Ease into 50 with grace and calm, not distraction

The most dangerous items on your to-do list are the ones that look like opportunities, but are actually distractions.”

James Clear wrote that in one of his weekly Newsletters at the end of 2019.  It struck me as such a simple, yet very important distinction.

And it stuck with me.

It stuck with me so much so that in the new year, one thing I vowed to be more aware of are distractions. Not just the things on my to-do list that look important but really only serve to keep me busy, and not productive. But also the things in my head, the stuff in my home, and yes, even the people in my life.  I want to quiet all the noise and be able to see more clearly when something is a distraction.

I want to more easily recognize when something serves my higher good. And disregard what doesn’t.

When I turned 50, just 12 days after 2020 began I also vowed to ease into everything this year. I feel tired of things being fast, busy, important, and heavy. It seems things feel that way often. And I know a shift in thinking can change it.

The word “ease” literally came to my mind the weekend before my birthday. I just keep thinking about actually turning 50, and the size of that milestone, what it carries with it for me. And I kept saying to myself, “just ease into it; ease into everything.”  From there I couldn’t shake that mantra, or the comforting way it made me feel.

It was a clear message actually, that all the movement and noise – good and bad – of the past year didn’t have to continue in order for me to feel or be successful.

Or happy.

Or fulfilled.

In fact, it feels like the opposite is true.  When I do things more slowly – deliberately – everything comes into focus more clearly. And I will add more quickly. Which is funny because I think it sounds oxymoronic to say slowing down gets you anything more quickly. But in fact, it does.

Slowing down and easing in are the same thing for me. What they mean is that instead of rushing to schedule or do or connect with the next “thing” (whatever that thing/person might be) I have permission to enter quietly.  Like a very soft, warm breeze on an early summer day.

It says shhh…keep it slow and steady. And instantly my body responds with calm.

To help me embrace this ease I have reset my morning routine.  I wake and do my morning pages and they set the tone of the day for me. They allow me to empty onto the pages (that no one will see) whatever comes to mind. It’s cathartic actually. And I end them with some affirmations and positive intentions written as if they have already happened. It’s a way of visualizing what you see for your life. And it’s a powerful way to will it to actually happen.

And then, instead of going right to the next thing, I find myself easing into what that might be.

That is a new thing for me, being an over-achiever and all. And if I am being honest, which I always am, I am surprisingly not finding it particularly difficult to do.

It’s amazing what you learn about who you can be when you just slow down, and ease into things.

I haven’t always been accepting of letting things go, or more so, really being present with the present. My type-A-need-control personality has always struggled a bit to be present with what is instead of looking anxiously ahead to what is coming next. Intellectually, and as I have gotten older, I can see that what comes next is yet another opportunity to be still. To be present with what is and not fall into the cycle of anticipating what comes next.

“Being present” sounds so cliche. It is this catch phrase you hear over and over, all the time. But sometimes, I think I hear it over and over because it is a lesson I need to learn. It is a lesson I need to share with others, as well, that finding the present and really living in it has grand benefits.

In fact, what I have learned through my experience – all 50 years of it – is that always jumping to the next thing, means losing.  You simply miss what is happening now, and when you get to what is next, you miss that too.

It’s an endless cycle and it is no great way to live.

I have reinvigorated my daily systems so I can find the present, not get stuck in that endless cycle of looking too far ahead. Or jumping to the next thing. I want to be productive. For me, there is no better method to recognize and remove distractions, and be productive, than the Ivy Lee Method.  {I thank James Clear once again for introducing this to me.}

This method isn’t rocket-science. It is quite genius though!  The basic premise is to focus on what it is you want to accomplish in a day and number those tasks, projects, to-dos. Start with number one. And move to task two only when you have completed number one.  See that? No jumping ahead. Just staying present.

You can put whatever you want on your list – just no more than six items. I prefer them to be things that will move more forward in life, in work, and leave me feeling accomplished.

When you set your focus on what matters to you, what feels important to accomplish, you can more easily reduce – if not remove – distractions.

I have found that planning the day in this way keeps me focused. It grounds me. And it makes me feel as though what I am doing, and how I am doing it, actually has an impact.

What I do, and how I do it, has more meaning.


I am present, and aware of the present. And I am aware of what pulls me from being present. I ease into things and because of it my actions are more deliberate. And the bottom line is that the deliberateness of my actions allows me to recognize if I get do get pulled in to distraction – {Hello Facebook} – and get back on track.

50 has changed me – for the better, of course. It has forced me to more closely ask questions of myself about how I am living my life now. And how that living affects my end of life, what I will be remembered for. What is it that I want accomplished?

Author Bertrand Russell wrote this at age 81 about growing old (he went on to live another 16 years!):

“An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.

The person who, in old age, can see life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he or she cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome.

I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible has been done.”

I think, as always, that now is the time to do what is possible. To recognize distractions and stressors, the people, thoughts and things that pull you away from connecting and loving and being in a way that will leave you feeling content in the life you have lived.

It is time to focus on opportunities to grow, and release the distractions that keep you from doing that.  Doing so allows you to make room for the creation of your life. You deserve to create and live a life you love.

50 is a big year and one I feel blessed to have reached.  I continue to ease into it because I see the value in standing stiller, feeling the ground below me, daily.

And taking in the opportunities that present themselves with grace and calm.


If you are interested in receiving weekly inspiration and information about creating and living a life you love, subscribe to receive my Newsletter. The goal of the Newsletter is to give you the opportunity on your own time to read about the ways you can live your life with more meaning, productivity, simplicity, and fun. It connects you to me more deliberately. And for subscribing you will get a little gift – one you can actually use. You will receive my Fundamental Facts on living life lite and organized. Follow this link to easily subscribe.

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