Getting the most out of life
Sometimes life can seem like the same old thing. You’re born. You pay taxes. You die. You go to work eight hours a day. You commute back and forth. You go to sleep. And you do this same thing for 30-40 years.
It may seem boring and monotonous but life was not designed for boredom and monotony. Now back in the day this would have been ok. You would have gotten married at 14 or 16. You would have already started backbreaking work on a farm or in a mine and died around 30 or 40. Life was filled with suffering but at least it wasn’t prolonged suffering. Studies show that Americans are living longer and if we are living longer let’s not waste all that time being bored and unsatisfied. Here is how you can get the most out of life:
Appreciate what u have
This is one area where we can miss out the most. We do not enjoy the things that we already have. Start with the basic essentials to life. Like breathing. This is why I love breathing meditation or breath prayer. It brings you back to the essence of what it means to be alive. Today if you do not have a penny to your name or any friends to call on the one thing you do have is life.
On top of that if you are in the United States you have more than most everyone in the world. The problem is that as much as we are privileged in this country we do not enjoy our lives. We are always grasping for something more. I can remember being in Ethiopia and noticing that many of the poorest people there were the most happy. They may not have had running water but they had joy because appreciated what they had: family, friends, breath in their lungs. Life can be taken for granted so much that we forget to really live. Appreciate what u have. Life itself.
Know what you want
Have you ever been to a restaurant and didn’t know what to order? There are so many choices on the menu nowadays that it’s hard to know what to choose. You usually end up getting something that is less than satisfactory. Why? Because you didn’t go in with a definite purpose and plan to eat a specific thing. Whatever you ordered didn’t measure up because you really didn’t want it in the first place.
By knowing what we want we bypass all the substitutes for happiness and satisfaction. Many of these things are false expectations given to us by the media or our culture.There are many who have said they climbed the ladder of success only to realize they were on the wrong wall. If you are killing yourself, ruining your relationships, and not enjoying the time God has given you on this green earth chasing after an elusive dream of more money, power, fame or just plain more it helps to know whether it is really what you want. For most people in the world (about 99%) it is not worth it. If you talk to many of the most successful and satisfied people in the world you will find out that they are successful and satisfied not by chasing after those things mentioned above but by being themselves and pursuing their passion that burns in their heart. The people who get the most out of life are the ones who truly know what they want out of life.
One thing that I have noticed over the years is that the people who are the most “mature” are oftentimes the most unhappy. It is sad to see people become stuffy and sad because they think it is an inevitable process of aging. Like the song says “Age aint nothin but a number” and the people who I have seen get the most out of life do not relegate themselves to acting a certain age. Now don’t get me wrong. They are not naive or irresponsible. I am not talking about the 56 year old lady up in the club and droppin it like it’s hot (or lettin it down like it’s lukewarm). No! That’s not being childlike. That’s just being unaware of how ridiculous you look. I am talking about something much more sublime like embracing the world as a child. When we are filled with childlike awe and wonder we can extract joy from the simple things in life and shake off those things that weigh us down. Have you ever notice children seem to play with some of the strangest things like cardboard or cut up pieces of carpet? It’s because the have a sense of wonder about the world around them. Maybe we should take a cue.
False expectations can make life unsatisfactory. Part of this is due to ideas from our culture and our families. One of those ideas is that the goal of life is safety and security. Most commercials and sitcoms thrive off of appealing to the masses with this deep seated yet misdirected desire. These things are illusory and will always escape us. Many folks thought they had safety and security before the 2008 recession/depression. That idea was torn down fast when they had to leave their homes or were laid off from their jobs. There is no ultimate safety and security. A good job will not give you security. A nice comfy neighborhood will not give you safety. This is life: Anything can happen! Why chase after a dream that will never materialize?
Newsflash: Life is not a quiet green meadow! Life is not a less smiley faced version of Pleasantville! It is a roller coaster ride! it is a trip through the jungle with wild animals lurking behind every corner. Some folks would say that is what they want to avoid and others would say that is what they want to step into. Why? Because the moment you realize life is not intended to give you safety, comfort, or security is the moment you really start living!When it comes to life. Think adventure!!! You were not made for a peaceful boat ride in a stream. You were made to weather life’s storms and waves! Think adventure and life gets exciting and satisfying!
How do you take advantage of the life you’ve been given?