I'm extremely lucky to never have had to deal with death or grief much until this past year or so. Oddly enough this coincides with the time period where I've been most alive myself, experiencing freedom, travel and a zest of life that has been dormant in the past. Where once I struggled so much to embrace living, there is now a depth of gratitude, appreciation and wonder at how amazing life can be. I've realised the way I love to live - what I love doing, seeing and being part of, how I like to be, how I most enjoy spending my time, the ways I can recharge, feel good and self care. I've learned who I am and what my dreams are. I've awoken to the possibilities that life holds and I've spent incredible times living what I could call, my 'best' life.
But then recently, when considering the finite quality of life, I started to question and become confused and upset at the times when I'm not living how I wish to be. I became fearful of uncertainty and felt too faraway and detached and disconnected, lacking in the enthusiasm and openness I wanted to be embodying. Fears and negativity badgered me about what I'm doing now and how that fits in with the life I want to live. And I listened to them and let them give me their headaches and tears and stress.
But then I responded to the negativity and fears and re-established my grasp on my best life with these thoughts:
There are always options & choices
Enjoying freedom means owning our choices. When I am savouring my life most, it's often when I feel entirely satisfied in how I'm spending my time and what I get to do. I'm content in the choices I have and how they serve me. Lately though, as circumstances changed, I felt resentful about where I was at, feeling as though my expanse of choices had shrunk before me leaving me in a situation I felt no real desire to be in.
We are never trapped, nor stuck, nor bereft of options. There are reasons to be where we are at any time and there are ways to either make changes to that or change how we think about it. To live the way we want to be living, we need to own the choices we have made and see the options that are available at any given time. If there is no purpose being served by our current position, we are responsible to make the necessary changes and find a different way either in our thinking or our actions. This is not anyone else's life that we are living, it is our own and it cannot be the best for us if we don't honour our ownership of it.
Valuing authenticity matters
Learning about who you are, enjoying your own growth and understanding how you can thrive and live in an optimal way is a valuable gift. Being in new environments can be intimidating so remembering to be true to yourself wherever you are, is essential to surviving the shift in experience. If we want to feel good and embrace new circumstances, we cannot negotiate who we are. We cannot become what others are; we don't have to share the same interests and traits. It is a privilege to understand the person we are and it is our sacred duty to treat that person with respect, love and due appreciation. Be you, do you, value your individuality. People will warm to someone authentic. But someone who is overwhelmed, struggling and anxious can give out a different kind of energy, one which is misaligned, disconnected and mistrusting of the self. Getting value out of our time requires us to spend it in ways that support the humans we are. Boundaries, saying 'no' and respecting our own limitations, sources of satisfaction and energising activities is crucial to best serve our true self.
Everything is transient
This too shall pass! In anything that feels off, we can at the very least connect to the fact that it is not permanent. If we accept that everything is transient, we have no need to attach to any woe or misery at what is happening, because we know that it will end. In the same vein, we could learn to find as much learning and enjoyment in it as we possibly can, because it is an experience, a specific time in our life that we will never get back, so we might as well make the most of it. Every season serves a purpose.
Living the life we wish to most enjoy living means we accept the ebbs and flows, the rises and falls, the bits that are easy to embrace and the ones that need a bit more tolerance, patience and reframing. Go with it, just for now, just for today. Let it be, and it may surprise us.
Hardship Inhibits Harmony
This is our life to take control and mastership of. If we become bogged down in the woes of how hard done by we are or how challenging this experience is - we have no chance at peace of mind. Harbouring hardship about our situation just makes it worse. It builds resentment, bad moods, blame and a plethora of unappealing qualities that have no place in our best life. If we wish to regain harmony and alignment in the life we are currently living, the heavy hold of hardship must go. We are here. This is where our life is happening right now and we are in control of embracing and making the most of this. We can seek the joys in small moments, we can maximise our gratitude, we can use our time to become kinder to our experience. We are not prisoners of this life, but pioneers of a way to revel in it. Freeing ourselves from hardship opens up our energy to be able to relax into where we are. It amplifies our sense of peace and acceptance, increasing our capacity for enjoyment.
Give it time
Learning how precious time is did ignite some fears for me about it. It gave a stark reminder that I want to use it in the best way that I can - achieving my goals, being productive and using every moment in a way that contributes positively to the life I want to live. Which is perhaps a bit ambitious, but more than that, it also leant me towards an old habit of impatience. Working out of fear rather than love will not accomplish that which I want regardless how fervently I pursue it. To create important things, we need to take our time and give them a chance to develop, grow and establish. We cannot have it all now and nor should we. Journeys are important and the experiences along the way offer an enriching education. Being present and allowing life to unfold as it needs to for the moment is definitely a worthwhile lesson to take. Yes I can still do what I want and strive to attain my dreams, but I can also be in this place now and take what is has to teach me - patience perhaps being the first to revise!
I think there's a lot of social media influence about living our best lives and what that means. But it's entirely an individual thing. For me, it's ultimately the goal of wellness, of satisfaction and contentment. But further, I believe my best life to be the one I can confidently handle and enjoy living, with strength, grace, appreciation and my authenticity intact. I feel as though I'm living my best when I'm embracing learning and practicing the values and virtues I hold as important. Any opportunity to do this, is an opportunity to be indulged. There's no perfection or expectation that illustrates what's best for any of us - I think what we can strive for instead, is fully experiencing and appreciating our lives in spite of the place, circumstance or initial feeling about it.
Rising to the challenge of creating a life of contentment, irrespective of situation is actually an experience that will serve to enhance our feeling of satisfaction even more. Growth, learning and challenge may not always be welcome as they present themselves disguised as difficulty and fear, but in my best life, I've learned to invite them in anyway and see what they have to say.
We only get one life - one beautiful expanse of possibility and discovery that is within our hands to shape - how can you make it feel like your best life, today?