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Recently I came across a quote that resonated with me deeply.
“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” Randy Komisar
These powerful words remind me to not wait. Because honestly, at age 63, waiting is a greater risk than going for it. I refuse to spend my days hoping for opportunities later.
Reading the quote one day, the words “spending your life” suddenly jolted me into a greater awareness. This post, “How Are You Spending Your Life?” is the result of much deliberation.
What Does It Mean to Spend Life?
Have you ever thought about what it means to spend your life doing something?
Spending is defined as “an exchange of money, goods or time for something”. It comes from the Latin word expendere meaning “pay out”. Spend can also mean “to use up time”, as in “spend the day sewing”. And the past tense of the word, spent, means “used up or depleted”.
When we “spend life” we are using it up, day by day, moment by moment, until it is all spent…until it’s gone. And unlike a bank account, where we can spend and spend and then add more money or check the amount so we don’t overdraft, it’s different with life. We don’t know the amount of years deposited in our account. Nor can we deposit more time into it. When the life is spent, that’s it. We can’t hoard our time either.
On the one hand, I know these things. We all do. However, I’ve never thought deeply about what it means, spending my life. What am I spending my life…using it up…on? How are you spending your life?
I’ve already spent 63 years of my life. My desire is to spend my remainder…the balance of my life…doing the things that are most important to me. Using another financial term, it’s important for me to invest in myself and to invest in the lives of others, with the life that I have.
Spending Life Well
What does a life well spent look like? It’s different for each person. However, here are broad ideas for spending the years well.
How Are You Spending Your Life Personally?
Our personal lives include relationships with significant others, family members and friends. A good question to ask is, “Am I spending time with the people I want to spend time with?”
Time is extremely valuable. I don’t want to spend mine with people who are negative or unkind. We all get to choose who we spend time with, who we are exchanging moments of our lives for. Choose well. Spend well. I desire authentic connections that go beyond the surface. I gladly and willingly invest in the lives of my family, my friends and even people I don’t know but feel drawn to. Who are you spending time with?
Hobbies, fun activities, play, exploration and travel are all part of our personal lives. We must do the things we enjoy doing and take a hard pass on the rest. What activities bring you joy? Do more of those. What activities feel like a waste of time? Don’t do those.
It’s important that we know ourselves, to discover what we enjoy and what we don’t. It’s too easy to defer to others or try to please others. Know your own heart, mind and passions. Explore who you are. Find those things that light up your soul. Do those things, as often as you can.
How Are You Spending Your Life Health Wise?
One thing that can make a huge difference in spending life well, is improving the level of health. We can’t add more years to life, as the saying goes, but we can add more life to the years. Quality of life feels more and more important, with age. The freedom to spend our years as we choose can come down to how well we take care of ourselves.
Find a health lifestyle that works for you. I’ve chosen a plant based lifestyle. Doing so has already added life to my years, in tremendous ways. (Check out my other blog, Journey with Healthy Me for more info about a plant based lifestyle.)
Feed your body with the most nutritious food possible. Those nutrient dense foods not only fuel the body, they help prevent diseases and disorders. Adopt a fitness routine whether that’s walking, biking, dancing, swimming or playing a sport. Get outdoors as often as you can. Create healthy habits that support the life you desire.
Health encompasses the body, the mind and the spirit. Care for all of you. Pay attention to outlook on life, energy levels, perspectives and mindsets.
Be the best you that you can be, to live the best life you can.
How Are You Spending Your Life at Work?
Is your work or career satisfying or stressful? Is it bold and fulfilling or lackluster and boring? We “spend” so much of our time, working. Can we spend that time and also find joy, purpose and passion? Yes we can.
This area seems to be one that people struggle with. Many people enjoy their work. And many just get by, day after day, year after year, spending away life in an unfulfilling career that drains energy and time away.
What does your ideal career/job look like? What needs to happen, to make it a reality? Write about that ideal job. Do the research. Find people who are doing what you want to do. Don’t fear change. If you don’t go for it now, when will you?
Discover your BIG WHY. Why do you want to do what you want to do? Keep asking why until you get to the deepest, underlying reason for wanting the job or career that you desire. Hint: money isn’t a big enough why.
Now set goals. Break them down into doable time frames. Create actions steps, even small, baby steps, that move you toward each goal.
Spending the Days Living Life to the Fullest
What does a life well spent look like? It might look like…
- going beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs
- being true to yourself, real and authentic
- trying new experiences
- forgiving someone, forgiving yourself
- seeing every day as a fresh start and making it count
- letting go of the past and living in THIS moment. There are no refunds for life already spent. Move on.
- expressing creativity
- exploring the world, your city, your neighborhood, your inner self
- decluttering life, the house, that junk drawer in the kitchen
- letting go of attachments and expectations of others
- believing in yourself
- having fun and playing
- finding your passion
- setting goals and taking action steps
- taking breaks when needed and practicing self care
- letting go of all that does not align with who you are
- spending time with uplifting, positive, passionate people
- developing a big picture mindset
- going after what you want
- living YOUR life, not someone else’s
- doing good in the world…showing kindness, empathy and compassion to others and being mindful of the planet and caring for it
Exchanging a Day of Life
The days of deep thought birthed in me a renewed passion for spending my days well. Truthfully, the days pass anyway, whether we consciously focus on how we are spending our lives…or not. I’m grateful for the greater awareness and even more determined to spend my life in meaningful ways. This past week I invested in myself, set new goals and created action steps to reach them. This Year of the Wild Woman…it’s unleashing many things.
Today these words popped up for me, in an unexpected place.
“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” Elizabeth George
The quote made me smile and silently nod in agreement. Yes, I’ve given a day. I gave precious time from my account in exchange for this day. The awareness helps me choose what’s most important. It helps me gain clarity and fortifies my determination to do what I most want to do. And it fuels my actions for the next day…and the next…and the next.
How about you? How are you spending your life? Are you spending it on the things you most want to spend it on?
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