curate life for comfort and joy

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One delight of having choices is the freedom to curate my life. I am the one to

select, organize, and look after the items in a collection or exhibition.” Oxford Dictionary

Staying true to my December post, this process is informed by comfort and joy. For me, to curate means I decide what goes, what stays, and just how to execute the going and staying. In other words, I am the artistic director of my domain. While there are many areas of life that thrive with thoughtful curation — I made that word up — three will serve for now. One personal, one cooperative, and one public.

personal: shoes

Thrifting is great for finding many treasures including a stunning variety of shoes. Espadrilles, loafers, pumps, clogs, boots, sandals. But I learned the hard way that someone else’s like-new-too-cute-matches-my-style shoes are not a bargain. Ever. I have a slight bunion to prove it.

all of my shoes

all my shoes

About eight years ago I bought my first pair of good shoes. I wore them all day, looked funky-hip, and felt like dancing after a busy day on my feet. I’m on my third pair of Keen sandals (at far left in the pic above) and have worn them in Jordan, Turkey, Ethiopia, as well as white-water rafting in the Pacific Northwest. My notion of style is unique and not everyone thinks Keen sandals reek chic, but their selection of happy colors and high arch support suit me just fine, thank you. What a concept: happy feet more — hey, why not ALL — of the time. Once I met comfort I pitched a few pairs of downright hurtful shoes. Gradually, I stopped looking at the shoe rack at Goodwill. Slowly, I retired shoes that didn’t meet my new standard of comfort and joy.

Now I save up and purchase one wonderful pair of shoes a year to round out my collection or replace a worn out pair. Happy feet: check.

Unless you have heaps of decision-making-stamina and money for power-shopping, replacing every pair of ouch-y shoes with well-made comfort doesn’t happen in an afternoon. But if you relish quick results, consider the following…

cooperative: the fridge

With both of our progeny off to college, Ken and I find our interaction with food altered. A five-pound bag of potatoes sprouts before becoming baked, oven-fried, or mashed. Oh, well. More mysterious: I never use Worcestershire sauce but we have a half-full bottle. The jar of applesauce is where I left it and still full. How do I know? I cleaned out the fridge. With stunning ease and brilliant executive prowess I evicted about 40% of the chilled inhabitants. So long, congealed chocolate syrup. Farewell, Thai left-overs. Auf wiedersehen, wilted arugula. And just because a food item keeps, does that mean I want to eat it? A good refrigerator’s chill level does wonders, but how much food “freshness” is chemically enhanced in ways King Tut would envy?

You may live alone, but your refrigerator holds food for yourself and others. I’ll bet you’re a gracious host. You offer chilled cider and tasty nibbles to peckish friends or hungry family members who swing by to chat or borrow the snow-blower. When you’re on your own, you enjoy the zen of stocked but uncluttered refrigerator shelves. Comfort and joy.

Wondering where to start? Any non-condiment over a week old gets the heave-ho! Ditto if you don’t recognize it, don’t remember when you got it, or know you wouldn’t offer it to your BFF for a snack right now.

Want to feel all kinds of righteous? Clear out the freezer too! Curate the cooperative space that is your refrigerator.

public: your social-network

Face to face is my favorite way to communicate. I listen to the sound of your voice. I watch your smile. I notice your pauses. These lush subtleties enrich and inform my understanding in profound ways. However, all of these are lost in texts, blogging, email, and status updates. That’s just the way it is. Which is why I curate what I write, post, share, and contribute with as much thought as possible.

I strive to sound like me — have an authentic, recognizable voice — all of the time.

A professor asked her college students, “What words would you like to have said about you at your memorial?” Trustworthy. Kind. A good listener. Hardworking. Cheerful. Have you chosen your list? Good. Now, when do you start living that reputation?

The reputation I’m building right now includes words like encouraging, kind, joyful, generous. Because of this —

I stubbornly ignore some issues in the wide-open wilds of social-network space.

I know how quickly my own opinion shifts when someone I considered thoughtful and reasoned posts a link resounding with political-pundit-like vitriol. And it feels a bit like having dirty water dumped over me when a frustrated friend chooses to vent expletive-riddled anger in their general status update. Dismayed by politics? Hurt by thoughtless bureaucracy? We all take turns.

Does broadcasting your negative feelings create something positive?

Not usually. Expressing frustration is healthy; let it out. Consider letting it go with someone who can sit beside you, listen, and hold your hand rather than letting loose on unsuspecting folks catching up on Facebook. And if you want me to know about it, let’s talk. If not face to face, voice to voice.

Because I want to live in a joyful world, some of my opinions are best shared face to face and some things I’m not qualified or interested in opening up on the huge platform that social media provide. This is one way I curate my very pubic presence for comfort and joy. Yours and mine.

Technology, like fire, is amazing and requires thoughtful use. For a positive current example, check out this pep talk by the winsome Kid President.

I want the path that leads to awesome. … I want to create something that will make the world awesome.” ~ Kid President

Me too! I don’t always succeed, but I strive for an online presence that sounds like the me I want to be.  I curate my life to make every day better. More comfort. More joy.

How do you curate your life for comfort and joy? Tell me in the comments below.

Did you find this article interesting? Please share.

When I wrote my choice list for 2013 I put it out there to honor the truths I’ve learned by “saying them out loud”.  This also created a little accountability because some readers see me face to face and ask me how I’m doing.  I mentioned choosing yoga and boom, I got an invitation to attend class. Because of that invitation I stretch and balance (and wobble) and do a decent downward dog twice a week.
Wondering what might happen next, this is the first of a mini-series on the charm and challenge of choices.

One Response to curate life for comfort and joy

  1. Leilani February 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    And, boom, I love having you at yoga. 🙂

    Tidings of comfort and joy. Curate, that’s a word I’ve grown to respect this last year or so. It’s such a good word.

    I curate our schedule. We’ve said no to the social pressure to put our kids in everything and give them a cookie cutter life. I keep our time wide-open, and do my best to only put in what is truly going to be best for us, collectively and individually.

    I curate our “junque” (as my grandma calls it). I am the one who brings stuff in and hauls stuff out. Kind of like a cat kneading a lap, making our stuff fit us and serve us instead of the other way around.

    Hooray for comfy shoes. I bought my first clark’s a year or so ago, and my first uggs. Big deal for a hand-me-down or pay less kind of girl. The bummer is that I decided that I wanted good shoes about the same time I decided I wanted colorful shoes. I’m still searching for a beautiful pair of red or bright yellow shoes that are well-made and comfortable.

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