How to Lead a Full Life

Guest post by Randy Freed

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Here’s a little list of suggestions for my grandchildren on how to life live fully every day:

  • First, cultivate a rich inner life and a rich outer life
    • Expose yourself to lots of ideas. Read plenty of good books
    • Marinate your soul in natural beauty. Get outside and smell the roses, and look at the sunrises and sunsets.
    • Take up music or drawing or some other way to get your creative juices flowing.
    • Get some exercise in a way that’s fun for you, and that you can do all your life. Keeping your body in tune is very good for the soul and the mind.
    • Plan adventures – look forward to ‘em. Having them in your future lends some excitement and anticipation to the days that are mostly drudgery, because it makes the drudgery worthwhile.
  • Second, risks and changes are scary, but they make life interesting.
    • Take some risks, but please don’t be too wild.
    • Embrace change, or at least shake hands with it.
    • A full life has lots of mistakes. When you make ‘em, don’t judge yourself too harshly. Instead, learn from them, and put ‘em behind you.
  • Third, try to do some good every day.
    • Pass along good deeds; when somebody helps you out, pay it forward.
    • Doing for others makes the world a better place and makes your life fuller. It also gets you outside your own head.
    • See the good in people, even when that’s hard.
  • Fourth, put lots of energy into your relationships.
    • Relationships are essential for living fully. A supporting network really really helps.
    • Understand that you are a link in a chain, and the chain is supposed to last forever; the chain is more important than you are. Family – and community – are very important for leading a full life. And so, my young relative, remember that it’s all relative.
    • Don’t burn bridges – hopefully you’ll live a long life, and there’s a good chance that you’ll encounter some of the same people again and again.
  • Fifth, manage your expectations.
    • Keep your expectations low. It’s fine to expect a lot of yourself, but please understand that life doesn’t owe you anything, and most other people are far too pre-occupied with themselves to offer much help in living your life fully.
    • Even though I’m urging you to live every day fully, you should expect that most days will be filled with the normal routine. Odds are that your normal routine is pretty comfortable compared to what most of the rest of the world endures, and compared to what most of your ancestors experienced. You should appreciate that.
  • That brings me to number 6: spend some time each day being grateful for what you have. Keep in mind that when things are bad, they’ll get better, and when things are good, you should appreciate them.
  • And finally: it’s very hard to live life fully. It’s very easy to live life fully. It’s very Zen to live life fully.

Love, Grandpa