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.

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.

Are You Living in the Moment?

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Do you rush from day to day or week to week?  When it’s Wednesday are you thinking, “Oh, it’s two more days until Friday!”

Why are you rushing and wishing your days away?  What is the hurry?  What are you doing with your life that prevents you from taking the time to breathe?

We are given a gift everyday…to start anew, to be refreshed, to inspire someone, to encourage someone, to live to our full potential, to be a blessing in someone’s life, and to learn.

We were put here for a purpose – not to waste our time, not to hurry our time, but to live in our time.  Many of us worry because we are thinking about the next hour, the next day, the next week or the next month.  Moreover, we do not really appreciate what we have right now.  As this minute goes by, we will never have it again.  We will never be able to live this moment again.

Think of all the minutes you have wasted.  All the time you have spent on needless worry or things out of your control.  Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.  Therefore, the future is a gift.  So live in the present.

Enjoy life.  Think of it as your favorite ride at an amusement park.  It could be from when you were a kid or even now.  Remember the excitement you had and that you never wanted it to end.  If you were like me, you always thought the ride was too short.  Well, the only difference between that ride and your life is that you only get to stand in line once – you only get one ride.

Therefore, if you knew this was your last ride and you could never ride again, would you act differently?  Would you savor each moment while you were on the ride?  Would you take in the view if you were up high and try to remember it all?

Now you may be saying life is much more complex than an amusement park ride.  However, is it?  Life is what you make it.  What you create in each moment is uniquely yours.  Every minute you are creating and enhancing your ride, your journey.

Therefore, why would you ever want to rush your favorite ride before it was over?  When you think about it that way, it does not make sense to rush from minute to minute.  Slow down, watch the sunrise, read a book to your child, call your mother, talk with your best friend (not text), take a walk with your significant other or take a yoga class.

Whatever you do, be present.  Do not miss the beauty of your life.  Live in the moment and you will stop wishing for tomorrow.