What Does Not Living Your Life Fully Cost You?

It’s been over a month since I last blogged. I should be flogged! But I won’t dwell on the negatives of why I haven’t blogged. Suffice it to say, I’ve been busy.

Too busy to write. Too busy to bicycle. Too busy to read. Too busy to relax. Too busy to garden. Too busy to clean my house. Too busy to do yard work. Too busy to do some of what I want to do and some of what I need to do. To busy to live my life the way I’d like to live it.

Which brings me to my point. Last month on my website I began a challenge: The Living Fully Challenge, 12 Months to a Fully Lived Life. The idea behind it is simple: Not living our lives fully costs us something. What is that cost? It’s different for each of us. Some might pay with peace of mind, leaving them with worry and stress. Others might pay with happiness, leaving them sad or depressed. For one person the cost might be health and for another connection; these people end up holding only illness and loneliness when the day is done. For someone else, the cost might be their dreams, leaving them empty and without hope of ever achieving their potential or their desires. No matter the cost, not living our lives fully costs us something. And each day, each moment that we don’t live to the fullest extent represents one more payment we don’t want to make, one more payment for which we can’t ever reimburse ourselves.

I’ve had to really look at this idea very closely not only because I had the bright idea to pose this challenge, which meant I had to write the assignments to go with it (and do them as well), but also because my husband has been out of work for a few months now and my income has been pretty minimal as well. Lack of money always seems to make living life fully a bit problematic. Maybe that’s why the first Living Life Fully assignment I posed involved having fun with finances…

Plus, I don’t ever seem to have the time to do the things I want to do. Lack of time and money are real show stoppers when it comes to doing things you want to do, and it often seems like living fully revolves around doing things we enjoy.

That said, it seems to me that there are some very small ways in which we can begin living our lives fully every day (even with little money or time). The point is to go to bed each night and to be able to acknowledge and feel grateful about at least – at the very least – one thing we’ve done that day that made us feel happy and alive. And we can fit that thing into our busy days and into our work and into our driving kids here and there and into our paying the bills and into our conversations with others. How do we do that? I hope to explore that a bit in my blog over the next 12 months – maybe not in each blog but at least once each month as part of my own challenge.

And as part of living more fully myself, I’m committing to writing my blog more often. Writing makes me feel more alive. Writing represents my life’s purpose. When I write, I am on purpose, enlivened and energized. I want to write more! So, I can live more fully each day by committing to write more – even if it is simply by blogging.

Some small things I know I can do include walking out to my garden to see what’s growing or to pick a flower or pull a weed (or two or three); lighting a candle and incense and putting on music each morning before I begin work; taking even five minutes in the morning to write in my journal and even less in the evening to write down the things for which I’m grateful; reading even a few pages of a book each day; and saying something nice to someone I care about. These don’t sound like they’d contribute much towards living my life fully, but with the little I’ve been doing most recently they’ll make a huge difference, I’m certain.

Here are a few larger things I’m committing to do – maybe not every day but every week – so that I go to bed more often able to acknowledge that I did, indeed, live more fully:
ride my bike or walk with a friend
— spend time in conversation with God
— do something I simply want to do
— communicate honestly
And, I’ll continue taking the time to do the challenge exercises! Who wants to join me?

What’s the point of living if you aren’t living fully? God didn’t place us here on this earth in these bodies to not experience life on this plane to the fullest extent. We are meant to experience all that live has offer and that this physical plane has to offer. (Yes, that means the good and the bad.) We are meant to experience all that we can spiritually and metaphysically as well. We are meant to experience it all!

Even people in wheelchairs and with terminal illnesses can live fully in their own way. I know a woman just about the same age as I am who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. I look at her and wonder if she regrets now not having lived her life more fully. I wonder if she is living it to the fullest extent that she can now. We must all approach our lives as if today could be our last, as if this moment could be our last. By that I don’t mean we should focus on the negative, on the possibility of death being around the next corner, but rather that we should focus on doing all the things we want to do now (if we can). We shouldn’t wait.

Now, I’m not necessarily going to choose to get into more debt by taking an expensive vacation that I can’t afford, but I might take a trip to a local park for a walk. I might wear that expensive shirt that has been hanging in my closet waiting for just the right occasion to be worn – but that has only actually been worn once in 10 years (because I haven’t wanted to ruin it). I might actually write that letter to that person I admire and ask for an interview. And I might actually send out that book proposal to that publisher. And I also might talk to my husband about how we can move to the next level in our relationship. And I might actually stop work early today and go for that two-hour bike ride (rather than 30 minutes) I always wish I had time to take.

Those are all things I can do now, this moment. I don’t have to wait. And then I won’t regret not having done them. And I can go to bed knowing I lived a little more fully by doing so.

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