I found this cartoon on line today and posted it on Facebook. After thinking about it I realized that money was the only motivation I’ve ever had for working. If I could have gotten away with not working, I would have. Am I lazy? No, I’m not. It’s just that I’ve always had so many things I wanted to do, to experience, and working always seemed to get in the way of doing those things. Working also afforded me the ability to do most of those things so it was a necessary evil. As the title of this post proclaims, life is for living. Seems obvious I suppose but think about all the time we spend working, budgeting, and planning instead of doing. We work all year so we can take a two week vacation. Doesn’t seem right, does it?
This is why I say, life is for living. We should be enjoying life, no matter what we’re doing. We should be doing those enjoyable things to the best of our ability. Each day we do enjoyable things, but do we really put forth the effort to enjoy them. One of the things I like to do is drink tea. Many people like coffee, but I like tea. What I have done to help me enjoy tea is to learn about it. I’ve read the history of tea, where it came from, where it’s grown, how it’s processed and by whom. Many might find this boring but I find it fascinating. You can certainly enjoy a good cup of tea without knowing anything about it, but I think it adds to the enjoyment to know where in the world it came from, how many people it took to pick, process, package, and ship it to me. Also, practicing mindfulness while I drink my tea, meaning concentrating on the tea as I drink it, instead of thinking about my shopping list, helps to enjoy it much further.
The simple act of enjoying things we do, really thinking about what we’re doing as we do it, can be done any time, all day long. We don’t have to wait until we’re retired to enjoy life. We can enjoy it right now. Just sitting in front of a window with a good cup of coffee, before starting your day can make all the difference in how your day might go. We spend so much time rushing around, cleaning house, paying bills, raising children, etc., etc., that we forget to enjoy our lives. More often than not, when you meet someone, you get asked, “What do you do?” meaning, what kind of job do you have? We work so much of our lives that our jobs define who we are. We want to know what other people do so as to compare our own lives to theirs. We feel that more money defines a better life. We think that more money means more satisfaction, but is that really reality? If it is, we’re doing it wrong. We should be enjoying life no matter what kind of job we have, no matter the level of education we have.
I’ve done some pretty crappy jobs over the years, dirty physical labor. I didn’t go to college until I was forty five. I did whatever I had to do to make a living. When I went to college I chose a medical field because I felt I could help people live better. I loved it but it didn’t stop me from retiring as soon as I was able. One of the things I’ve always done is made sure I enjoyed whatever I was doing, at work and away. I tried to find the best things about working, about raising a family, and about everything else in my life and concentrated on them. I like to drink tea, so I buy the best quality tea I can afford. Why? Because I want to enjoy drinking tea as much as possible. And that goes for everything. Live the best life you can live within the means that you have. A good job, the best tea, the greatest car, will not bring you happiness. Only how you think about these things, your attitude about them and about life will bring happiness. You can be happy with a crappy car. Our appreciation of what we have and how we live is the greatest gift to ourselves we can ever give. It is also the greatest gift we can give to others.