How To Create A Meaningful Existence

Posted on October 18th, 2010 by Colin and is posted in Growth

                                                                  How To Create A Meaningful Existence                                

If you knew tomorrow was going to be your last day, what would you do right now?

Pause and think about that for a moment…

It’s all to easy to forget how fleeting life is. Life gives us no guarantees. We could possibly be here until we’re a 100 years of age or we could die in our twenties or thirties. Sharon, my sister was in her forties.

The truth is we just don’t know.

Most of us have a tendency to seduce ourselves into believing that we have all of the time we need. We live on an island called, “some day I’ll.” Some day we will get around to doing what the heart desires. We hesitate, procrastinate and put off the things that are most important to us.

Let me start by asking a few big questions:

  • If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you have any regrets?
  • Are there things you wish you had done?
  • People you would want to say something loving to?
  • Places you’ve not got around to visiting?
  • What would your primary feeling be? Would you feel sad for all of the things you did not do?

By the way, I’m not referring to major accomplishments like climbing Mount Everest. I mean the smaller, much more precious moments life gives us. Would you regret not spending more time together with your children or spouse? Giving them that extra kiss or cuddle! Would you feel a degree of disappointment that you never signed up for painting lessons you’ve always wanted to take, or never wrote that book that resides in your heart?

Lets take a walk down memory lane just for a moment. Think back to your childhood. Notice how slowly time appeared to move back then? Remember how men and women in their twenties appeared old, and people in their thirties and forties appeared positively ancient?

I remember my grandad telling me a long time ago that the older you get, the faster time seems to go. I did not understand him at the time. I was too young to get it!

Now, to my astonishment, more than 35 years have passed since my grandad told me this. 35 years!!!! How is that possible? Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday I left school and had my entire life ahead of me. He was right! Time genuinely does seem to move faster as you get older.

Note to self. I must tell my own grandchildren when I have them. *grin*

So, how can we live our lives in a way that leaves us with fewer regrets?

It certainly appears that life has gotten very busy for most of us. How do we find the time and energy to do what genuinely matters to us? Many of us still have to work. Even if we don’t work we’ve still got responsibilities and demands on our time. So, is filling up our daily planners with meaningful “stuff” actually the answer?

No, I don’t believe so.

If I’ve learnt one major lesson from losing my sister Sharon it’s this…

The answer is not doing more, but rather, fully appreciating the lives we’ve got now.

Of course we should follow our heart felt dreams and engage in enjoyable (or smile on) actions. Go on! Sign up for those painting lessons. If you have got a love story begging to be written, write it!

But please understand this….

Adding more of these activities alone won’t transform our entire lives.

What transforms our lives is how present we are in our day to day tasks that fill our time. Whatever we are engaged in we should immerse ourselves totally in it. If we are working, work. If we are playing, play. If we are with our loved ones, be! Laugh, play have fun and let them know how special and appreciative we are of them.

Something I need to be reminded of is when the working day is over, make sure its also over in my mind. The lesson is to give whatever we are doing our full attention, effort and passion rather than being mentally in one place and physically in another.

Sharon has reminded me to open my spiritual eyes, to be in the moment and suck out of the moment everything it has to give. Let it refresh and invigorate me. To take frequent moments throughout the day to breathe, really feel, and just be. Rather than being in the fog of rush, to take to time awaken and enjoy.

The question I am constantly asking myself:

Am I engaging meaningfully in life NOW?

It’s sad but its all too easy to sleep walk through the best parts of our lives. Lets cherish each second we have on this earth. Live with awe, joy and passion. Cram as much love, fun and happiness into our lives as we possibly can.

Then, when regret wants to take up some emotional space , there’s simply no room for it to do so.

If you like this post give it some Facebook love and leave me a comment. Let me know what you think!

This entry was posted on Monday, October 18th, 2010 at 5:54 pm and is filed under Growth. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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    Take a look at some of the responses we have had to this article.

    1. Oct 19th

      Hi Colin,

      Thank you for sharing your insights and making Sharon’s passing such a positive opportunity for others to learn “life lessons” from.
      My father died at 65 in April 2002 of heart disease and my mother at the age of 61 dropped dead of a brain aneurysm 5 months later. I’m 50 next year and you can bet that after 2002 my definition of “Meaningful Existence” changed completely, as has my life.

      Here’s to the greatest life coach,


    2. Colin
      Oct 19th

      Hi Ian, thanks for sharing. I love that…here’s to the greatest life coach, LIFE! So true.

    3. Oct 20th

      Colin, great post

      As you know, being present & focussed on now is the essence of improv – great advice both on stage and in life.

      Hope you’re doing ok

    4. Colin
      Oct 21st

      Hi Sita, yes I agree. What improv teaches are great life skills. I had forgotten about that! Thanks for the reminder.

    5. Louise
      Nov 1st

      Hi Colin,

      Being fully present and not busyng myself is the hardest taks for me. Thank you for reminding me how important it is just to be fully present with those you love.

    6. Colin
      Nov 1st

      Hi Louise. If we are honest I think its one of the hardest tasks for most of us to live. The mind wants to be anywhere other than the present. Thanks for dropping by. cx

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