What Would You Do Differently If...
This day! A little light snow, and sloppy roads. Grey again—that “grey tunnel” so eloquently named by the man formerly known as my husband. No matter: this day! For starters, I’m pretty excited just to have a day. Watching the news can make a person realize the luck of it, after hearing of the high schooler’s life snuffed out, hit by a car crossing Cascade Road, or of the woman found dead in her kitchen, still in her fifties. Dropped like a stone, apparently. Cold as one, too. So what if you knew your death was closer than you imagined? What would you do?
Live large, I say. Don’t zip through the retirement money (just in case), but maybe stop obsessing so much about the little things. First, learn to recognize the little things, the time-suckers that accumulate like so much guano until movement becomes difficult. The little stuff isn’t hard to recognize; they don’t offer much of a sense of satisfaction. (Example from my own life: TV news. It’s relevant to watch one round to catch the highlights, but then the TV goes off. It’s not my problem that broadcasters have 24 hours to fill with—maybe—30 minutes worth of news churned and dissected and discussed ad nauseum until the next story breaks. Personally, zoning out in front of a TV generally is not living large.)
Live large: find the gusto, however you define that intangible entity. It may be worth being honest here: getting hammered on whatever numbing drug or alcohol as often as possible may not really be serving you the way it seems. Any counterproductive habit will wriggle its bony fingers into your soul until it holds sway over you. Somehow, being held hostage by unnecessary habits doesn’t mesh effectively with the idea of honest personal freedom. (Example, again from what I know best: me. Finding gusto was hell for a depressed adolescent who thought happiness would arrive from somewhere outside myself. Once I started owning the effort to look beyond things such as the grey tunnel, “happy” magically arrived.)
A fine mental practice is to alter internal dialogue. Disallow the negative. Become, through habit-replacement, positive-minded. A fine physical practice is fittening the body, making it possible to enjoy a variety of activities. And (for me) getting outdoors is another “live large” practice. The woods, or mountains, or shore are an especially effective balm for anybody, winter or summer. The Japanese calls time spent in nature “tree bathing.” Try it. It’s a real thing.
Live large: know your dreams. Indulge them. Can’t afford the large ones? Then at least honor the little ones, such as occasionally eating your favorite sweet treat. Think of the things you’ve always wanted to do, the ones earmarked for “after retirement” but start chipping away at making them happen. (Example from my life: it is a rare, but sweet practice now and then to lie down on the couch and take an afternoon nap. Yeowzer, is that good.) Make a list of these dreams. Call them your “Life List.” No Bucket List here. Why focus on kicking the bucket? I’d rather focus on living large.
What would you do if...? Why wait until notice is served? We are all living on borrowed time. Make the time you have ring loud and clear with a life lived large.