I can’t leave Facebook entirely but for those several weeks of Lent each year, I don’t read anything on the newsfeed and don’t post on my page. I also try to do shorter periods of social media detox once in awhile.
One thing I’ve also been doing recently is evaluating who I follow and what I consume online. I’ve unfollowed a lot of Facebook pages and Instagram accounts. I’ve deleted many blogs and news sources from my Feedly account. I don’t spend as much time on Twitter but I plan to begin going through the people I follow there, too.
After you’ve eliminated what no longer serves you, consider searching out some positive people or pages to follow. Curation isn’t just elimination; it’s adding what feeds your soul.
Think about the experiences which have enriched your life. Not just the big things but those small moments, too.
I love to play the piano, have afternoon tea, listen to vinyl records on our stereo, go to the movies, curl up with a good book, and stargaze in our backyard. These are all small pleasures that require little more than time and planning.
Consider the things that bring you pleasure and intentionally make time for them.
We are responsible for the life we live. We can thoughtlessly trudge through each day or we can live intentionally. I suggest the latter.