October 16, 2013

How to Get a Life in 3 Easy Steps.

Photo: mollybob on Flickr.

Get a life!

Many of us are familiar with this expression and may have had it said to us at some point in our lives. While this is often said in a derogatory or less-than-flattering matter, the truth is all of us need a life or more accurately, a life with value that’s worth living.

While trying to determine what actually gives our lives value and makes a life worth living is ultimately up to each individual; there are steps we can take to make that determination easier.

The following types are designed not only to help us get a life but more importantly, get a life that allows each of us to live to our fullest:

1. Get out and have interests outside of work, school, and your significant other.

Whether it’s movies, collecting stamps or fan fiction, everyone has stuff they are interested in. Exploring interests is a great way to determine the sort of the things we like.

Don’t make the mistake in thinking that interests have to be high-brow, esoteric things. Sometimes, the simplest things in life are the ones that give people the most satisfaction.

It doesn’t matter if our friends, partners, etc. don’t share our interests. In fact, I think everyone should have an interest that is completely about themselves, and no one else in their life.

Also, if you are fortunate enough to channel your interests into a sustainable profession, then congratulations! You are already luckier than the majority of people around you.

2. Recognize and take advantages of opportunities around you.

A lot of times, there are opportunities around us that we fail to take advantage of simply because we don’t know they are opportunities.

Consider a job layoff or a break-up: anyone who has experienced either knows that they are no fun to go through, however, great opportunities or the potential for opportunity arises from such things.

For example, I have a friend who, in the course of a year, ended a relationship and left a stable job due to burn-out. Finding herself alone and jobless for the first time in nearly two decades, she decided her real passion was mind/business and moved across country to open a yoga studio. While this is a pretty extreme example, my point is sometimes even stressful, unpleasant things can yield opportunities, including those that help us decide what we really want out of life or motivate us to start living the life we want.

3. Don’t obsess over “getting a life.”

Many people I know feel that unless they are saving the world or are at the top of their profession, they aren’t really living.


The fact is, few people go on to make history or are talked about years after they have died. However, that doesn’t mean that so-called “anonymous” people don’t have rich, fulfilling lives. They do. Often those with rich, interesting inner lives are not immediately identifiable.

One of my personal favorite examples of that is Henry Darger, an Illinois janitor, who upon his death was discovered to have written and illustrated an epic, unfinished story centered around a bunch of child heroines called “The Vivian Girls.”No one seemed to have any idea about this man’s rich inner life. To most, he was merely an eccentric and a none-too-successful one at that.

His story proves that there is often far more to most people than meets the eye.

Getting a life is easier than most of us realize.

One of the biggest mistakes I have found is thinking that having a life means it must be grand or something that everyone knows about. As the above examples show, that needn’t be the case at all.

Feeling satisfied, creative, happy, etc. is the very definition of having a life. It also means different things to different people.

The sooner we all realize that, the sooner we all will “get a life.”


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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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