How do we ensure that our lives are lived with meaning? The thought came to me when I realize that in the entire week, it is endured from Monday to Friday night – where I only begin to live from Friday night to Sunday evening. At least before the Monday blue strike sometime before 5pm on Sunday evenings.
Emerson said once that a life that is not examined is not a life worth living. But I believe even more that a life lived without enthusiasm is not a life that’s living. From Monday to Friday we trudge about in a non-living state of life that must be endured before we reach into that temporary moment called the weekend – effectively being cheated out of 71.4% (five divided by seven, multiplied by a hundred) of our working lives.
This has to change. Paulo Coelho says that it is easier to change what is hidden and what can’t be seen than to change the big things first. Commonsense that I really don’t need this Brazilian sage to reiterate but it is useful to my little venture here:
Tips on living and not wasting 71.4% of my life away
- For me, I believe also that we should reserve a day, every day, to look into the sky and have that moment be a sacred moment with God. That is likened to a daily bread for the soul that we pray about in Pater Noster.
- The monks and the nuns had something right going for them. They wake at sunrise and the first thing they do is to flip to that Book of Hours and thank god. Yes, they call it the Invitory – literally inviting God into their lives. Yes, you can do it too. Anytime. Just wake up every morning and invite God to enter your life. You can pray the holy Rosary in the morning or just flip into the online laudate app for the Book of Hours. I simply can’t express how much it helps to imbue your day with the presence of God to keep you safe through your way, every step through the day.
- Find meaning in work. What is a sure litmus test if you find meaning in your work: are you passionate about it? Do you feel that sinking sick-making sensation of a Monday blue coming? Then that’s your sign that you may not be finding real value in your labour. Maybe it is time to search for something better that gives meaning to your life-story. Remember, while money is important, it isn’t everything. Especially not cancer resulting from years and years of chronic stress and frustration.
- Contribute to the social environment around you. Go beyond just yourself and your immediate circle of family and friends. Do something for the community. Give something back to mother nature. You can do it in a group like joining a volunteer event or you can make your contributions personal like making a regular giro donation to the Francisans or a church building fund. Even a simple day of clearing garbage off the beach or Macritchie reservoir can be your weekly act of kindness. God gives back whatever you give out. So every little bit of sunshine helps.
- Smile. See the humour in things. Humour, like alcohol, is a social lubricant and a lot less addictive too.
- Set limits on work. Whether you work from eight to eight or nine to sixes and seven, life cannot be postponed to just the weekends. Even if you need to work later, find ways and means to make technology work for you – like a laptop that enables you to answer that one or two emails at night. Sometimes we need to learn from the French who work the least in Europe but are yet amongst the most productive.
- Paradoxically, go beyond the limits at work too. Send up the Christmas tree at work. Bake cupcakes for everyone. Do a mean pot of laksa and share it out. Spread the love, make your presence felt and be more than the cog and gear the corporate machine has meted out for you. Try it. It’s worth it.
- Never miss the chance to tell your loved ones you love them. Never miss the chance to touch them. Every moment spent with loved ones is a moment lived double.
- Set the basics in place: eat healthy, exercise, get fresh air often and drink green tea. Sounds easy and basic but I cannot stress how important it is to sweat at least once a day. If it is a busy period and you can’t get your daily bowl of vegetables in, consider investing in multivitamin. Iherb stocks a really good supplement called ‘Special Twos’…
- There can be more tips to putting the years back into life that I can fit in from time to time but so far these are my basic rules for living that can apply to everyone. Hope this helps you.
God’s blessings on you and may you spend your life, not simply enduring, but also fully living every moment.