My 2020 Guide to Living a More Beautiful Life // Trina O’Gorman

My 2020 Guide to Living a More Beautiful Life // Trina O’Gorman

For me, the past decade was full of twists and turns. Many were amazing and beautiful. Some were unexpected, difficult, and tragic. It sounds like a description of our national collective life and our global, international life as well. We have triumphed and we have suffered, and our fight for goodness and peace will and must continue. When I stop and think of what I might change, if I could, and how I might approach life differently in the future, based on what I now know, I came up with a rather short, but powerful list. I don’t think of this as a list of things that we should do, but as a way that we might be so that we can show up in the world in positive proactive and impactful ways. 

  1. See Time as a Precious Gift | Our time may be our most valuable commodity. What we do in the moments we have, will most certainly define our lives and the impact we have on the lives of others. Certainly, what we choose to do, or not do, our action or inaction, makes a difference, and that requires choices and decisions. But I think simply how we show up in the world is a choice and a decision, as well. This means we have a lot of choices and a lot of decisions to make, each and every single day. Perhaps, we should not see them as chores, tasks or things to do, to be checked off of a list, so that we may feel a sense of accomplishment, but rather, we should see them as the miracles, opportunities, and privileges that they are so that we can be grateful for each of them. The biggest lesson I can gather from my experiences and my notebook is that time is the most invaluable thing we have. 

  2. Make Your Well-Being a Priority | Our bodies and our minds enable us to function in this world. The better shape they are in, the better we can function. We are rewarded in countless ways when we take good care of ourselves. We can often avoid complications, even avoid some hereditary and genetic pitfalls. I know that I feel better when I take good care of myself, eat healthy foods, exercise, live a fit lifestyle, and address stress to keep it at a minimum. This keeps my energy and mood levels high, enabling me to not only enjoy my own life but to have the energy and wherewithal to connect and positively impact the lives of others. The more that I can do to make the world a better place, by doing whatever I can to foster positive change and growth, the happier I feel. This creates an ongoing cascade of positivity and good energy in my life, which I like to think ripples out into the world. 

  3. Be Active and LIVE Your Life. | Planning, dreaming, and reflecting are things that I do every single day. They are processes that help me keep my life on track and gather meaning from my life experiences. But at the end of the day, what I DO is what matters the most. The bottom line is that how you show up in the world after all of the dreaming and planning is ultimately what will matter. Will you be positive? Hopeful? Helpful? Of value? Will you make the lives of others easier, instead of more challenging? Sometimes this is going to mean stepping outside of your safe space, your comfort zone. You have to often take risks to impact change in your life and the lives of people and issues you care about. You are going to make progress, but you will also surely make mistakes. That’s how you learn and that’s how you grow. 

  4. Let Go of the “What’s In It for Me” Mentality | What do you bring to the world in your pursuits? What do you bring to the table in your relationship? I’ve learned to worry about how I am loving others rather than how I am being loved, and this shift has made all of the difference. To endeavor to show up as my best self, to function in a way that is caring and thoughtful, outwardly focused rather than inwardly focused means that I am rarely, if ever, disappointed. I am actively being all that I want to be when I move through the world and through the lives of others. When this is your default, your way of being, you don’t seek appreciation or reciprocation. You give because you want to give and not to receive something in return. You love because you are loving, not to be loved in return. This is living an abundant life. There is no scarcity of love in your life when you live that way. 

  5. Stop Judging and Blaming Others and Take Responsibility for Yourself | I used to spend a lot of time trying to figure out why people did the things they did -- obviously, things I found hurtful or insulting or frustrating. For whatever reason, the actions of others would impact my life greatly, and for my own comfort, I would want them to stop whatever the behavior was. I’d judge them, label them, analyze them, feel some sort of way about them. But when we recognize that we are responsible for our own behavior and no one else’s behavior, we can stop judging others and stop expecting people to behave or do the things we think they should do. We are responsible for our own actions and typically we feel strongly about our reasons for behaving in the ways we behave. So does everyone else. Most people are doing the best they can. 

