I need to explain what it means to live your best life, in the way I can only explain it — from my perspective.
This was honestly a life lesson I feel like I learned too late. Today’s younger adults truly seem to have gotten this one down pat pretty well, if what I’ve witnessed is how it is. They’ve truly discovered the balance of how to live your best life while walking a career, relationship, and family path of their own choosing. Oh, and if you’re a younger adult and do not feel like you’ve got this down yet—that’s perfectly okay, and keep reading.
For me, basic idea is that living your best life means more than putting your best out there for the benefit of others more than for yourself. It means taking life and all it has to offer inward. Into yourself, your spirit, your mind, and your body.
An excellent example of this would be bucket lists, 6-week sprints, or “40 before 40” type goals. Some people use bullet journals to track all the things they want to do in a given month or year. For many, this activity yields only one thing: Joy.
Last December, for example, I created a bullet journal spread that reflected the holiday traditions I wanted to do with my daughter. The artist in me had to make it cutesy, of course. So I went with a page full of retro-styled ornaments, with the traditions written inside. Each time we completed one, I colored it in. The ‘best life’ part in all this? I gave myself a creative way to focus on enjoying simple things with my daughter during the holidays. We did things that brought us so much joy! Some favorites included baking gingerbread men and driving around looking at Christmas light displays. For her, it meant fun learning experiences and making memories. For me, it helped me slow down and enjoy it all with her.
You know that you are capable of more than just working, eating, and sleeping… Right?
Despite having multiple side-hustles, there are lots of times when having a day job is super frustrating. Doing things I’m good at versus doing things I love to do is a huge battle for so many people.
It’s not that I’m in a dead-end, cubicles-suck-the-life-out-of-me kind of job. I think that would be a zillion times worse. But sometimes during day job work, I find myself daydreaming instead. Thinking about all the things I’d rather be doing to earn money and love how I’m doing it. Painting. Making printables for planners and journaling. Working on one of the zillion website ideas I have in my head (and using up some of the 80 domain names I’ve been hoarding).
Figure out what sparks joy for you. Do that. Every day, if you can.
So what do I do? I schedule. I set goals to spend a certain amount of time doing something specific. In my current plan, I’ve set a goal to spend 30 minutes every single day making something. Right now it’s this huge mandala blanket I’m crocheting, which is quite satisfying for me in that I’m tossing glitter at several elements at once. Home decor and making art because how the heck can crocheting a colossal mandala not be? And using my hands and staying offline (because sometimes we all need to detox from the internet).
That 30+ minutes every night helps me remember that I am MORE than just working, eating, and sleeping my life away. The benefits are enormous, and extend to my family, too. My daughter sees that spending time making something results in a thing of beauty and pride. My husband sees me NOT being stressed out about whatever else is on my to-do list.
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. – Tim Hiller
I have had to tell myself this— sometimes multiple times a day— for many years. See, it’s easy when you get caught up in a career that supports other people making millions doing things you know you could do (and would rather be doing), instead of doing those things yourself.
When I worked for a very well-known blogger for a while, I sat there in the background making everything work – and he was the content machine. So many times after that relationship ended, I sat and berated myself for stupidly going along happy in that ‘support role’ instead of being the one with a few staff people supporting me. Yes, I even calculated exactly how much money I missed out on over six years. You seriously don’t want to know the answer to that equation, because well, it’ll give you compare-itis too. But the bottom line here is that the bigger waste was the amount of time I’ve spent over the past eight years wishing I’d done things differently – as opposed to actually starting on doing things differently.
No joke – I have spent so many years doing exactly what I beat myself up for doing for so many years! Why do we do that to ourselves? The point here is that instead of comparing and allowing it to make us feel guilty and sad and depressed about our current situation – we need to learn from it and do better so that we can let go of it and never, ever have to feel that again!