How to Live Life on Life's Terms
Living life on life’s terms. Sometimes hard to do, especially if we don’t understand what these simple words truly mean. Conceptually, it means “reacting” to life. Most people live in an “acting” world. A world where they meticulously plan and navigate the course of life before it happens as if they have a say in how life will unfold. While not a bad thing, like looking at directions before a road-trip, if too much emphasis is placed on “the plan” and we become vested in the plan, we’re more often lead to disappointment, increased anxiety and dissatisfaction.
We frequently encounter let down’s. Largely because we plan and dream bigger than reality and also because by the time our plans come to fruition, we’ve invested so much energy into them, that little is left to enjoy the results. Think about preparing a Thanksgiving dinner. All day is spent preparing food, but for the one preparing it, rarely is the meal as satisfying as if it was prepared by someone else. So much time and effort, inundation of smells and sights, all of the senses that enhance taste, are so overexposed and exhausted that everything just seems average when finally done.
Life works in a similar way, we think and think and sometimes drive ourselves crazy with worry, anxiety, depression and for what? How many times have we said….oh, that wasn’t so bad? We encounter it all the time. Its because we play out life in our mind before it happens and then vest ourselves into the vision as we saw it. Remarkably, we’re surprised when the results weren’t as big as we made them out to be. But the truth is, we won’t know, until we know. Yet we all do this and get ahead of life.
Its hard to fight an enemy you can’t see, so introspection into your life is a must. The reward far surpasses the investment. By knowing and recognizing the patterns in our lives, where our thoughts get hung up and where our effort is being placed can give us the freedom to re-define the terms of our lives. After all, our approach to life is truly the only thing we can control.
What holds us up in life, and how far down the road are we thinking? More importantly, what anchors are we dragging from yesterday, the past year, accumulated over our lives.?
What roadblocks ahead are we stressing about, worrying about? Does anything past or present impact this very second and the next 5 minutes of your life? Chances are, no. So why bring those thoughts and worries into the moment?
Living life on life’s terms requires accepting the things you can’t change. It is about accepting where we are right this second for all that it is, all that it isn’t and being open and able to react to life as it happens right this moment. Not a single thing about yesterday can we change. We are forced to live with the consequences of our actions, good or bad and react based on what they bring into our lives, moment by moment as life unfolds. We all have thousands of things we wish we wouldn’t have done, or wish we could have done differently. It doesn’t matter. There is no second change at life. It is simply one chance.
Carrying the burden, the scars of yesterday into today only makes reacting to what is about to happen more difficult. If 20% of your daily thoughts are about things you have done, or things you will do, then only 80% of your time is free to process and react, live and enjoy what is presently happening. The only variable we can control is where we let our thoughts and mind wander. And even then, at best we can’t stop it from wandering.
So why not work towards shifting your focus, to begin to train your mind to push out thoughts of the past, the future that have no bearing on today. It is going to take time to change your thought processes, but one that is well worth the efforts.
Find some simple mantra’s, like
Let go, let God,
This too shall pass,
Whatever happens happens
Or find a quick prayer, anything to change focus, so when those counter-productive thoughts creep in, the thoughts interfering with enjoying what is now, repeat your mantra and release yourself from its grasp. Let yourself feel free from its control. Breath in the freshness that is the new air around you and enjoy life for what it is; one unfolding moment after another.
Life is going to happen, like it or not, with or without us.