I recently turned 40 and have been taking stock of my life—where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to go. It’s been both challenging and energizing. Maybe you can relate? To be honest, I’m in process, but thought I would share my current thoughts about ways to live a life worth living. Here’s my list:
- Invest in the mundane. I tend to want to avoid things like doing dishes, changing diapers, taking out the trash, and helping to make dinner. But doing mundane tasks builds a character that’s other-focused and helpful.
- Read more. I heard recently that the typical college grad doesn’t read after college. Bill Gates never graduated, but carries (and constantly reads) three bags of books with him as he travels! Which one is better?
- Exercise regularly. I know everyone says this. But it’s true. Without being intentional, I sit in front of a computer all day long. I recently joined Gymnazo to be intentional about working out 3-4 times a week.
- Invest in people. It’s easy to spend the day focused on getting tasks done. But I’ve noticed days where I make time to be with people and listen to them and hear their stories are better.
- Eat well. I’m not a foody. I hate kale and kombucha. Still, I know that eating predominantly yellow—especially processed food (french fries, chips, cookies, pasta)—isn’t good for me. I need to eat foods that are green and blue and purple in much higher quantities than I prefer. So do you.
- Share. I’ve noticed the people I regard most highly are those who share kindness, contacts and knowledge most freely (for more see Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders).
- Commit to growth. If you think you avoid challenges, you think effort is a waste of time, or you take criticism personally, then you’re a lot like me—and many others! We want to prove ourselves. Read Mindset and let Stanford professor Carol Dweck inspire you to grow.
- Block out Sabbath time. We all need time to re-focus, rejuvenate, relax and re-energize. Schedule this time into your week. First.
- Work smarter not harder. Working hard is good, not enough. You need a team to help you—whether at work, or at home, or in your personal life. Life is a team sport. There’s a reason Ecclesiastes says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Eccl 4:9-10)
- Change your story. As Americans we live by a story where we make ourselves the star of the show. Its true that we face challenges, but through the pursuit of our dreams we can finally create the kind of life we always wanted. The Bible tells a different story. It says Jesus is the star of the show. We rebelled against him, but he is pursuing us to create the kind of life we really need—one that surpasses the life we always wanted. And it will last forever. This story humbles me, but it frees me (and you!) to join Him in a life worth living.
Question: What would make your list of ways to live a life worth living? You can leave a comment below.