Five Tips for Living More Fully
The average life expectancy is higher now than it ever has been in history. In the last 100 or so years, average life expectancy has increased by about 30 years. But instead of utilizing all the amazing ways we could live our whole lives, so many people decide to overwork themselves until they reach retirement, waiting to live fully until after the point that they are old, tired, and done working. And frankly, that is not the way to have a fulfilling life.
So let’s look at five facets of life that you should be using, no matter what age you are, to improve the quality of your life, and help you live a truly fulfilling life.
Education doesn’t stop when you finish high school, or college, or post grad, etc. Education is a lifelong thing, especially with the rate of change today. We should constantly be learning, whether that’s learning to utilize new technologies, learning a new language, or learning about world events or hobbies or cultures or any other thing out there. Learning doesn’t mean that you have to return to formal schooling at any point later in your life (though of course, you could if you want to). But it might just mean reading, or trying something new. We never want to fall into that old routine of never expanding our horizons beyond what we already know.
Work does not have to be that daily grind, every single day from age 22 to 65. You need balance in your life. Maybe that’s working really hard for a little while, and then taking a year or two off to catch your breath, to travel, to spend time with your young children, or anything like that. Instead of work, work, work, seven days a week until you’re age 65 and exhausted, why not take a break if you sell your company at age 45 or something? Take a couple of years, get your feet underneath you again, and then go back to work for a while.
And when you do re-enter the workforce, you have to think about appropriate roles. As we age, we tend to have less energy, less burning ambition than we did when we were younger. But you still have lots of things you can deliver. You may want to look at different role options that fit your energy as you age.
Likewise, work-life balance is extremely important. Maybe you feel happier when you are working four longer days, and get three days off per week. Maybe taking a few smaller vacations every year is better for you than taking one big one. Or maybe you just need to turn off your phone, stop checking your email, and leave your work for the next day once you clock out. Don’t let work be your whole life.
In that same vein, maintain your hobbies. If you don’t have hobbies outside of work, get some. There’s a lot of fun, fulfilling things you could do. Also, accept invitations. Get out, meet people, talk to people, interact with people, see what is going on in their lives. Learn about them. Don’t just sit at home in front of the TV or the computer. Get out and accept invitations, take opportunities, mix with other people, share in their lives. You will grow from their experiences, and they will also benefit from all of the tremendous experiences that you have.
Knowledge transfer is more important than ever in your families and in your business. You have probably created really solid and efficient ways of doing things, but you’ve probably never cataloged how you do them. It’s all saved in your head. So now is the time to start writing all of that down, whether that’s on paper or in some electronic format, so that the people who work with you can learn from the vast experience and the vast quality of productivity you’ve had over the course of your career.
And honestly, this applies to both your business and to your family. You have to transfer that knowledge, and teach and record things, and make them a part of your company and your family culture. Ensure that everyone in your company, all your service advisors, technicians, managers, etc, whatever role they are in, are doing things in a similar way, so that you assure that your customers get a consistent quality experience. And with respect to your family, go beyond the important data for finances and such, and record your memories, too, so that you don’t risk losing those aspects of your family history. Write all of it down so that it’s saved for your children or other future generations.
Your health is such an important aspect of living a fulfilled life. There’s that old saying, “if I knew I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself.” Well, you are going to live a long time, unless something crazy happens. So, you have to think about your health. You have to think about how you eat. You have to think about exercise. Honestly, you should even think about your appearance as far as your clothes go.
If you haven’t updated your wardrobe in 10 years, go shopping. Shave, get a haircut. Part of aging gracefully is staying in touch with the current styles. That doesn’t mean you should dress like a high schooler or college student, but if you wear clothes 20 years out of date, you’re going to look artificially older than you are.
The fifth and final aspect of leading a fulfilled life is laughter. It’s incredible how sometimes, you meet someone and realize how little humor some people have in their lives. Let positivity and laughter into your life. Maybe there’s someone in your family who always makes you smile or laugh. And if not, find somebody in your community, or your rotary club, or your church. Find people that make you laugh and spend time around them. Then spend some time with young people, whether that’s in your family, like your kids or grandkids, or whether that’s volunteering to help out with youth organizations. They have new ways of looking at things that, even if they don’t intend to make you laugh, they probably will. Get a dog or a cat, and your furry friend will make you laugh every day. Find ways to laugh, and you’ll stay young forever, and your life will feel so much more full.