“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
Do you ever feel like life is passing you by?
Day after day, week after week, you go through the same routine, take care of daily hassles, and before you know it, in a flash, another year has gone by.
You didn’t make the changes or progress you wanted to make, and so you feel stuck, helpless, and dissatisfied with life.
This is a common reason people reach out to me as a coach. There’s a big gap between the life they’re living and the life they wish they had. They think their life should be different and because of this they stop celebrating the life they have.
I’m certainly a supporter of following your dreams, but just because you’re not living your dream life doesn’t mean you can’t be happy and grateful for the life you have now.
This includes the small, trivial, and subtle experiences that we encounter every day.
Life isn’t always about chasing dreams and living boldly. Sometimes the most joyful, loving, and exciting parts of life are experienced in a single moment.
Life is about the little things and learning to create positive experiences. Day by day, moment by moment, learn how to be present and appreciate what or who is right in front of you.
I want to help you celebrate life more often, regardless of what you wish was different, and to do this you need to be more intentional about how you live and what you do.
Here are five ways to get started!
1. Gratitude for the Little Things
When people are asked to think of their favorite memories, they usually remember a very significant life event. They remember graduating college, getting married, a career change, or the birth of their child.
These pivotal moments in life are certainly filled with joy, and are often what people live for, but we don’t want to overlook the moments of joy and love that we experience every day.
Appreciation for the little things can lead big results in happiness. One way to practice this is through gratitude.
Gratitude is an emotion or attitude of appreciation where we acknowledge some benefit we have received. Gratitude can revolve around anything you feel thankful for.
Start a gratitude journal and each night list 3-5 things you appreciate about you day. These can little things such as a savoring cup of coffee, a nice conversation with a stranger, or getting all green lights on your drive to work.
Focus on daily little things you are grateful for.
2. Amusement, play, and celebrations
The older we get and the more responsibility we take on, the more serious and somber life can feel. We lose touch with our innocence and forget that life is suppose to be fun.
This past year my first child was born, and yes, this has come with worry and stress, but it also helped me get back in touch with a childlike sensibility – to be playful, live joyously, and laugh more often.
It’s important to make time for play amidst the seriousness of life. This doesn’t have to be anything drastic. We can get amusement from laughing at a funny joke, watching a puppy frolic, or playing a fun game or activity.
Make the most of occasions where you get to celebrate life, such birthday parties and holidays. Give personalized gifts or surprise others with personalized balloons.
Find activities that make you laugh and where you can fool around and have fun. Celebrate the time you have and be willing to play more often.
3. A One Time Experience
If we take care of our health, and have a little luck on our side, we’ll live a long and abundant life. The reality is however, that we don’t know for sure when we will take our final breath.
I know this idea is melancholy but it can be a great exercise in living a full and meaningful life.
Here’s a scenario to consider. I want you to imagine that a doctor gave you a prognosis where you only have three months to live. (And sorry, the second and third opinions concur.)
What would change for you? How would your perspective on life change? How would you spend your time and what choices would you make?
Sure, you would feel despair and grief at first, but at some point you would decide to make the most of time you have left. You would seize the moment and do the things you’ve been wanting to do.
You would spend time with people who are important to you and let go of all of the petty judgements and grudges you’ve been clinging to.
Okay, now back to reality. You have a long life to live, and you don’t have to be on your deathbed to decide to cherish it. Live today and experience life fully right now!
4. Social connection
One of the most crucial parts of a meaningful life, is connecting with people we love and care about. If you consider the most precious memories from your life, they probably include people.
Whether you were expressing love in an intimate relationship, volunteering to help others in our community, or acting as a support system for someone we care about, there’s nothing more meaningful than social connection and contribution.
Relationship aren’t always easy but they can help bring the best out in us. We can learn to be more vulnerable and love more deeply. We can share in our life’s accomplishments and create a legacy where we help people long after we’re gone.
That’s certainly something to celebrate.
5. Curiosity and new discoveries
Wherever you’re reading this, I want you to pause and take a few minutes to observe your surroundings. Notice what’s happening. What colors, shapes, textures, or patterns do you see? Do you notice anything new? Be curious and see if you can look at the world through a fresh perspective. Find something you’ve never noticed before.
Being curious and seeking out new and interesting information can increases positive emotions and enhance life-satisfaction. Learning or discovering new things is a great way to shake up the same old routine and give us a sense of zest.
When you hear that new favorite song for the first time, eat at a breathtaking restaurant, or learn an awesome fact, such as how Octopuses can taste with their arms, you have a perfect opportunity to be with the wonder and inspiration that life has to offer.
Be curious and seek out the magnificence all around you.
Life is meant to be celebrated!
It’s vital that we remind ourselves of the value of life and why it’s worth celebrating, especially when we’re feeling down. Stress, pressure, and busy schedules can get the best of us and make us forget to treasure life.
Whenever you feel discouraged that you aren’t reaching your goals and aspirations, remember that you can still find contentment and joy in the moment.
Reach out to loved one’s or do something kind for someone else. Remind yourself to be grateful for the little things and chose to have fun.