New life scientist: what makes a happy life?

After months of reducing and making room in my life for the important things I’m at the next stage, finding the right balance of adding back in but this time with things that matter. 
It’s great to no longer be filling my time and space with physical stuff, but choosing what to put back in hasn’t been easy – fitting in friends, family, travel, cycling has been tough.

However, to be at the stage where I have the chance to think about my ideal life is a big step and exciting if not a bit daunting. When you try and find tips for a happy life there are so many different views that it can be quite dizzying: some tips are practical, some are spiritual, and some are plain weird.

Where do you start when trying to build the new life?

I’ve tried to become a ‘new life scientist’, conducting a few experiments to find the right formula for a happy life.

Science was never my strong point at school — the results of my early life experiments would back up this statement.

I know the new life we crave is simpler, balanced, and more intentional. But old habits die hard.

In the past when I set my mind on something I pursued it with a single-minded focus, ignoring everything else and burning myself out or sacrificing a chunk of my life to reach my goal.

When deciding on my exciting new path I fell into the same trap: I was so focused on creating the new life, I again missed the balance and am exhausted from trying to build this ‘new life’ without stuff.

For example I want to spend more time with friends so I go out two or three nights in a row seeing everyone. It’s not a surprise when I find myself burnt out and have to cancel seeing someone because I’m too tired or I go out anyway and I’m not my usual self. This can leave me feeling defeated and not living the life I set out to.

Old habits were really holding firm and my approach was all wrong. I had cleared my life and now my focus on the next step was about filling it again with people and experience instead of stuff, which can be just as tiring.

I have come to a realisation – rather than fill the space in my life I should embrace it. Similar to mindfulness; if you can’t get an obstacle out of your thoughts then focus on the obstacle instead. Having space to live my life was the initial goal and I should give myself time to adjust to this change and explore the opportunities it gives.

The results of the experiments are in: the empty space is what I was looking for all along.


4 thoughts on “New life scientist: what makes a happy life?

  1. It’s funny how we crave the physical space we create by decluttering but find it harder to know what to do with the social and intellectual space that we create if we stick to our minimalist principles. It is hard not to get over excited by having “space” and therefore filling every available minute of it. My wife and I schedule a screen free evening so that we don’t get overtaken by all the other things in life including life-maintenance, friends, family, work, etc. So it’s not so much screen free as free of everything but us time. It provides us with a useful check in with each other about where the balance in our schedule is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sooo with you on this! I did the same thing and over indulged in the meaningful and completely wore myself out. I retreated and wasn’t sure what to do. Quite by accident, I stumbled onto a book called “The Desire Map workbook” by Danielle LaPorte. I found it to have great insight regarding building your life deliberately around meaning and the feelings you want from the things you give your time and energy to. You might want to check it out, could be helpful 🙂 I Love the inspiration of your blog. Thank you for writing!


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