What if today was your last day? What if it’s going to be tomorrow? How can each of us make the most of our lives today instead of waiting for the “right moment?”
A family friend of mine was eating lunch alone in her kitchen last week. She choked on her lunch. She left work to pop home, grab a bite, walk her dog, and never returned. I had not thought about her in a long time, but now that she’s gone, for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about her. (BTW – If you’re alone and choking, you should do the Heimlich on yourself with the help of a chair or table.)
I don’t believe that today is my last day, or yours, but I’m not going to miss one more minute of living time. I’m not talking about doing something crazy on my bucket list like skydiving or climbing a huge mountain either. It’s not the big adventures of life that make it the most meaningful, it’s the small moments.
Have you ever felt like you were treading water instead of splashing and playing and enjoying the moment? Are you missing the small moments of life because you’re so focused on your next milestone? I’ve missed a lot of the small stuff – too much. Good news, if you’ve ever thought, “I want a more meaningful life,” it’s not too late. Living, and meaning, are found between the milestones, not only when you reach your goal.
Here are seven small things on my path to a more meaningful life that I’m strongly committed to doing today and everyday. I know that it’s not the longest list in the world, but it’s a great place to start. What about you?
1. Keep in touch with friends and family
Each phase of my life, I’ve been lucky enough to find incredible people who accept me for who I am and I love them for who they are too. As I’ve moved on to new adventures, many of those friends have slipped away. I’m going to call one today just to tell her that I miss her. Facebook is great for quick updates but voice-to-voice, face-to-face (even through video chat!), makes a big difference.
2. Make room for new friends
How hard is it to share a glass of wine, or coffee, with someone new? It’s fabulous to get past pleasantries and really get to know someone. Invest the time to build new relationships and you’ll find new Sherpas to walk with you along your journey.
3. Help because I can, not because I have to help
I love helping people. It gives me joy and lights me up. When I help them, I’m feeding my hunger for meaning and purpose too. Quid pro quo happens but giving without expectation? Best. Feeling. Ever.
4. Play less dueling laptops
Many a night I’ve sat next to my husband on the couch with the TV on. We’re both on our laptops in our own worlds sitting side by side. An hour before bed it’s time to close the lid and talk, connect and share about our days. Living in parallel is no way to live.
5. Hug, love, cuddle and engage with my children
I don’t want a day to go by that my children don’t know that I love them. More than my words show them how much they matter. The foundation for our future relationship is set now and I don’t take that for granted. I’m lucky, they still want to be with me (and even be in a rock band with me!). Before I know it, Mom and Dad will be much, much, lower on the coolness scale.
6. Never go to bed angry
I’ve been known to be stubborn. I stand my ground with the best of them. Still, it’s up to me to choose a heart at peace over a heart at war. I’m not talking about a tense truce either. Really accepting myself, my feelings and that the other person that I’m so angry with is just like me; human.
7. Make Social Media filled with real connection
I spend a lot of my time on social media. Social media isn’t a one-way feed. It’s social! Engagement, conversation, G+ hangouts, FaceTime, and Skype take profile pictures and make them real, whole people with whole lives. What a gift to have found people across the globe from their words scrolling across my screen that are now colleagues, peers, and friends.
There are a lot of other important things to do today and everyday. Pick one, two or pick them all but just stop waiting for meaning to fall in your lap. For goodness sakes, don’t wait until it’s too late to tell someone “you matter.”
You can’t wait for your life to suddenly be meaningful, you give it meaning through your choices.
What do you choose?
- Donate your time and money to causes that matter
- Be compassionate
- Find your passion and purpose
- Listen like you don’t know what someone is going to tell you
- Be curious
- Share your stories
- Make clients, colleagues friends and family feel like they are the only ones in the world
- Invest your time in people and causes that matter to you
- Commit to a spiritual or centering practice
- Tell someone “I love you, I care.”
- Loosen up! Laugh!
Would love to hear from you on the small moments that give you a big life filled with meaning, purpose and connection.