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Getting The Most Out Of Life

How is today different from any other day? Will it be another in an endless series of wake up, drink coffee, work, listen to horrible news on NPR driving home, have a stiff drink and conk out in front of the TV? Will this be another week of looking at the calendar and hoping the weekend comes sooner than it will? Of dreaming and fantasizing about the next exotic vacation you won’t be able to afford?

Your day doesn’t have to be consumed with trying to squeeze every last drop out of a used-up lemon. Take chances, take risks and open your eyes to the kumquats, kiwis and other exotic fruit available in the marketplace of experiences. Here are some pointers for getting the most out of life.

Experience the full range of your senses.

We’re so used to seeing what we usually see, and hearing what we usually hear as we go through our days. But to fully experience life you need to utilize your senses in ways that you never have before. Try walking down the street with your eyes shut but your ears open. Everything around you will seem completely new. OK, you may walk into a telephone pole and trip over a fire hydrant. Also other pedestrians may call you names that you haven’t heard since you cheated on your last girlfriend. But you’ll get a chance to experience being in the moment, living life to the fullest and possibly even what it feels like to step into an open manhole. You’ll be making this walk as unforgettable as that college roommate who sprinkled itching powder in all your underwear.

Experience the full range of your emotions.

On a routine day we do everything in our power to control our feelings. Maybe you feel mildly annoyed at your children for not getting out of bed or slightly impatient as you wait in the morning traffic jam for the light to change for the third time. You’re mildly disappointed when you look in your email box and see that it is filled with work assignments and the junk mail that somehow always makes it through the spam filter no matter how many times you mark letters from as spam.

But if you allow yourself to fully get in touch with your emotions the day could be totally transformed. Instead of the mild relief from hunger you feel when you gnaw on one of those brick hard biscottis with your decaf soy latte, you could be dunking a chocolate covered glazed with sprinkles into a cup of fresh ground Ethiopian French Press. Instead of holding yourself in check and getting a headache when your boss tells you the deadline on the Jones account has been moved up from the end of the month till the end of today, no matter how late you have to stay, you could get in touch with your anger and frustration and really let the old bean counter have it. Release that fury, resentment and pent-up aggravation and tell the SOB where he can stick his Excel spreadsheet. And as you’re walking out the office door with your family photos and monogrammed coffee mug in a cardboard box think how good you’ve made all of your co-workers feel to finally hear someone express what they’ve all told you they feel but were too afraid to ever say to his face.

Now instead of feeling bored, discouraged, and restless, worrying that you may be stuck in the same dead-end job for the next 30 years, you can feel panicked and terrified that once the story of you throwing your laptop through the conference room window while the boss was meeting with his bankers begins making the rounds you may never be hired for a job in your field again.

Get in touch with your deepest needs.

Before today the corporate overlords had you convinced that what you needed to be happy was the right beer, the right toothpaste, and prescriptions for Viagra, Prozac, and Lipitor. But after the profound experiences of a day fully lived you realize that what you really need is peace, beauty, and a friend who will let you sleep on their couch after the landlord evicts you. What you are really longing for is honesty, respect, and someone who will love you enough to bail you out after the police find you swimming in the city pool naked. What would really give meaning to your life is kindness, compassion, and the opportunity to help others not make the same stupid mistakes you’ve made. But in the meantime you can be thankful for a warm cot, three squares a day, and a window that looks out onto the exercise yard.


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