Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.
In the last few Dailies I mentioned that some of us are going to have to cut back and live a little more frugally, I also suggested that that is not all bad. In fact having the opportunity to begin again is often a godsend as it provides us another chance to make new discoveries and sometimes even to find what we have been looking for all our lives. For some of us taking those first steps are not all that easy since it has been so long since we last had to move out of our comfort zone. I have been fortunate that the last ten or so years of my life have allowed me to find a new world filled with wonder and opportunity and I think you can too if you try.
A few years ago I copied an article on enriching your life written by Scott Young, a university student who planned on making the most out of his life. It offered a number of valuable suggestions on how we can find more than what we have now. Here is an edited version of what he wrote.
- Get a Hobby – Pick up a creative activity that doesn’t have any goals attached. This is something that you enjoy doing, but doesn’t have the looming deadlines, schedule or to-do lists that is common to your workplace.
- Learn a Skill – Learning can be incredibly enjoyable when there is no GPA, performance evaluations or letter grades. Try learning a new language, take up martial arts or learn public speaking.
- Store Opportunities – How often do you see a flyer for an event or activity, but dismiss it because you don’t have the time? My suggestion is to save those interesting activities so that you can apply them when you do have time.
- Write Your Book – I’ve heard statistics that say 8 out of 10 people would like to write a book in their lifetime. Perhaps now is the time to start working on the first draft. I’ve found personal projects like these can be an enjoyable diversion from the externally imposed goals of work or school.
- Exercise – If you don’t like running or going to the gym, don’t force yourself. But there are many different interesting sports and activities that can move your body. Exercising can releases hormones in your brain which improve your mood.
- Always Have a Book – Unsatisfied with channel flipping? Having a book (not just reading blogs) requires you to use your brain. Light reading can be a great way to stay engaged without burning yourself out.
- Use Your Social Circle – Conversing with friends is actually a fairly complex mental task, requiring you to read signals and body language, think fast and respond to comments.
- Games – Games have been around long before Nintendo came around. The prevalence of games in most cultures is probably because playing games is a challenging mental task that produces a state of flow. Learning and playing a game can provide an engaging environment without the stress.
- Create Something – Creativity is often seen as having good ideas. But if you look at the root word of creativity, create, then creativity can be seen as simply building something new. Pick something small, but meaningful, to create. Spending an hour or two working building something can be incredibly rewarding and enjoyable.
- Appreciate – I’m sure I’m not alone in that I like listening to music to relax. Improving upon this would be trying to go deeper into the music you are listening or the art you are looking at. Try to appreciate how different elements work together and build on each other.
- Be in the Now – Focus on whatever you are experiencing in the moment. This sounds trivial at first, but it is actually incredibly difficult to sustain. Being in the now is what Eckhart Tolle believes to be the secret to happiness. Concentrating on your muscles, senses or the environment around you takes mental effort when buffeted by distracting thoughts.
- Work on Yourself – I’m sure few of us can claim that 100% of our time is used exactly how we would like it to be. Spending your free time working on yourself, your habits, your goals and your projects can take more energy but can ultimately make your free time more rewarding.
Tis easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows along like a song;
But the man worth while is the one who will smile
When everything goes dead wrong.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
A difficult independent 75-year-old woman liked sitting by the park feeding the pigeons. One day she brought with her a whole loaf of fresh bread just to feed her daily company. Little by little, pinch by pinch, she fed each pigeon with joy. She sat there without being noticed by anyone in the rich suburban neighborhood.
Then suddenly a man in his early 40’s rained on her parade by telling her that she shouldn’t throw away good food on a bunch of pigeons that can find food anywhere when there are a lot of people starving in Africa.
She replied in crazed anger and without hesitation, "Well, hell, I can’t throw that far!"
People are forever calling me a hypochondriac, and, let me tell you, that makes me sick
"I don’t understand it, doctor. My weight is just out of control," said Mrs. Pauly. "I’ve gained over 70 pounds in the last two months. Why, just yesterday, my husband called me a Fat Cow!"
"Well," said the doctor, "I’m sure that we can find a cause for this. Let’s begin with an examination. Stick out your tongue and say ‘Mooo.’ "
“Depend upon yourself. Make your judgement trustworthy by trusting it. You can develop good judgment as you do the muscles of your body – by judicious, daily exercise. To be known as a man of sound judgment will be much in your favor. ”
The physics professor, checking to see how many people had actually read the assignment, asked "What are the two types of light?"
The lab fell quiet until a small voice came from the back of the room, "Uhhh, Miller and Coors?"
A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
Q: My wife is going through menopause. What can I do?
A: Keep busy. If you’re handy with tools, you can finish the basement. When you are done you will have a place to live.
Q: How can you increase the heart rate of your 60+ year old husband?
A: Tell him you’re pregnant.
Q: How can you avoid spotting a wrinkle every time you walk by a mirror?
A: The next time you’re in front of a mirror, take off your glasses.
Q: Why should 60+ year old people use valet parking?
A: Valets don’t forget where they park your car.
Q: Is it common for 60+ year olds to have problems with short term memory storage?
A: Storing memory is not a problem, retrieving it is a problem.
Q: What is the most common remark made by 60+ year olds when they enter antique stores?
A: "I remember these!!"
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies.
The editor is somewhat senile.