Most of us seem to engage in linear thinking when mulling over how we think our lives will play out. We presume we'll work until our mid to late 60s, retire, and then live another 20 to 30 years. In the meantime, we try to "live life to the fullest" by staying as busy as we possibly can -- doing everything from traveling to having more kids to working multiple jobs.
The fact is, none of us really know how long we'll be on this earth. We'd all like to think we'll live to be 90 or 100, but none of us can see into the future to know for sure.
Without getting too morbid here, I'd like to go straight to my central point in this post:
Is a good life necessarily one where you're so busy that you can't even stop to enjoy the music?
How many people do you know who still stay home on the weekends just watching movies or reading books? Do you know anyone who actually does his or her best to slow it down as opposed to getting caught up doing a million things?
This has been a recurrent theme on this blog, only because I feel so strongly that people cram too much into their lives rather than simplify them.
I have a frame hanging on my wall that says the following:
"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were big things."
A Saturday spent watching movies with your partner or friends may not seem like much; some people might even feel that would make for a boring day. But I am of a different mindset: To me, the best moments in life are those you can enjoy at a leisurely pace: a nice, quiet dinner at a restaurant; a rainy afternoon spent reading a good book at the library; a tranquil walk around the park at sundown; a relaxing evening at the opera.
Our lives are so busy and fast paced as to often preclude these kinds of sedate engagements. And that's where I think many of us are going wrong.
If you find that you're so busy that you just can't find the time to stop and take a breather, I advise you to consider putting on the brakes as of today.
Why not make the effort to reserve at least a little time each week toward activities that will let you unwind a bit -- whether it's yoga/meditation, a dip in the pool, or painting? You can start slowly by only designating 10 minutes a week for the activity, then gradually work your way up to 30 minutes, one hour, two hours, and so on.
Taking a little time each week to do this can be both physically and mentally soothing. By now, I'm sure you've come across at least one article or TV report stressing how beneficial such activities can be to your mental health.
There's nothing wrong in trying to live life to the max, but no one says that has to involve being out and about 7 days a week.
Again, we don't know how long we're going to live. But as Abraham Lincoln, arguably the best U.S. president who ever lived, once said: "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Every once in a while, slow down to savor the simple things in life.