A Life Well Lived
What does a life well-lived truly mean? A life well-lived is defined very differently by each individual who ponders the question, and how we answer the question will most likely change as we move through our lives. Most of us can look back and see that what we deemed as important in the past is certainly different than what we deem as important now. And, in our best efforts to look forward, we really have no way of knowing what will be most important to us in the future. What can be helpful, though, is recognizing that we have a limited amount of time on this earth and that we are able to choose how we want to spend that time.
Life. Birth to grave. May it be long or short, as Adlai Stevenson said, “It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.” Life is a gift that we should embrace each day and not wait to open. We all have the same 24 hours each day, and how we use those hours becomes our life. To gain a little perspective, consider living each day as though it were your last. How would you plan your days? Who would you choose to spend your time with? With no guarantee of tomorrow, being mindful and present today becomes more of a priority. Rather than waiting for life to begin, or trying to “find” time, we become active participants in the here and now. We create the life we choose to live rather than being passive participants as we go through our days and life goes by around us.
Well-lived. There is no one definition of life that is well-lived. How do you measure whether life is well-lived? When you observe others, what do see as valuable ways to spend your time? What is meaningful to you personally? If you knew today were your last, would you consider your life a life well-lived? If you haven’t read or listened to “The Last Lecture,” by Randy Pausch, I encourage you to do so. It is an incredibly inspirational lecture, full of thoughts to consider as we ponder the question, “How do I choose to live my life?”
Creating a support network around us can help us to stay mindful and motivated each day. How do we find those that will support us in our goal to live a life well lived? Friends, family and colleagues can be a great place to start. Spending time with those that we can be vulnerable and honest with helps to build deep, meaningful and fulfilling relationships with others. These relationships are a safe haven to share our dreams, and experience love and support as we explore our dreams and work toward bringing them to reality.
It can also be important to have someone to offer professional insight and guidance to us within our support network. Consider working with a mental health therapist or coach. These professionals are trained in how to help us gain clarity on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to be in life. They can help us to learn and grow from our past, dream about what we want for the. future, and teach us skills to be present and grounded today to focus on what is important for today. They can help us set realistic goals to help us achieve our dreams, and when a dream becomes a goal, it requires action. Working together, you and the professional will create a plan including small daily action steps that will build toward helping you to successfully achieve your short-term and long term goals.
We live. We learn. We grow. And throughout our lives, what we deem as important evolves. As what we deem important evolves, our dreams and aspirations evolve. Building a support network of friends, family and colleagues is important. Collaborating with a professional to walk alongside us in our ever changing dreams and aspirations can give us the support and accountability we need to better define and achieve our goals, and ultimately live a life well-lived.
~Nicole Hutchison, PT, CSCS, Holistic Health and Integrative Nutrition Coach