Most people think that the ‘fullest’ life is one in which you take every day of your life – each minute in each hour – and you do something novel with it.
You have to try something new, experience something different, go somewhere you’ve never been before, eat something amazing.
What’s more, you see other people’s carefully curated social media updates and believe that this is how they really live their lives.
But… it’s just too much to expect.
Life doesn’t happen like that.
Not every moment can be a pinnacle of pleasure. You can’t spend your entire life at great heights of excitement and enjoyment.
A ‘full’ life doesn’t have to be a bad aim, so long as the picture of ‘full’ you have in your mind is one of your own making.
And so long as that picture includes the essential day-to-day activities such as work, household chores, and any other duties you have.
A ‘full’ life can include routine. A ‘full’ life can include the ordinary.
These are not things that should be resisted. As soon as you resist something, you remove any and all satisfaction you may get from it.
When you find satisfaction – even a level of enjoyment – in the everyday, you have less need to fill it with other things.
When you understand that life IS the biggest adventure of all, you won’t obsess so much about what else you could be spending your time doing.
When you place a value on the time you spend working or tidying up or even just reading a book, you give value to your whole life… not just the exciting bits.
What’s important is that you don’t allow other people to define what it means to live your life to the fullest.
That’s like going to a restaurant and letting someone else choose from the menu for you.
You may end up feeling full by the end, but you won’t be nearly as satisfied with the meal as if you’d made your own choice.
You may even feel uncomfortably full because you’d have preferred something a little lighter and less substantial.
Your ‘full’ doesn’t have to look the same as someone else’s ‘full’ and it certainly doesn’t have to fit society’s model.
In fact, if you model your life on these external visions of ‘full’ and adopt their principles, you’re actually living a very constrained life.
You are being told what’s right and what’s worth doing and you don’t have much say in matters.
So, perhaps your ‘full’ does include adventures in foreign countries and dinners out with friends on weeknights…
…but perhaps it doesn’t.
And if it does, you don’t only view these times as being of substance. You include the ordinary in your definition.
This might even allow you to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal and an evening watching your favorite shows, rather than thinking that this is a waste of your precious time.
Your definition of ‘full’ is fluid and just because you thought you ought to be doing X at one point in your life, it doesn’t mean this will still be the case a few months or years along your journey.
Your definition may even include turning inward at times to really get to know yourself – your true essence – and to develop and grow spiritually.
That alone may help you see how full your life is already. You may find that what matters most to you is enjoying the life you have rather than constantly wishing for a life you don’t have.
Just imagine your life as a bubble with you at the center. If that bubble is filled with things you want to do and things you think you should do, you won’t have any room in which to move.
Every which way you turn, you’ll be faced with things to do and see and experience. You won’t be able to just enjoy your space in the bubble and be at peace.
And by keeping back some empty space, you give yourself the flexibility to react to what life brings your way.
You aren’t hung up on a rigid vision of how to fill your time and life. You can take things as they come and make some decisions on an ad hoc basis rather than having everything planned.
A more flexible approach is also far better for your relationships. It won’t be a case of thinking your partner is holding you back – you’ll be able to see how your life and theirs can compliment each other.
You will have space to share their interests and passions… if you wish to.
And you won’t be so hard on those who aren’t trying to cram pack their lives with adventure and excitement. Because you’ll be one of them!
You won’t judge them – you’l accept that they are living their version of a ‘full’ life while you are living yours.
You’ll also find the present moment is far more accessible to you because you won’t always be wishing away the hours and days until something exciting or enjoyable comes along.
The question, then, is which version of a ‘full’ life would you prefer?
The full life in which you are always looking for the next exciting experience to bring you satisfaction.
Your full life in which you can find satisfaction even in your everyday routine and duties while still enjoying adventures from time to time.
A life truly lived to the fullest is one in which you can end each and every day feeling that it was a day well lived.