Opt Out and Reclaim Your Life
I opted out and my life got better.
My schedule was full of responsibilities. I had a bunch of social commitments I didn’t want to attend. My email inbox was loaded with stuff like offers from TV streaming companies, auto loan companies and credit cards. My home mailbox was filled with hardcopies of the same stuff. I also subscribed to a bunch of services that I didn’t need. In my quest to get after life, my list of goals kept growing and many weren’t essential. When acquaintances, non-profits or other entities asked for help I almost always said yes…and while all this was going on I was having health complications. My body was breaking down and I was losing a bit more of my mobility. What was once something easy for me to do, now became more difficult. This is life, if we’re lucky to live long enough then our bodies will break down, although mine a bit earlier than others. I definitely needed to change some things.
As the tasks stacked up, why couldn’t I just say no? I often said yes because I felt obligated. I had this belief system of helping even if helping negatively impacted me and I didn’t want to disappoint others. I remember times when I was balancing a career, parenting, maintaining a household, training for events, building a platform, volunteering or promoting various organizations and at the same time I am hearing horrifying predictions from doctors about my health, yet I would still take on more responsibilities. I needed to learn how to opt out.
Opting out is not something new, but it’s an idea I didn’t incorporate enough in my life. To me, opting out means to choose not to participate.
This idea is used by companies such as the outdoor gear and brand co-op REI where they close their doors on Black Friday and encourage customers to #optoutside instead of participating in Black Friday shopping.
Similarly, opting out is romanticized in books such as Henry David Thoreau’s Walden where he opts out of society and moves to the woods to live deliberately and focus on the essentials.
You too can opt out of many things and this includes social commitments, auto ownership, sporting events, relationships, volunteering, streaming packages, spending time on social media and more.
I’ve received many benefits from opting out and these include:
- Health — A full calendar of commitments made me feel overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed didn’t help my mental health and my less than optimal mental health didn’t help my physical health. By opting out of various commitments I felt less overwhelmed and healthier.
- Time — By opting out of commitments, by not having to sort through trivial stuff like clutter, apps, and other stuff, I have now gained more time and energy. By having more time I now focus on the things I find essential. This includes spending time with my family, creating, and adventuring outside. Time and energy are precious resources.
- Money — By opting out of things such as streaming packages, social commitments, accumulation of more items, I am spending less. I don’t stress as much about funds because I am spending less.
- Purpose — By eliminating non-essential tasks and items, I now have time and energy to define, redefine and focus on my purpose. By focusing on my purpose I feel really fulfilled with my life.
I’ve opted out of many things and this includes five things anyone can opt out of today.
- Social Commitments — Eliminate the social commitments that don’t bring value to your life. Avoid the barbeques, coffee time and whatever. If you aren’t finding value, opt out. Especially opt out if you believe these commitments are either impacting you negatively or taking productive time away from focusing on the essential.
- Online Activity — Opt out of Facebook groups, Facebook pages. Clubhouse, texting groups and swiping through tiktok. Social media is a useful tool but if you feel like social media is negatively impacting you, then opt out.
- Debt — You may not be able to eliminate your current debt, but you can likely eliminate accumulating more. Each time you use a loan to purchase an item, you’re committing to spend your time and energy to pay off this loan. What is your time and energy worth to you?
- Accumulating More — Consider not buying more stuff. If you do need to buy something, then consider looking for sustainably sourced, high quality products that are built to last. Also, realize that you can just say no to accepting free stuff from others. The free stuff sucks anyways.
- Junk — You can opt out of receiving junk mail, maybe not all junk mail but you can make a dent. You can do this by registering with DMA Choice and for $2 they will place a hold on much of the junk mail you receive for a period of ten years. While you’re opting out of bringing in more junk then consider incorporating a decluttering system such as a packing party or another minimalist challenge.
So what do you think? Is opting out an idea worth incorporating in your life?
And just so you know, I just published several new true and transformative stories here on This is a True Story Podcast. These stories have brought value to my life and have the potential to impact you.
If you're interested in listening to Henry David Thoreau's Walden on audible using my affiliate link that may pay a commission to offset hosting fees then select HERE.