It’s so easy to get caught up in the ongoing cycle of life.
Bills. Doctor’s appointments. Family commitments. Work issues. Health concerns. Those never-ending little things that have to be done like laundry, dishes and email.
Before you know it, you look up and weeks, months and even years can pass.
Part of being pro-age is loving your life. That’s so much easier when you’re living that rich, passionate, adventurous, or fulfilling life that lights you up from the inside.
Maybe you’re already doing just that. If so, we are ecstatic for you. (Do us a favor and tell us how you’re already living your life to the fullest in the comments below.)
But if you’re not quite there yet, how do you start? How do you stop your fast-moving life long enough to do those things you always wanted to do? Here’s our take on it...
#1. Go on a vacation (for the next hour or so).
If your life is on overload, and your time flies by faster than you’d like, take a break. Give yourself permission to go on vacation—not in a few weeks or a few months—today.
You don’t have to travel anywhere exotic. Just decide to take at least an hour off. Use this time to do something outside your normal routine—something you “wish you did more.”
Love to read? Go wander around the bookstore or library for an hour. Into culture or science? Get lost in a local museum. Like volunteering? Go spend an hour changing somebody’s world in some small, but significant way. Outdoors more your style? Check out a local conversation spot. Wish you traveled more? Go explore a neighborhood you’ve never seen, and be a “tourist” in your own city for an hour.
Just in case you don’t have time to go out, you can also indulge in that book you never have time to read. Or turn on your favorite song and dance around the room. Or do something creative like sketching, writing poetry, or working in your garden. Or give yourself a mini-spa day. Or maybe just call that girlfriend you haven’t spoken to in forever.
Whatever you do, allow yourself to indulge. Tell yourself “it’s a vacation,” so you give yourself permission to relax and savor the time.
Now, see if you can repeat that mini-vacation at least once a week. See how long it takes before you feel like you’re living a fuller, richer life.
#2. Stop waiting for “some day” to do what matters.
How many people do you know who waited for “some day” to do the things that matter, and that “some day” never came?
Perhaps they waited to travel until they retired, and found they didn’t have the time (or resources) to see the world? Or maybe they talked about starting a business and never got around to it? Or maybe they waited to reconnect with that friend, child or parent they had a falling out with—and now it’s too late?
The lesson: Learn from their mistakes. Don’t wait for “some day” to do what counts.
Get out a piece of paper, your journal, or open a new document on your computer. Ask yourself: What have you always wanted to do, but never have? What are you waiting for “some day” to get around to?
Some other questions to ask yourself:
What are the places you want to visit that you haven’t seen?
What is a lifelong dream you’ve put on hold?
What is a professional goal you want to reach?
What is something you always wanted to try?
What is something you always wanted to learn how to do?
What is something that you’d be disappointed if you did NOT do it at some point?
What is something you always wanted to do to give back to the world?
Who are the people you haven’t spoken to in awhile who you’d like to reconnect with?
Got your list? Great. Now ask yourself: What’s the most important goal you want to accomplish on that list? Challenge yourself and see if you can take the first step to making it happen today. (For example, want to learn how to ballroom dance? Sign up for a class today.)
Once you accomplish that first “some day” task, start with the second most important item on your list. (And then the third, and fourth and so on…) Before you know it, you’re living a deeper, richer life.
#3. Have an honest conversation with future you.
Imagine you could have a conversation with your future self. She might be the you of next year, or five years from now, or the you of 10 years in the future.
Now, here’s a twist: Use your imagination and pretend YOU are the slightly older, slightly wiser version of yourself in this conversation. Imagine you’re from the future, and you have traveled back in time to speak to your present-day self.
As your “future self:” What would you say to present-day you? What advice would you give yourself at this age? Would you congratulate present-day you for the amazing life you’re living—and how you’re already living life to the fullest?
Or would you voice any regrets? Would you ask present-day you why you’re not doing more of something you love, or spending more time with someone you love? Or would you perhaps challenge present-day you to achieve certain goals at this age?
Be as honest as you can be. Then start making some small adjustments (if necessary) to live the full life that the you of next year, or five years from now would be proud of.
Tell us: Are you already living life to the fullest? If so, how? Or are you inspired to start? As always, we’d love to hear from you!