What if someone said you could radically change your life by learning to take it easy?
You’ve probably been raised to believe that you have to work hard every second of the day if you want to amount to anything. First, you were told to get good grades. Then you had to find the right college. Next you had to get a good job. Then you had to find the right mate. Then a home. Then have kids. Then save for college. Then save for retirement….
If you’re on that course, chances are you are thinking there has to be a better way.
We can get so caught up in making a living that we fail to live.
In fact, you probably know a person or two who heard the final buzzer before reaching their goals. A grandfather who died in his sixties. A mom who died in her fifties. In your quietest hours you probably still wonder why.
Learning to relax may not prolong your life on earth but you’ll gain a life in the process.
The golden years aren’t when you retire. The golden days are now. This isn’t a dress rehearsal for the big show. This is the big show. If you wait to start enjoying life when you’re retired, you’ll be disappointed.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t work. Of course we should work! And work hard. But if we work hard, we should also learn how to play hard. I’m not saying ‘eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’. That idea runs contrary to the whole vibe of this blog.
It’s amazing that we take time to learn things we don’t enjoy and fail to study the things in life that really count.
While it is important to master things we don’t enjoy doing, it’s equally important to master things that will give us years of joy and fulfillment.
What if you studied to discover healthy ways to unwind at the end of a long day?
What if you figured out how to dwell in your home and not just pass the time?
What if you looked for ways to find joy in the mundane?
What if you spent more time with someone who knows how to relax around and enjoy other people?
Feel free to ponder some of the other areas you would like to study in your life. You are not a human doing, you are a human being.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Try something new and God will show you something new. What if instead of checking Facebook first thing in the morning, you spent a couple of minutes with your cat or dog. You have to feed them anyway. Turn what has become a chore into something that is mutually enjoyable for both of you. The essential thing is not your new routine, it is obliterating your old one.
Read outside your area of expertise. Reading is not only a great way to pass the time, it’s something you’ll have to do if you are going to figure out the answers to some of the questions you’re now asking. However, it doesn’t take as long as you think to become an expert in a new area. After you’ve read 4 or 5 books on your new interest, you’ll become familiar with the general concept and every writer will start sounding the same.
Share a meal with someone. No matter where you go, there will usually be people. There’s just something about sharing food or drink with somebody. In the gospels, you see Jesus doing this repeatedly. However, when we get caught up in the rat race, one of the first things to go out the window is the time we spend with people we care about. Remember, it’s not about the food. It’s about the relationship. Meals aren’t something we share just to gain nutritional value each day, meals are an opportunity to heal and cement healthy relationships.
Some of the happiest people you’ll meet are those who have achieved greatness but still know how to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. You’ll know them when you meet them. They are able to melt into their chair and relax and patiently listen while you talk. They make you feel more relaxed by just being around them. These kinds of leaders have learned the art of being.
Then there are the other kind. One speaker went to a mental institution and stated, “You know why we’re all here, don’t you?” There was a pause and someone finally stood up in the audience and said, “Because we’re not all there!”. Influential leaders live by the mantra ‘Wherever you are, be all there’.
Are you all there, or have you been in such a hurry to get there that you’re missing out?
The amazing secret is that when you slow down and enjoy life more, you achieve more than you would otherwise. Things are nice, but it’s not the things of life that add value to our life, it’s people. You can lose all of the things you have and buy new ones, but the same is not true with people.
Success is a moving target, and in our pursuit of it, we miss out on the now. We weren’t designed to work all of our lives only to achieve a momentary goal and die. Life is a precious jewel, meant to be enjoyed each and every day not just before our last breath. Start using the good China ware now with your children while they’re still young. They may break a cup or plate, but you’ll have memories to enjoy and laugh about in years to come rather than a load of regrets.