Are the living dead among us?
Reportedly, their epitaph reads, “Here lies J. Doe: Dead at 30, buried at 79.” Far too many people report their lives as “SSDD” (Same Stuff, Different Day) kind of living.
I was reminded of this in a talk by Rev. Dr. Kenn Gordon. I resonated deeply with his words as they reminded of my earlier years. In living the life I thought was expected of me, I failed to create the life I wanted to live. I felt like a mere spectator in my own life instead of a conscious creator.
It was a good enough life—routine but wholly uninspiring.
As Gordon shared, it’s so easy to put your life aside and continue to trudge, work and not realize there’s another way. I was so busy making a living I neglected to make a life filled with meaning, purpose and happiness. Even things meant to be joyful quickly turned into sacrifice as I lived this way.
My precious father’s words haunted me as he reflected on his own life in his later years. He’d worked hard during his life, dedicated to his work and providing for his family. We had a good life and he was a good father, yet he’d let go of his own hopes and aspirations.
In his final years, he regretted not spending his energy on what mattered most and lamented, “if only I’d known how little it all mattered, I’d never have lived my life the way I did.”
That broke my heart.
His words were a rich gift, waking me up and causing me to question the way I was living. I’m deeply grateful for waking up to the possibility and importance of actually living my life rather than letting life live me. I alone get to choose the way I live my life. It’s up to me.
Life’s demands have a way of pulling us off balance and out of alignment with our own values and intentions for living if we’re not awake.
Haunted by my father’s words, I began to ask myself if I was spending time and energy on those things I valued most. I was not and it was time for change. Waking up to new possibility and learning to question the status quo changed everything for me. Taking time to reflect on my own values and intentions for living was key. Having my life reflect my values is important to me and has helped me live life on purpose.
Establishing a personal vision for our lives reminds us of the reason, or the “why” behind everything we do. What do I want my life to stand for? In taking responsibility for the choices I’d made, I recognized I’m always at a point of making a new choice. Realigning my life with my deepest values and intentions caused many things to fall away and brought new life to those things that remained.
Creating a life vision and living an intention-filled life isn’t a once-and-done event. As our lives change and we evolve, it’s a wonderful idea to revisit and re-set our life vision periodically. As we cast a new vision; this brings deeper meaning and purpose to our lives. I’ve just recently set a new vision for my life, and it’s been invigorating and enlivening.
For many years now I’ve lived an uncommon life. I could not have imagined 25 years ago the rich life I’m living today and the opportunities I’m afforded. I’ve discovered aspects of myself I never knew were there.
What’s your vision for your life? What’s waiting to be born through your living? What will your epitaph say?
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.