I am having this conversation/argument with couple of my colleagues about “living life”. They are arguing that living life is about doing exciting things such as Surfing, Skiing, And Mountain climbing etc. Unfortunately I don’t see the excitement in any of these things and any of the above activities would bore me within few minutes. (Add the fact that I suck in all most all of them) It maybe due to the fact that I was brought up in a country where day to day living was a more of challenge than getting on a board and riding waves.
“Living life” is all about taking risks so that you do things which are inherently risky but gives a rush of adrenalin? Or am I a just a boring old fart? Is it worth taking all these risks in life just to make sure that you are living life to fullest?
Do the things you enjoy. Doing things, especially risky things, out of fear that you’re not living the best possible life…is not living the best possible life.
I’ve known a number of people who have to busy themselves every moment of their lives, work, hobbies, whatever. Must. Be. Busy. If that’s really what they want to do, more power to them. If they enjoy it, great. But if it’s because they’re afraid of what happens in their head when they’re not doing those things, BAD.
Some people need that constant adrenaline to feel alive.
Me personally, what I’ve learned is that the real joy of life isn’t the big moments, it’s the everyday small moments. Big moments can become an addiction, seeking ever more, ever bigger. It can distort your life, just like any other addiction.
I’m not into sky diving and things like that. I will try them if I get the chance, but it is not a lifestyle for me.
I believe that ‘living life to the fullest’ means actually doing some meditation about what pleasure and joy is to you in life, and then going after it with gusto. I believe that it is about learning to savor and taste the moment and learning to find savory flavor in all kinds of moments that a lot of people might miss, because they never took the time to meditate life at all.
When my best friend and I vacation, we skip the resort crap and find the grittiest ghettoes and the grimiest urban centers. The energy and art and music and food, etc., that we find there is the best of life to us. Our vacations look very different than people whose vacations mean surfing and rock climbing.
Thrill seeking brings adreniline, sure, but there are other ways to get that fix than jumping from planes. Although jumping from planes sounds fun.
It’s not what particular brand of living life to the fullest you prefer, it’s just that you don’t get so stuck in the day-to-day that you forget to do what you love. You should be passionate about something, and be willing to take the chance to fulfill those passions.
I love something. I love travel. And I do it. People ask me all the time how I manage. They say they don’t have the time or the money. They say they wish they could do what I do, but that they can’t.
It’s almost never true. The thing they lack is the will. It takes a little risk to do most of the things that are worthwhile in this life. And too many people don’t have the guts to take these risks. So they will always have an ordinary life.
So they work Monday-Friday, look forward to a weekend BBQ, and do it all again until the day they retire.
Life has a ton to offer (especially for us first world types), you just have to figure out what you want and have a little bit of will to go get it.
This sums up the situation I am talking about. Every Monday morning we discuss what we did during the weekend. My weekend would be a nice book, watching football, lots of food , time with my partner and a long walk. Compare this with surfing, wind surfing, hiking and running weekend for a colleague of mine, obvious conclusion is that I am wasting my life. After all there are only X number of years left and every weekend counts!!
Do you and your coworkers have different family situations? I used to do a lot of road & mtn bicycling, hiking (not so much when I moved back east), played in bands, travel, go to lots of concerts, etc. More for the accomplishments of completing a challenging ride or getting to the top of a mountain rather than an adrenaline rush. It tapered off a little after I met my wife and then after my twin girls came along my desire to do all that stuff pretty much went out the window and all I want to do is stay home or maybe go on a little adventure with them (they’re 6). These days I get my big extracurricular activity sense of accomplishment if I figure out a guitar part I’ve been obsessing over. I can do this in the other room rather than hours away and 5 miles up a mountain trail (which I do miss, but not enough to take the time out of my life to keep up with it). I look forward to doing those things with my girls, and we do do them on a tiny scale but as far as spending the amount of I need to to make them worthwhile - I’d rather spend that time at home.
Well if those are the things you really want to do, then you are living life to the fullest. However if there are things you are always saying “oh I wish I could…[knit/travel/speak german/ride a horse/etc]” then you are not living life to the fullest, even if you are quite contented in most respects.
It seems that your friend put a high value on physical activities in a natural setting. It’s not about skiing and surfing its about doing the things you “always wanted” to do. Whatever those things are. I don’t think you should disparage your friends as “adrenaline junkies” either. Skiing, surfing and hiking are not particularly dangerous activities, at least not the way the vast majority of participants do them.
