Do you want to live life to the fullest like you used to in your childhood and youth? In fact, there are some practical and simple ways to do it.
When you’re young, it seems as though life stretches out before you in an endless procession of days. Your opportunities seem unlimited, and you are not really conscious of the moments ticking by. It is when you truly live life to the fullest.
As you move on to adulthood, you start realizing that time is a scarce commodity. It hits you when you lose someone you love and wish you’d had more time with them. It hits you when your health starts declining. Finally, it hits you when you have a special experience and realize you need more of them in your life.
The living is all about ‘sucking the marrow’ out of life and experiencing it in the present, rather than living in the past or the future.
Here are some practical ways to live life to the fullest.
1. Let go of your past, one memory at a time
When you cling on to old wounds, it can take up a great deal of time and energy. You can be hanging on to the past so tightly that it’s hard to embrace the present. It’s often oddly comforting to hang on to past hurts because you’re so used to them.
You have to accept that what is in the past is in the past and begin decreasing the hold of these memories over you. Make a note in your journal that you’re ready and willing to let go. A helpful book to create the right mind frame is Hugh Pratner’s “The Little Book of Letting Go.”
It may be hard to think about forgiveness for what’s been done to you in the past, but nothing frees you more from blame and anger than forgiveness. You have to start taking control of your thoughts, or you may find yourself constantly trapped in the past and unable to experience the present. This way, you can’t live life to the fullest.
It’s helpful to set aside 10 minutes a day to sit calmly, release one painful memory as you breathe out and breathe in the present. The past does not just miraculously vanish from your mind, and you may need to tell your story to friends or trained professional before you can find healing.
2. Do what is not “you”
Slipping into a comfort zone is simple. When you are comfortable, your activities and behaviors tend to take on familiar patterns. These patterns become habits, and before you know it, your routines have become ruts.
You often don’t even realize that you’re in a rut and that you’re shutting yourself off from options that lie outside your narrow existence. It becomes more comfortable to stay where you are than to risk change. This is why it’s so important to do what is not “you.”
To live life to the fullest, you don’t even have to start in a grand way. Try out a new recipe, watch a movie or read a book that’s outside of your normal genre, take up a new kind of exercise or a hobby where you create something with your hands.
In simple ways, you can get a new perspective on life and grow a little on a daily basis.
If you make a habit of this, it will be much easier to embark on new adventures when they present themselves. Soon you will be ready to reach out to the risk of living with both arms. You will see each day as an opportunity to experience something new.
3. Embrace Special Moments
It’s easy to become jaded and miss out on special moments. Life is a gift, and you have to make the most of each second. It helps to make yourself more receptive so that you can recognize special moments and embrace them fully, weaving them into the fabric of your life.
You may experience such a moment when gazing at sunset and being aware of the magnificence and power of nature. You may feel it when you sit watching the waves crash on the rocks or swim in a rock pool of crystal clear water.
This feeling may be inspired by playing with your children. Spending time with children has a way of making you appreciate life as you see it through their eyes.
You may experience one in the electric atmosphere at a concert or find that moment in peaceful, quiet contemplation. You may have such a moment when you’re reading a book and what the author says touches you in an indefinable way.
4. Participate in life instead of watching it pass by
Instead of sitting on your couch day after day watching fictional characters or reality TV stars, use the time to add meaning to your own life. Use the time to master a new skill or take up a new hobby.
It’s easy these days to learn a new language – use Rosetta Stone, listen to the language through your headphones and try to find ways to converse with those who speak the language.
You could even start writing a book about your life. Imagine how much better life would be if we all spent time volunteering for a worthy cause instead of watching TV for hours.
Travel has a way of widening your perspective and giving you different ways of looking at life. It’s one thing to be an armchair traveler. It’s quite another to see new places and have all your senses stimulated.
Seeing a photo of the statue of David is not the same as experiencing the magnificence of the 14 ft. marble figure where you can clearly see Michelangelo’s passion for the human body.
Pass your hands over the walls in the Tower of London and be transported back through the centuries. Feel timelessness and tranquility as you float under the water and stretch out your fingers to try and touch small fish in the coral reef.
5. Value your friendships
We’re social animals and loneliness makes us die early. You might believe you do not need others, but you do. One of the best ways to live life to the fullest is to spend fruitful time with others.
You shouldn’t know more about the characters on a TV series than you know about your friends. Go hiking together up a mountain, a camp for the weekend, meet up for a good chat over coffee or host a game evening.
Be sure to tell those you love what you appreciate about them, whether it’s how they make you laugh or that they inject some much-needed sanity into your life. At the same time, know how to set boundaries and say no when you need to.
You may need to remove yourself from those who bring negativity in your life with their drama and conflict. Spend time with those who build you up and help you to make the most of life.
When life comes knocking, you need to answer the door. Take a break, hang out with a friend, enjoy an unforgettable experience and live with no regrets. This is how you live life to the fullest.