Are You Making a Living or Living Your Life?

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I’ve been away from my blog for a while. Busy with the day to day tasks that can consume you. Busy with things that have taken me away from my family and away from what I love. It is so easy to get caught up in things we think are important or we think are making our lives better when in reality they are making our life meaningless. I read this quote recently and it made me take a look at how I was spending my time:

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

How many times have you said, “Not now” to your child, spouse, significant other or friend when they asked you to play a game, go to lunch or just spend time with them? Time passes so quickly that we cannot even see the moments we are losing. Soon your child will stop asking you to play a game or read them a story or tuck them in at night. Soon your significant other will stop asking you to watch a movie, go dancing or have a romantic dinner. Soon you will be older and wondering where did the time go? Moreover, you’ll be wondering what did you do with your time?

Are you so busy trying to make a living that you are not living your life? Are you to busy waiting for a special occasion to go out or wear that new dress or suit? Are waiting until the kids are grown or you retire to get that car you’ve always wanted? If you said yes, then my question to you is…”Why”?

Your special occasion is right now. Every day you wake and are in your right mind is a cause for celebration. Every day of your life is a gift and should be used preciously. I understand that we all need to work to support ourselves. However, don’t’ get that twisted. We work to support and enhance our life. We do not live to work.

Don’t spend your life just working and getting ahead, thinking that when I make it, I’ll go on vacation with the family, I’ll buy that car or house or whatever it is you keep putting off. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. How do we know we will even live until “later”? A friend of mine, use to work long hours and answer emails in the evening and on weekends. Her husband would complain that she was always working and they would argue. I use to ask her why she was killing herself over this job? “Do you think if something happened to you and you could not work anymore that this company would take care of you the rest of your life? Let me tell you they would not.” I would tell her don’t think you are irreplaceable. Unfortunately, my friend was “downsized”. Soon thereafter, she realized that she wasted time on the company that she would never get back. Time she could have spent with her husband and young son. She felt cheated.

Therefore, I ask you “Are you making a living or living your life? Don’t put off things until “later”. Don’t wait to play with your kids. They grow so fast and before you know it, they’ll be gone living their own lives. Don’t take your spouse for granted, putting them last after work and the kids. They deserve valuable time with you. Don’t wait for a special occasion to use the China or the “good silverware” or drink that bottle of wine. Don’t wait until you retire to get the car of your dreams. Who knows if you’ll be able to enjoy it then?

Recent events in my life have reminded me how precious life is and that we are cheating ourselves if we do not make every moment count. I know it’s hard sometimes to balance everything that goes on in life. However, once you start living your life instead of “managing” your life, everything will come into focus. I pray that you will have the courage to live the life that was meant for you and not watch it slip away on meaningless moments.

Letting Things Go

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very true.

I recently pinned this quote to my Pinterest board because I thought it was so simple yet complex.   I wanted to reflect and meditate upon it.  It made me think of how much we put on ourselves just because we do not let things go.  Things like envy, strife, hate, worry, guilt, and many other insecurities that lead us to carry around so much baggage.

It reminds me of a song by Eryka Badu, “Bag Lady”.  If you get a chance you should listen to the song because the lyrics can pertain to anyone.  I especially like the following verse:

     Bag lady you gone hurt your back
     Dragging all them bags like that
     I guess nobody ever told you
     All you must hold on to
     Is you, is you, is you

The song is a metaphoric.  The physical bags are a symbol of the “mental” baggage that we allow ourselves to pick up and never put down.  Although, the song is about a lady, all of us – men and woman – are guilty of carrying too many bags.  So many of us are so quick to say, “She/he has too much baggage and I can’t deal with that”.  Yet, we do not realize what we are holding onto.

It is important to realize that the baggage we carry affects us mentally and physically.  If we carry too many bags, we become immobile.  Stress can be debilitating.  How can we move on if we cannot put down the bags we are carrying and let go.  (Another song comes to mind “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen.  Yes, it’s from an animated film, but has a great message for not only kids, but adults too).

As we move through the first couple of months of this year, let’s not collect any more bags.  Instead, let us get rid of some.  Let’s forgive somebody who has wronged us.  Let’s forgive ourselves for something we have done wrong.  Let’s stop worrying about things that are out of our control.  Let’s stop comparing ourselves to someone else.  Let’s stop walking on eggshells worried that we are going to offend someone. It amazes me at how much people hide of themselves so they will not offend someone else.  When most of the time you are just sharing your opinion or stating the truth.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying just go out and be rude to everyone by saying whatever comes to mind – because, I am also a believer of the old adage, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.  However, what I am saying is if you just focus on you and what you are able to control in your life, then those bags will disappear.

