My Actual Life

Today is a different kind of post. It’s a book review!

I love words. I love to write words, and I love to read words. Recently, I read some pretty terrific words, so I thought I’d share with you!

Based upon the recommendation of a good friend, I read the book, Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me, by Alexandra Kuykendall.

This was the perfect book for me right now as my thoughts tend toward the future. I needed a reminder to… well… do exactly what Alexandra described: relish what’s right in front me!

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Truthfully, I loved the book.

Alexandra began by describing her predicament as a typically busy working mother of four young girls. She realized, as her oldest daughter was venturing into middle school, that she wanted to be more intentional with her life. So, she embarked on an experiment.

Her experiment tackled one area of her life each month for nine months. As a notorious starter-not-finisher, one area a month seemed doable to me. Good start, right?

She began each chapter by describing The Need (the reason for the experiment), The Experiment itself, and then her Actual Approach. What I loved most about Alexandra’s writing was her candid journal-style self-evaluation as each experiment month progressed. She didn’t spout a bunch of theoretical ways I could make my life oh-so-much-better. She simply shared her journey – victories, failures, and all – and invited me to experiment right along side her.

Each chapter concluded with what she learned, practices she’ll continue, and some questions for reflection. Simple, concise, applicable. Just my cup of tea.

The other thing I appreciated so much about Alexandra’s writing was her constant effort to adapt suggestions into her Actual Life. Systems do not work without a system-keeper who is ready to keep the systems. (I am rarely ready to keep a system.)

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Does this look like the face of a system-keeper?

Let’s just be real.

If something doesn’t flow seamlessly and almost effortlessly into my actual life, it will become a flash in the pan idea that expires before the next diaper change (i.e. 15 minutes). But Alexandra’s experiments are actually pretty doable! From moments of quiet to time with others, from household organization to meal planning, she touches on it all. Real, actual needs from her real, actual life. Brilliant.

Takeaways:

  1. Do what only you can do. Her mantra and now mine. (I don’t think she even takes credit for that one, but she just applies it so well!)
  2. Mornings. Not my favorite, but so important for my actual life. She writes a lot about how much stress was relieved by a little bit of thoughtful foresight. Which, duh, right? But her personal experiences are compelling and fun to read.
  3. This is now! We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. We just aren’t. I’m so guilty of living with the “season of life” mentality. I think, There will be a season to travel, write, build relationships, etc., but right now my  life is just too crazy. Nope. No more. This is my now time.

 “I don’t know that there will be a season for writing when my kids are older. I don’t know where I’ll be or where they’ll be in five or ten years. I can do my best to make plans, but truly, if I was made to do something I must figure out a way to do that something now, even if a little at a time.” – Loving My Actual Life

So pick up the book! It’s a great read – quick and easy. I’m not getting any kind of affiliate kickback or anything, I just think you’ll like it! 🙂

Let me know if you read it and what you think!

 

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