So… I was visiting an “assisted living” facility, a very nice one. Although the facility was fresh and new, the occupants were not. Haha. I’m not sure why I’m laughing cause I’m kinda old myself.
Behaviors for “The Good Life”
What struck me were the walkers, wheel chairs, and oxygen tubes. Actually I think what hit me hardest was that I could be only a decade or two away from that state myself, unless… I make a habit of two essential behaviors: (1) Really live life NOW—to its fullest, and (2) actively prepare my mind and body for a fun and healthy old age.
These two behaviors are essential for your “good life.”
What I’m really asking is, “How do you spend your time—working and leisure?” Time is one thing you can’t store up. When it’s gone it’s gone, when it’s here it’s here. You have no idea about your future time.
What Holds More Value: Time or Money?
If you’ve read my blogs in the past, then you know I am a huge fan of Tim Ferriss. In one of his blogs, he wrote “Whenever I succumb to social pressure to treat time as less valuable than income, or whenever I find myself agreeing to help those who make unreasonable requests on my time, I read “On The Shortness of Life,” one of Lucius Seneca‘s most famous letters.” Here’s what Seneca himself had to say…
You will hear many men saying: “After my fiftieth year I shall retire into leisure, my sixtieth year shall release me from public duties.” And what guarantee have you that your life will last longer? What foolish forgetfulness of mortality to postpone wholesome plans to the fiftieth and sixtieth year…
Tim was in his late 30’s when he wrote that, which demonstrates to me that the reality of death and old age is not reserved for the elderly.
This should be all the more reason that you and I really live during this time of life.
So what to do? How do you best use your precious time?
Deeply Consider “Time”
I know the Big 5 in my life: Pam, Austin, Baseball, Travel and Right Things. But what of the thousands of hours that are not consumed by my Big Things? Those are the times that count. Those are the times I need to be most rigorous.
“Freedom,” it has been said, “is the result of a disciplined life.” I really resonate with that idea. A disciplined life allows for “open spaces” to do whatever you want to live YOUR good life. Since a “disciplined life” feels so military, why don’t we talk about a “well-ordered life?” Planned and scheduled just enough to have lots of time for free and creative and fun opportunities.
For me, a wise balance of task lists and freedom is a necessity or else I think about tasks only and become an OCD’d, anxiety-ridden basket case. I’m sure many of you are the same. As I’ve often said, tasks and productivity do have a place in our lives, but certainly not to the extreme that comes with trying to accomplish the American Dream (whatever that may mean to you).
Instead of devoting your time to the accumulation of wealth, upscale houses and cool cars, why not really think about what the good life is for you, which might include: enjoying the time and things you have now, striving to maintain a strong personal character, and being a fun, good, and kind person. Perhaps you might consider Tony Robbins’ Simple 2: Give and Grow.
There are days you may not feel like it, but the truth is, you have oh so many opportunities to take time to do what you love. It all begins by making a Conscious Choice to… live well!
“Today” (like right now) is a perfect time to jot down some notes about the choices you want to make. For the sake of simplicity, try listing the 5 most important (and enjoyable) activities that would make your life great. I listed mine above: my wife, my son and three activities.
What are yours?
I have one additional essential ingredient for living fully for a long time. I call them my “Longevity Habits.” I know I will get old and I know I’m gonna die. I want to devote time to preparing for my old age now. I’m not about to begin that preparation at 80 years old. In fact, my whole life should be one of preparation today for a great tomorrow. I need to nurture my mind, body, and passion so that I might attain the blessing of Start Trek’s Mr. Spock when he says, “Live long and prosper.”
Here are my current Longevity Habits, which will most likely be altered with time.
- Rise early (enough)
- Morning Routine: Eat breakfast w/in 30 min after waking
- Diet: Reduce/cut carbs, fat and sugar
- Exercise: 3 days per week w/trainer and 4 days cardio on treadmill
- Read: philosophy, novels and some self-improvement
- Paint: as a way to ignite a creative spirit
I do all of these either daily or weekly (depending on the activity) and they all contribute to a good life, for a long time. I realize that as a self-employed person I do have more freedom to choose than people with a “real job,” but something like the above is fully doable for everyone. Not just doable, but essential.
So What Now?
Okay. In conclusion, let’s get real. In this little post I have suggested a lot to do. It may feel overwhelming but trust me, you can do it. For most of my life, except for reading and painting, I hated working out and eating well. For me it took getting older to bring home the truth of the choices I had to make. It’s kind of like: take time to do them and live well, or don’t do them and… who knows. But it won’t be good.
Many of you have been doing these kinds of things for years and others are like me: “Give me a cookie, a game, and something fun. Certainly not exercise.” I’ve only practiced these habits for nearly two years (I started late), but I think I just might keep it up. Who knows?
What about you?
Please don’t get caught saying, “I’ll do it when I find the time” because by then it will probably be too late.
Photo courtesy of baranozdemir at istockphoto