Arianne Clement/Ground Truth

One of the best quotes I heard recently was from a lady who turned 103 and celebrated by drinking a beer. She was quoted as saying “live well and take no $h^t from anyone.” I had to laugh because, well it was downright funny, and true.

Most humor does have an element of truth in it, which is why we laugh… it’s relatable. When it comes to living a good life, and loving the life you live, our perspectives are what matter the most. This mirrors the age-old sayings of:

“Be optimistic, not pessimistic.”

“Make sure your glass is half full, not half empty.”

Certainly, how we look at our plate will be how we eat it (had to throw that one in too). But seriously, perspective is essential. There is the reality of what is going on in our lives, and some of the situations and circumstances we encounter are out of our control, but the one thing that is in our control is how we see it.

Embracing life and living it to its fullest potential is what everyone desires, yet why is it that so many people struggle with actually living it? Let’s look at the two sides of life.

Well Lived

What comes to mind when we see someone who is relatively young yet looks like ‘life has happened to them? You meet a person at an event and are thinking to yourself ‘wow, this person looks like they are in their 60’s’ and through conversation they say something like ‘turning 35 this year has been the best year of my life” [insert huge eyes here].

Typically stress and a series of bad choices will make us age quicker than we should. When we encounter various trials and struggles (whether through our own faults or being a victim of circumstances) they weigh on us. The more personal we take things and hold things the deeper they embed themselves into our psyche and the harder it is to break free. The result becomes feeling that we are worn out (well lived), thus we merely are trying to survive.

Survival should never be a long-term event in our lives. Unfortunately, for many people they establish themselves inside of survival and become well lived. The opposite of a well lived life is one we should aspire to, that of a life lived well.

Living Well

On the other end of the spectrum is that of a life well lived. This life capitalizes on the moments we experience. When we walk through life with an appreciation of where we are, what we’ve done or what we’ve come through, and have the awareness of being in a journey, our life changes.

We move from merely surviving to magnificently thriving. We realize that life is happening and is in continual motion so rather than attempting to stop it from moving we take in the journey. Imagine jumping on a train to take you to a destination and rather than looking out of the window and watching where you are going and seeing the sights along the way, you bury your head into a flyer about the destination.

Living life well is about being present, practical, and productive. Having presence is living in the awareness of reality. Being practical is understanding that we can only control what we can control.  Remaining productive is being active in the process of life.

The more aware we are, the more active we remain. We thrive. We live… well.