Monday, 4 November 2013

Living: Full Time Positions Available

Do you know, I think I've just realised how living life to the fullest, doing the things you really love to do, and trying to cram it all into each day is really a full time occupation. ("Ya think," I hear some of you say...).

I've had the great fortune and opportunity to take a sort of sabbatical these past few months. It has allowed me to travel, play great quantities of music in the form of gigs, read the mountain of books that have accumulated over the years, write fiendishly, and get healthy. All the things that I love. However, trying to pack that in to each day of the week is surprisingly difficult. (I am NOT complaining, by the way, merely making an observation.)

Henry David Thoreau said, in his wonderful book, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived."

I read this when I was a teenager (which feels long ago, now!) and it stayed with me. I think perhaps the idea of going off to live in a cabin and having some peace and quiet, thank you very much, was what appealed to me more if I'm completely honest.  Being able to wake up each day and have the mere purpose of living. Which of course, is what we all have, but do we realise it? The daily slog grinds us all down at some point; work becomes monotonous and unfulfilling; home life is increasingly stressful, and so on. But to live with purpose and enjoyment of things is what we all strive for, I imagine. How to sustain this, though?

I don't have an answer to this, unfortunately. We are constantly left feeling, "Ah, I wish I'd had more time to do this today," whether it be more time to sleep, read, play video games, a second pint with friends, talking with family, etc. Honestly, I thought when I began this "sabbatical" that I would have heaps of time and get loads done. I believe myself to be quite organised, and even so, I'm left journalling at the end of day feeling, "Golly, where did the time go? And I've hardly done a thing!"

With only two weeks left before heading back to Europe to begin anew there, this feeling is more pressing. So, perhaps I haven't done everything I wished to do, but I have enjoyed living the day to day. For that I am grateful, as I realised I was doing things I loved. And doing what we love makes life that much easier. I would say, taking a few minutes a day to just "be" - to be quiet and listen to oneself, to take in things around us, to put away the bloody iPhones for half a minute, would be beneficial in so many ways.

Taking a risk, a chance, doing things on a whim, doing things that aren't necessarily "smart" by all accounts - for me that is living. It is hard - sometimes it really doesn't work as one would hope - but I am never actually left disappointed. I realised this recently - all the choices I have made in my early twenties have lead me here, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I don't regret a single moment, and that in itself is extremely satisfying.

So, living is full time occupation, there is no doubt. (And no, I don't mean breathing and consuming what we need to remain alive - I mean actively making a life, being useful members of society, pursuing purposefully.)  It should come first on our agendas. Jobs, commitments, hobbies are all a part of it - but it is how we do it that perhaps makes it worthwhile or not.

Think of it as an advertisement: Full time positions for Living Purposefully available immediately. And the best part about this job is, it is made specifically for you.