Don’t let things get so heavy and complicated that you get buried and lose yourself.  There’s no one like you and it would be such a waste to lose you because of some old baggage.  Let it go!

Quotes are Food for the Soul

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Have you ever read a quote and it resonated with you?  Did it leave an impression on your life?  That’s because quotes have a way of touching your soul.

They lift you up when you are down

They encourage you when you need support

They propel you forward when you are motionless

They help you remember where you’ve been

They keep you focused on where you are going

They open your mind to different points of view

They make you want to be a better you

They give you courage when you are afraid

They enable you to do the impossible

They help you to forgive

They make you think

They inspire you

They allow you to dream

They make you see the truth

They make you feel like you are not alone

They change your outlook on life…

Therefore, read a quote every day and nourish your soul!

 

To Travel is Better than to Arrive

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I heard this phrase the other day and thought some of the simplest phrases have the most meaning.  Then I wondered if the person who said this was younger or older.  What a blessing it would be to realize this when you were young.  Then you would have so much more time to enjoy the journey.  You wouldn’t spend so much time trying to “arrive” because you would know the beauty of the ride.  You would know how precious every minute of every day would be.

There would be no pretense, or time limits to worry about.  That’s the stuff that keeps us from enjoying the ride.  The “I need to be married before I turn 30″.  “I need to make 6 figures before I’m…, I need to make partner in 5 years”, “I needed 500 followers by the end of the month” and so on.  Why do we put such constraints on ourselves?  Why are we carrying needless burdens?  Some may say we need to set goals in order to accomplish things.  However, we sometimes confuse goals with deadlines.  The things I just mentioned are deadlines because they are actions that involve other people.  Whereas, a goal should be something that is obtainable by you alone.

There is so much to taste, see, and experience as you travel.  Now that I think about it, I am not so sure if it’s better to realize this when you are young.  They say, a fine wine gets better as it ages.  Therefore, in that respect, we must get wiser as we get older.  When we are young, we are just beginning the journey.  Sometimes we don’t even know who we are let alone what path we should take.

I always hear people say, “If I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently.  Yet, if you could do it over, would you? (Check out my earlier post- If you had a do over button, would you use it?).  Sometimes, the best part of the journey is the stumbles and falls and how we get back up.  The lessons we learn are what shape and build are character.

I think we all realize life is a journey at the time that is right for us.  We could be 16 or 32.  It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we make the most of every moment we have in life.  This ride is the only one we have.  Therefore, look out the window and daydream often.  Sing out loud.  Act silly with your kids…or friends.  Dance every day.  Love deeply and live with a purpose.

I’m enjoying the ride.  Are you?

In What Direction are You Heading?

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As the New Year begins, it is usually a time for people to start new plans, goals or make “resolutions”.  Some want to lose weight, kick a habit or start a new endeavor.

I guess the New Year is a good time to start with a new slate.  It is the “official” starting time to do whatever it is you want to do.  The question is do you know what you want to do?  Or better yet, do you know in what direction you are heading?

Yes, it is easy to say I am going to lose weight this year or I am going to learn a new language or I am going to go back to school.  Yet, it is not so easily done.  What makes us think that we can accomplish any of these goals just because it is a new year?  Are the same reasons that kept us from achieving these goals in the past still present?  If so, we must identify them so we do not sit idly by, watching days, weeks, and eventually a year pass by.

If your roadblock is procrastination (for many of us it is), then you need to set mini goals each day to keep you moving in the right direction.  Let’s use losing weight as an example.  Perhaps your goal is to lose 20 pounds.  First we must right down our goal.  Next you need a visual aid, so you can see where you are headed.  You can use a goal chart and set up little rewards for certain milestones achieved.  You must decide how to get going – whether it be eating differently each day or exercise. The key is to do something that is realistic and that you will like.  If you set unrealistic goals then, you will get easily discouraged.

Next you need to eliminate anything that is not moving you toward your goal.  If you know that as soon as your turn on the television, you will be glued to it until you go to bed, then don’t turn it on.  You will be surprised at how much time you gain from not sitting in front of the television for hours.  Again, there is no need to go cold turkey, just start small by eliminating 30 minutes or 1 hour of television each day.  Another time consumer is reading.  Yes, reading.  Often times people are consumed by books and again spend hours reading and then have no time to do anything else.  Too much of anything is not good for you.

Once you have gotten the “excuses” out of your path, your focus should be clear.  However, you may need help to keep you moving forward once you have started toward your goal.  That could be a positive friend or family member that can keep you motivated when you start to waiver.   It could be a motivational quote or Bible verse that you meditate upon when obstacles arise.  Whatever your source of strength and encouragement, make sure you have it before you get moving.

