Endeavor to live so that when you die even the undertaker will be sorry. –Mark Twain
I came across an article by John C. Maxwell, What are you doing with this gift of life? [Success Magazine] where the author highlights what he believes makes his life useful (read article). The following paragraph from the article made me laugh since I spent last week with 30 teens–many that expressed in no uncertain terms that they were in a hurry (we start young):
…first I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. Then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could return to work. Then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying and suddenly realize I forgot to live…”
You get the picture. Many of us would confess we’ve are fully indoctrinated and driven by ours and others “To-Do”, “Honey-Do”, “Gotta Do” “Should Do” “Plan To Do” lists. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for setting worthwhile goals and managing one’s time wisely (I recommended reading – Brian Johnson’s book review on: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; then go buy the book). However, in our over scheduled, over committed and over worked lives–are we choosing to live in the moment–or are we choosing to race through our life driven by our to-do lists? Maybe we should consider adding the question “What makes my life meaningful”? to our to-do list. (Go ahead, write the question down at the top of your to-do list).
Ironically, most of us are too busy “dealing with life” to actually spend any time considering “how we’re living our life.” As humans, we are creatures of habits which create our comfort zones. Until something threatens our livelihood, identity or well being–a bankruptcy, job loss, divorce (insert your biggest fear of failure) or heart attack–we’ll typically remain in our comfort zone despite if it is good or bad; fulfilling or unfulfilling place for us.
Looking for a way to jump start a new beginning? Here’s 5 ways you can make room to begin living your ideal life:
- Define what and who is important? Right now…in 5 years? Take the time to reflect on what you want to accomplish, the relationships you want to nurture and what you want to invest your time in (add them to your to-do list underneath the question you just noted).
- Reexamine and reduce your commitments/to do list. Seriously, if we deduct time for sleeping and working (most of us have to do both)….how many commitments, projects and errands can you do a day–beyond the items listed in item 1 above?
- Indulge daily in simple pleasures. Whether writing a love note (to yourself or someone special), enjoying a tasty treat (in San Diego…check out San Diego Desserts—to-die-for) or a totally new experience. Routinely enjoying a simple pleasure daily goes a long way towards making life more…enjoyable (add it to your to-do list if you must).
- Schedule “me time” each day. Whether you choose to spend this time in solitude, meditation or enjoying a walk, workout or healthy meal–make this time about you–something that brings you joy, rejuvenation or serenity. You may also want to use this time to practice being fully present (see below).
- Slow down and practice being present. Choose to focus and do one task at a time (I know…moms across the country are going to revolt). But at least, consider eating slower, driving slower, breathing deeper and slower…heck…if nothing else, just breathe slow and deep where you are at any moment
Just remind yourself– its your life. Live large. Be free. Now. Before your to-do list takes on a life of its own.
Looking forward to your own tips on how to Live LARGE.
“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon–instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” –Dale Carnegie