Live each day as if it’s your last. One day, you’ll be correct.
The last 18 months have really been pretty difficult for me. I have learned some Life Lessons but I feel that I have had way too much sickness and death around me. My brother, my original business partner and my mother in law have all departed. I received a phone call last night about one of my oldest friends, David, who is fighting leukemia and now has a pretty severe infection.
I’m just so tired of all of this. My soul is exhausted.
When I sat down to write this- I had hoped to write about the importance of dying well and with dignity — whether in hospital or at home, at peace, sent off by a loving family, not in an impersonal and hectic environment, among strangers. Then I remembered- HEY- I AM ALIVE!
I have some great friends and an amazing family. I want to focus on living a great life. I can chose a life that will make an impact. One that makes my children proud of me. One that will have people who remember me smile, maybe laugh and remember me as a loyal friend.
I’m not a rich man, and although I fly around the world for work I do not drink champagne with famous people in exotic locales, nor do I own a sports car or or a yacht.
And yet, I’m very happy.
Much happier than seven years ago when I ate fried foods and sweets all the time and felt unhealthy and overweight. I watched too much television and I missed the world around me.
How have I found this happiness? The truth is, you don’t need a lot to live well — you just need the right mindset.
You need very little to be happy. Some simple plant food, modest shelter, a couple changes of clothes, a good book, a notebook, some meaningful work, and some loved ones.
Want little, and you are not poor. You can have a lot of money and possessions, but if you always want more, you are poorer than the guy who has little and wants nothing.
Focus on the present. Stop worrying about the future and holding onto the past. How much of your day is spent thinking about things other than where you are and what you’re doing, physically, at this moment? How often are we living as opposed to stuck thinking about other things? Live now and you live fully.
Be happy with what you have and where you are. Too often we want to be somewhere else, doing something else, with other people than whoever we’re with right now, getting things other than what we already have. But where we are is great! Who we’re with (including just ourselves) is already perfect. What we have is enough. What we’re doing already is amazing.
Be grateful for the small pleasures in life. Berries, a square of dark chocolate, black coffee and a moment of peace — simple pleasures that are so much better than rich desserts, sugary drinks, fried foods if you learn to enjoy them fully. A good book borrowed from a friend, a walk with my wife around the lake, the fine exertion of a hard workout at Planet Fitness, the funny/crazy things I hear kids say at work (Atlantic Gymnastics) , the smile of a stranger, walking barefoot on grass, a moment of quiet in the morning at my lake house.
These little pleasures are living well, without needing much.
I am going to be driven by joy and not fear. Some are driven by the fear of missing out, or the fear of change, or the fear of losing something. These are not good reasons to do things. Instead, do things because they give you or others joy. Let your work be driven not because you need to support a lifestyle and are afraid of changing it, but by the joy of doing something creative, meaningful, valuable.
Practice compassion. Compassion for others creates loving, rewarding relationships. Compassion for yourself means forgiving yourself for past mistakes, treating yourself well (including eating well and exercising), loving yourself as you are.
Forget about productivity and numbers. I am very much a goal driven person but if I find myself driven to do things to reach a certain number, I have probably lost sight of what’s important. If you are striving to be productive, you are filling your days with things just to be productive, which is a waste of a day.
This day is a gift, and shouldn’t be crammed with every possible thing — spend time enjoying it and what you’re doing.