Now I know there are many pieces of information out there on “how to do”.  They tell you the tools you need (and have to buy in most cases) and the time it will take you to complete the task or goal.  However, I find that they leave out one important thing – direction.  They do not know in what direction you are headed.  They do not know if you have backtracked several times or are moving sideways because you are afraid to move forward but you know you cannot move backwards.  There is only one person that knows in what direction you are moving – you.  That is the same person that has to have the will to keep moving in the right direction and determination to stay focused on the goal.  Remember you are not on a trip; you are on the journey of your life.  Set your course and do not let anything deter you from your purpose.  Naturally, there will be detours and breakdowns along the way, but you are not running a race, you are living your life!  Live it with purpose and direction and you can accomplish what you set out to do.

Half Full or Half Empty?

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I am a firm believer in mind over matter and that our thoughts control our actions.  So much so that we do not even realize when asked a simple question like, “How would you describe this glass of water?”  Most people will say half empty or half full without any thought.  Why?  Because our perception is our reality.  The way that I perceive an object or situation may be different from the way you perceive the same object or situation.  It does not make one of us wrong or right, it just means we have a different perception.

Often times, we mistake someone’s perception for reality or truth.  When we allow someone else’s perception to become our truth, we can never be ourselves.  We start believing what they say about us and it slowly becomes our reality.  Then the “living up to someone else’s perception” begins.

Therefore, it is important to learn the meaning of discernment – knowing the difference between your perception and someone else’s perception.  Think of it as a debate.  I am sure we all have seen a debate whether in school or on television or amongst friends.  Each side has points to support their point of view in an effort to persuade the other to “accept” their thoughts.  In order to be an effective debater, one must be educated on the topic as well as passionate.  As soon as a great debater sees the opponent quiver or lose confidence, he is relentless in driving his point home until he wins.  If you are not educated on the topics or confident in your thoughts, you will be easily swayed.

Unfortunately, many people are easily swayed and “duped” into believing someone else’s perception is their reality.  If I had a dollar for every time, someone told me that “perception is reality”, I would be rich.  People use perception as a tool in order to control you – to classify you.  Take our glass scenario for example.  If you say the glass is half full then people say you are an optimist.  If you say, it is half-empty, people say you are a pessimist.  Now you can choose to accept these terms or not.  However, whatever you choose let it be because that is how you see yourself – not how others see you.

Besides, in the end does it really matter?  In the end, the glass is half-empty and it is also half-full.  Once you realize this simple concept, you have mastered objectivity.  You have freed your mind!  You can see both sides clearly and can discern from perceptions that are not your own.

Closure – Is it an Ending or Beginning?

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What is closure and why do we need it?  The dictionary defines closure as a feeling of finality or resolution.   Do we need someone else’s approval or confirmation to feel resolved?

I never thought I would struggle with closure – and certainly not with a friend.  Yet I found myself not knowing why we were not friends anymore.  The communication just became one way.  Then there was no reply.  No reply from a person who shared their secrets, fears and aspirations with me.  No response from someone I thought I knew – keyword “thought”.

Then I found the need to know why?  What happen?  Why was that person conversing with other friends we had in common, but not me?  I told myself maybe it’s just a phase…but the phase became a year – a year of not knowing why.

Sure, there were days and weeks that I forgot about my “friend”.  Yet people we knew in common would bring the person up in conversation.  I would see her comments on Instagram or Twitter.  Then of course the questions of why would ramble in my head.  I would think why am I wasting my time on someone who obviously has no concern for me.  Then calmness would turn into anger.  However, who was I angry at?  The answer was me.

We all have intuition.  There were times in the friendship, were I thought the person was self-absorbed and did not give as much as she took.  I even thought that I should slowly involve myself less with her.  So why was I surprised when she stopped texting, calling and wanting to get together for lunch.   I knew that perhaps this was a friendship for a season and not for a lifetime.  Yet, I still needed to know, why.

Does it really matter?  What is her telling me “why” going to do?  Was it going to erase the time I spent on wondering?  Would it erase what I felt?  No, it would not.  You see what she has to say does not define me.  I am the only one who has the power to move on.  The why would just be the beginning.  The beginning of explaining and understanding and feeling awful.  Therefore, I do not need “closure” because it is not the ending.  I had already resolved my feelings for the friendship.  I knew it was  not enhancing my life.  I knew that before it ended.

I forgot one important thing – no one can make you feel a certain way unless you allow it.  Therefore, you do not need closure to move forward in your life.  You just need to trust yourself and believe in the power you possess to live your life fully.  Don’t ever let words define you – certainly not this one!

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