  6. Strive for Financial Discipline | I can remember the lean and dark years like it was yesterday. There were days I would be afraid that I would not have enough money to feed us well until I got another paycheck. I was living fist to cuff, as they say, paycheck to paycheck. And I can remember feeling so guilty. I’d beat myself up for allowing myself to be in a situation in which I was financially dependent on someone who didn’t have my best interests at heart and that this decision meant that my children would be impacted. Money cannot buy happiness, or so they say, but it can ensure that essential needs are met and that is critical. Poverty and scarcity are stressful. In a time when we are inundated with the temptations to want more and buy more, it’s hard to stay financially disciplined. But discipline is what helps us protect our values and stability is a value worth protecting. 

  7. Avoid Unnecessary Yearning | I want, I want, I want. It’s like the whine of a toddler, and yet our culture is designed to keep us in this space. We want the new spring colors, the updated version, the limited edition, the big one, the little one, the one that is going to finally suit our needs. Unfortunately, the feeling of satisfaction that we feel, when we get what we want, is short-lived. Before long, we are on to wanting the next thing to satisfy the next desire. Some of us never feel satisfied or happy or fulfilled. Being satisfied and grateful is a wonderful feeling. This is not to say that we should be hungry for more. But perhaps, the “more” should be the value we bring to the world rather than the unnecessary “stuff” we can buy. That kind of hunger driven by purpose is motivating. The kind of hunger driven by greed and consumption is soul-sucking

  8. Be Forgiving | I used to think it was impossible to forgive people for certain things, for everything. To me, there were some things that I had declared unforgivable. When I think about it. I’m pretty sure I still feel that way. But the bar has shifted. When I think about the forgiveness I might struggle with, I can only be grateful that none of those heinous things have never happened to me. I’ve been party to some challenging events and life struggles, but nothing so horrific that I would deem it unforgivable. This kind of emotional maturity came after years of having to take a good long look at myself and some of the bad things I have done -- things that I did when I was angry, or when I thought I was protecting myself. Things that I did when I thought I was being mistreated and wanted the other person to feel my pain or when I didn’t know I could do better. In order to make room for growth, I’ve had to forgive myself. But I am no better or different than any other human being on this earth. If I want forgiveness and consider myself worthy of forgiveness, then I must treat others with the same compassion. We are all fallible.

  9. Respect Boundaries | In the same breath that I encourage myself and others to extend forgiveness, I also advise that I/you/we protect our boundaries. My life and time and the people I love are precious, and whether someone’s toxicity or negativity seems intentional or unintentional, I am under no obligation to tolerate it or allow it in my life. I don’t have to be mean or aggressive or hurtful when I am protecting my boundaries. It is not necessary for me to change who I am or sacrifice my own integrity, but I feel that I am obligated to protect my boundaries. Everyone’s life and well-being are precious of great value, including my own. A lot of times our resentments and deep wounds are caused when we stay too long in relationships that are injurious when we have the means to go. Know when enough is enough, and then be graceful and compassionate in your departure. 

  10. Embrace Play | I am such a serious person. I think my seriousness may be a result of some of the trauma I have experienced. It is a defense and a way of controlling things so that I feel safer. Levity and playfulness can feel like time-wasters. So, it takes courage for me to just be, without being productive or high achieving or poised. These days, I am discovering the importance of laughter and lightness or joy and playfulness. I am a work in progress. But I find that when we take ourselves too seriously, we miss out on the art, the music, the laughter, the joy, and the whimsy of life. These things provide us with a necessary break and allow our bodies to release chemicals that can be good for us.

This “guide” isn’t a checklist. All of these suggestions or tips might not apply to you. We are all different and we are all in different places in life. But it is my deep hope that some of the things that I have discovered will enable you to look at your own life and find ways in which you can allow more light to enter and more happiness to emerge. I’m wishing you an extraordinary start to this new decade. Happy 2020!


1 comment

  • Kristine : January 19, 2020
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    Thanks for sharing your “guide”. I do agree with what you have in your list and I think you pointed an important point. The “Unnecessary yearning” especially at this age of non stop change in technology. We should always ask ourself do we really need it or I just want it to fill a void be it a gadget, food, material things and even relationship. We should learn to appreciate what we have, love them and take care of them.

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