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Making choices toward a happier and less hectic existence

Sometimes the rhythm of life gets a little out of whack.

Small dog at 5 a.m.

Why aren’t we in bed at 5 a.m.?

That happened to me over the past few days, and it’s why I had to take a three-day break from blogging. Although I’ve never come right out and said so, my goal for Wayward Dogs is to post new content a minimum of five days a week. Seven would be fantastic. (Some weeks that actually happens.)

Unfortunately, such bold ambition kind of goes against my other current goal of streamlining my life and dropping any responsibilities that I just don’t have time for – with the ultimate hope of gaining more time to spend relaxing with Zach and the dogs, exercising or hanging out with friends.

This is a topic I expect to be thinking about quite a bit more in the next few days, while I’m reading Happier at Home, author and blogger Gretchen Rubin‘s follow-up to her inspirational bestseller The Happiness Project.

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

We could all be a little happier, couldn’t we?

Although she lives in New York City, Gretchen is from Kansas City and will be back in a town for a reading later this month.

Interviewing her by phone was one of the tasks I accomplished over the weekend. Gretchen is the subject of a freelance article I’m writing for a local publication.

In addition to blogging for myself and for my employers, I write stories on a variety of topics for magazines, newspapers and other websites pretty often. Because I like writing so much, this is fun for me – and it helps me put a little extra money in the bank.

But freelance writing is time-consuming and effectively means that I spend extra hours each week “working.” Although I don’t see myself ever giving up freelance writing, it’s a point I have to remember whenever I review my life and consider which commitments I can step away from.

As a chronic overcommitter, it’s difficult for me to say no or disengage from any cause or activity I believe in or enjoy.

But one of the life truths I’m getting familiar with in my 30th year is that when you stretch yourself too thin you can’t cover any of your bases very well. (Case in point: my neglected garden.)

It will take a while for me to figure out all of the ways I can lessen my load, but a couple things will be toned down soon.

December marks the end of my two-year term as an executive board member for the Thomas Hart Benton Group of the Sierra Club.

I intend to still participate in Sierra Club activities, such as serving lemonade at the annual Santa Caligon Days festival in Independence, Missouri (which I did over Labor Day weekend).

Thomas Hart Benton Group of the Sierra Club at Santa Caligon Days

Want some fresh squeezed lemonade?

But I have to be honest about the fact that I don’t have time to be a great leader for the organization right now.

Other areas where I’ll be backing off: gardening and dog fostering.

It’s safe to say that Wayward House will always be growing fun things in pots and in the ground. But next year’s garden will certainly be smaller in scope and, ideally, easier to maintain.

We also intend to be a two-dog household, at least for a while, after Charlie Machete finds his real forever home.

To that end, he attended another Midwest Adopt-a-Bull adoption event over the weekend. No one showed much interest in him, but he did get to meet the man who loves pit bulls for the first time in real life.

Charlie Machete in a cage.

Adopt me?

Midwest Adopt-a-Bull’s founder Mike Kitchens agreed that Charlie Machete is a very handsome boy who just needs to work on feeling comfortable in a crate. By the end of the event, my foster dog was as big of a fan of Mike as I am, and he showed it by covering the man in friendly pit bull/lab/chow kisses.

Even though Charlie Machete is likely to be our last foster project for a while, I do plan to always contribute to the animal rescue movement in other ways – by promoting adoptable animals and worthy organizations on this blog and by stepping up in the many small ways that can make a huge difference (walking shelter dogs, assisting with transports and fundraising).

I know there are other things I can do to streamline my life to ensure I’m giving my best to every project and relationship in which I’m involved. I’ll be sure to share as this endeavor unfolds.

Have you ever made a point to simplify your life? What did you cut out? What other advice do you have for me?

Want to adopt Charlie Machete? Apply to make him yours through Midwest Adopt-a-Bull

black dog on a walk

Best. Running. Partner. Ever.

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