Several of my contemporaries are into that sort of thing - posting facebook updates from around the world, extreme sports etc etc
I’ve been travelling, I’ve tried white-water rafting etc. All that sort of thing.
And although it was fun it doesn’t come close to the thrill of watching my 18 month old daughter play with her first ladybird in the garden, or spending an afternoon with her using me as a climbing frame.
Some people would see that as really dull, but it’s given me the greatest joy I could imagine, and I think the DINKY* couples I know are missing out compared to me.
Horses for courses though, there’s no right or wrong.
Doing risky stuff or extreme sports or traveling all over the world is living life to the fullest only if that’s what YOU want to do. If you’d rather putter around in your garden, play golf, or bake cookies then that is living life to the fullest for you. Of course, the extreme activity guys do think the golf-playing cookie-bakers are boring (though oddly enough they always seem ready to eat the cookies…) but who cares? They’re crazy, right? (At least, that’s the golf/cookie people think).
Living life to the fullest is finding a way to do the things YOU enjoy most in life.
(Just for the record - I am a bit of a thrill seeker myself, but I also like my garden and making oatmeal cookies so put me down for middle of the road)
We don’t need to do eXtreme adrenaline-pumping sports to live life to the fullest, but you definitely have to take risks.
Spending your weekends reading a book and sipping tea might be enjoyable, but do you really want to look back at your life when you are an old man, and have nothing to talk about besides all the good books you read and your favorite kinds of tea?
I don’t care for taking many risks. My life involves too many risks I have no choice about. When I feel the most alive and happy and connected is when I am with family. Especially just hanging out in our backyard in the early evening, watching my girls jump on their trampoline, catch my Mig attempt the hula hoop, witness a rare glimpse of a hummingbird nipping at the honeysuckle growing along our fence.
That’s life, my friend.
Thank you all for your replies…Living life and taking chances has become a hot topic around my workplace. This all came about as a guy ( a friend of my office colleague) died in a mountain biking accident. Discussion of his death has brought about this sense "we need to do things we enjoy in life regardless of risk or responsibilities. You don’t want to die doing nothing” around the office.
My colleague who attended the funeral was talking about the speech the widow delivered. She had said “I am proud xxxxxx died being a daredevil as he always wanted. There are so many families who live sheltered lives. We are glad we didn’t live like that…” or something to that effect. AFAIK the mountain biker/surfer/wind surfer left 2 kids aged around 2 and 3.
My office colleague wants to print this speech and put on wall at his place so that his wife can see it everyday.
I understand that doing things which excites you is good. However taking risks all the time in order for you to get a feeling of living sounds testosterone driven BS to me.
Statements like “live life to the fullest” are completely meaningless. Does it mean spending quiet time in solitary contemplation reading or whatever? Getting drunk and partying like a rock star? A busy and successful career? Time spent with friends and family? And at what point do any of these activities go from “living your life” to “screwing it up”?
What I object to is the notion is that you have to “make” every minute count. An old teacher once said something that really resonated with me:
Popular culture gives us movies like “The Bucket List” and songs like “Live Like You Are Dying” which seem to impart the message that jumping out of airplanes and traveling to exotic parts of the world bring meaning and adventure… that they bring life to our lives. The implication is that most of us waste time with the boring drudgery of day to day existence. A year ago, my oncologist suggested that if there was anything else I wanted to do in my life, now would be a good time to do it. I was taken slightly aback, partially because of her obvious implication, but mostly because it never occurred to me to do anything else. I don’t need to jump out of an airplane to find meaning or bring life to my life; things like teaching and spending time with family provide all the meaning I could ever want, so why would I do anything else? That’s why I prefer the message that comes from Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town. In the final act, Emily Webb, who has died, is given the opportunity to go back to her life for a day. She is disappointed to see how little her family appreciates the preciousness of daily life and she ultimately says to the Stage Manager, “do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?”. Many middle schoolers who read Our Town find life in Grover’s Corner pretty boring, but there is a lot to be said for boredom. I recently read a fascinating article that was a defense of boredom. It argued that in our constantly engaged, plugged in society, no one has time for quiet, reflective thought anymore, that time where, it can be argued, many of our great ideas originate. The problem is that we are all way too busy making every minute count. So maybe we should all slow down a bit and recognize that you don’t have to make every minute count, because they already do count; you just have to learn how to appreciate them all, every, every minute, even the boring ones.
Honestly? If I have to spend the last years of my life justifying my actions to other old people, I’m going to be pretty disappointed. And yeah, looking back, I’ll enjoy those memories of sipping tea and reading books–or the digital equivalent, most likely.