We can see the impact of editing in our daily lives. From perfect selfies to perfect soundtracks, we can’t escape the ever-popular (or infamous) edit. For some, editing is a  matter of merely swiping a screen in one direction or another, but it involves incredible skill and precision for others. Despite its modern profile, editing is something that most of us have a lot of experience with in our daily lives. We donate clothes that no longer fit, delete invalid phone numbers, change jobs and hairstyles, update fashion choices, and learn to enjoy different kinds of music. The ‘edit’ is an ever-present part of life.

Other things in our lives require editing that don’t make the headlines. Habits, practices, and beliefs also require re-evaluation and editing from time-to-time. We tend to hold on to what is no longer healthy, valid, useful for two primary reasons: comfort and fear. Phrases like: “It’s always been this way,” “My (insert person) did it like this,” or “This is just who I am” are used to justify any resistance to change. Why is change so hard? We’ve heard it many times: we’re creatures of habit. What we know tends to be where we’re most comfortable, but that doesn’t mean it is what’s best for us.

Many years ago, I asked my mom for her pound cake recipe. My great-grandmother had given it to my great-aunt, who gave it to my mother, and in turn, she shared it with me. If you’ve ever made a pound cake, you know that it is very rich but made from pretty simple ingredients—butter, eggs, sugar, flour, etc. The recipe my mother shared with me required five cups of sugar. Five! That’s a lot of sugar. I immediately reduced it to three cups, which is still a lot, but far less than the original. Over the years, that amount has been reduced even further with no impact on the cake’s flavor. I have no idea why the recipe initially required so much sugar. Maybe the effect of excess sugar on one’s health was unknown in my great-grandmother’s era. Whatever the reason, I use an edited version of the recipe now.  It’s still a fantastic cake, but it contains far less sugar.

Periodically editing parts of our lives is not only necessary but helpful. Maybe you used to eat whatever and whenever you wanted, but now your body requires some limits. Perhaps you were once free to spend wildly on whatever you chose, but now your responsibilities require a budget and planning. If you were like me and could hit the snooze button several times before bouncing out of bed in the morning and have found it to be anxiety-inducing now, an edit is probably in order. As time and knowledge move us through life, managing self and life requires regular maintenance. Not unlike a vehicle, website, or budget, our habits and choices require periodic evaluation.

Only you can evaluate what is or is not essential to the life you have right now. Edit what isn’t crucial or what no longer works. It is sometimes difficult to sit quietly and listen to the inner voice that guides us because life’s noise is so loud. I encourage you to find the time and a place to let your inner voice reign. When you do, life will begin to look more like one that has been custom-made for you.

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The PlaygroundThe Edit