At some point in a person’s life, one asks the following questions:
1. Am I living my best life?
2. What do I need to do in order to live my best life?
Often times, the honest answer is ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I am too busy to think about that right now’.
Here’s the thing: there is no end to being busy.
Whichever phase of life you may be in, it only keeps getting busier. Some days I feel that my head is spinning with all things that need to be done, all the obligations I need to fulfill, the remaining tasks still on my to-do list. I find myself wishing there is more time to do things I actually want to do and not just things that have to be done. Then I wonder if there is more time, would I make use of it with something meaningful or just fill it with more business, ahem, busy-ness?
I was planning on pondering these thoughts in more detail at a later date. Then, some health issues caused me to reevaluate my life in a very real way. I found myself asking: could this be it, a finite future? The results of the tests let me breathe a sigh of relief that at least for now the future is still open to me. However, I found that something had changed within me. It was an acute awareness that my situation could change at any given moment. I felt an urgency to make some changes, to snap out of routine, and to really live my life. I made a promise to myself at that moment: to start making these changes now.
It is easy to fall into our various roles and forget who we are as individuals and the goals and dreams we once had. However, time doesn’t stop after we reach a certain point (fill in whatever applies to you here. Examples: start a job/get married/have kids/make more money/etc). These changes can be made at any time.
What really matters to you? If we are not actively prioritizing and reprioritizing goals, we can get sucked into cruise control mode, a comfortable complacency of our everyday routine. This leads to boredom, dissatisfaction, restlessness, and as the saying goes: same shit, different day. The hours in the day don’t change and neither do the responsibilities. However, the perspective on how to handle these demands can change.
At first it is difficult to let go of the extra, the fluff, all of which can become a security blanket. However, neither material items nor staying busy for busy sake defines you. In fact, those things can be the very causes of extra stress. So, why not free yourself from self-imposed stresses?
With this perspective, I try to declutter every few weeks: mentally, literally, and figuratively. There’s just not enough time to do things just for the sake of doing them. Now, I focus on mindful living, having enriching experiences, making time for self care, and being around the people who are important to me. And it feels liberating!
Each day is a new opportunity to live and not just exist. Each day is a new canvas to paint the story of your life according to you. Living intentionally means making the most of your life, especially the small moments that make up each day because the choices you make today will affect your tomorrow.
Approach your life with curiosity and wonder. Make things a fun experience. Take the time to figure out who you are, what adds joy and value to your life, and what you want out of your life. Then, make those things a priority for you and your family.
There is a difference between just sitting there versus actually being mentally and emotionally there as well. Ask anyone whose love language is quality time that a person fiddling on their phone and listening isn’t really listening as much as just going through the motions. Being tired or parental burnout mode can take a toll on being present so be aware of it.
We are so good at multitasking the aspects of our life that we often forget to turn that skill off. So, what is great at work for efficiency continues into our home life and we miss out on great opportunities to connect and live. Adults and children alike sense when someone is not fully present.
Make a conscious effort to fully participate when around friends and family. Time spent with others is much better when we fully engage, ask thoughtful questions, stay present in the moment. It really does transform everyday interactions to quality experiences.
Step Out of your Comfort Zone
Have you achieved everything you have wanted to do so far?
Are there things on your bucket list that you want to do but for whatever reason haven’t been able to get to them yet?
What is holding you back?
Ever since my shift in perspective, I am asking myself more of these questions to evaluate, prioritize, and energize myself. I have stopped making excuses to myself to not do things I want to do, especially things that get me out of my comfort zone. It can be anything from learning that foreign language you have wanted to learn, traveling more, learning to cook, starting a new skill, playing an instrument, etc.
You don’t need a drastic life changing event to occur to start living your best life. Anyone can do it. If there are things you have been procrastinating or if you feel in a rut or just want to cross off things from the bucket list, the time to make those changes is now.
This moment is yours.