Then there are things we do that are so enjoyable as to be irresistibly invigorating.
They are the things we immerse ourselves in wholeheartedly. We'd gladly do them for free any day of the week. We'd take time off work to do them.
As I've noted in prior posts, I feel most alive when learning something pertaining to the subjects I'm most passionate about (history and psychology). I love to read, write, and lose myself in concepts and theory.
History allows me to picture what it was like to live in earlier times. Psychology gives me the satisfaction of probing into that complex labyrinth we call the human mind.
Here are a few examples of things people have told me gives them the ultimate sense of joy and fulfillment:
- Having sex (you knew that was coming)
- Getting their hands dirty (e.g., fixing cars, working on the yard, home improvement projects
- Writing poetry, painting, or engaging in other artistic activities that allow freedom of expression and creativity
- Doing volunteer work
- Traveling around the world
- Spending lavishly on expensive things they don't need
- Exercising/working out
- Nature (e.g., trees, wildlife, and the ocean)
Whatever your passion, it's a safe bet you enjoy it in part because it affords you a refreshing sense of freedom. Unlike our jobs, which tend to inhibit creativity and impose countless parameters on us, we view these as a pleasant escape from the day-to-day drudgery of meetings and TPS reports.
Mentally, we're in a different -- and better -- place while indulging in these activities, and it's all the more reason to make as much time for them as we can. A good life is defined not by how many years we live but what we do in it. Indeed, quality trumps quantity.
What do you feel most alive doing, and why?