I recently lost someone who has been in my life for several years. My brother’s best friend, someone who has joined in several family holidays, someone who helped out not only my brother but my family in several ways, someone who was just at my house two weeks ago making plans to hike and camp. As news of his untimely death spread, memories and stories always held the same message: he lived life to the fullest. What a wonderful thing to be remembered for.
We hear this saying all the time. We read it everywhere. We strive for it. We pride ourselves in it. We inspire others to do the same. But exactly what does this phrase mean? Of course there isn’t just one simple answer to that question. Everyone’s life goals, dreams and passions are different. But somehow we all want this same thing. To know when we lay our head down at night, that we are living our life to the fullest. So, I decided to share what I think this phrase means.
We are following our passions. Our passions are those things that make us feel alive. Those hobbies, or moments, or dreams or goals that make us want to jump out of bed every morning. That make us never want to stop researching or stop learning about. Those things we can never get enough of. These passions can change as we grow, they can grow stronger as we get older, or they can be a fleeting passion that leads you to the next passion. Either way, these passions are what breathe life into us. They give us purpose.
We are being our true, authentic self. Whoa! this one is loaded. What does that even mean? Well, being our true authentic self is a constant, ongoing event. With every day that we grow, learn and live, we have the choice to listen to that little voice inside telling us who we really are. Not who we are told to be, not who we are expected to be, not even who we think we are supposed to be. But who we really are. To live life truly to the fullest we have to listen to that voice and become who we really are.
Moving forward despite our fears and doubts. Easy right? Hardly. Fears and doubts can come at any time for any situation. And they can keep us stuck indefinitely. They can keep us from becoming our true selves, from following our passions, or stop us from doing things we really want to do. Or, we can take a deep breath and we can jump anyways. Life is scary. As hell. No one can even say it isn’t. But if we are going to make the most of this life we are going to have to move through those fears, no matter how scared we are. But I promise, you won’t regret it. We’ve got this.
Living for YOU. Now, I don’t mean for you to be heartless, selfish and only think of yourself. No. I mean that this is your life. And you are the author of it. You get to decide what it is going to look like. You get to choose how you want to be remembered. If you take the time to listen to that voice I talked about earlier you will know what kind of life it is that will truly be one you can love and be proud of. Whether that is hiking, traveling, having a successful career, being a parent or a wandering nomad, this life is yours. And to truly live it to the fullest you have to live it for you. No one else. Don’t listen to what other’s opinions are of you. They aren’t your business. Live in a way that you can say to yourself every day “I am proud. Mistakes, accomplishments and lessons learned in all.”
Living life to the fullest can mean different things to everyone: jumping off cliffs, riding 100 mph down a country road, making endless memories with friends and families, reaching your goals, seeing the world. But I truly believe the concept has common ground for everyone. We all want to live this one life the best way we can. To come to the end of it and truly say “I lived.”