There's a message building inside of me to try and help calm the storms of life, to try and navigate the circumstances and squeeze the very last ounce of fun out of time here.
This will probably end up being put into book form, as the more I think about it, the most this huge topic is unfolding. The last few years I've witnessed in my own life a mix of things, bereavement, illness, debt, argument, mis-carriage, lonliness, loss of friendship as well as the positives; travel, fun, family, love, exercise, healthy eating, new technology....
I guess everyone will have their own things which might be considered as negatives in life and other things which might be considered positive.
A ted talk I watched the other day made a link poverty (whether financial or emotional) had a direct impact on a persons cognitive ability, in-fact there is a temporary dip in a persons IQ, when they are faced with a lack of what they value. Of course the video focussed on money and made a convincing argument that society advances far quicker if its members are wealthy than not. I could have told them that !!
As I've travelled around, read the news, engaged with people and heard the issues in life they have, the biggest issues always seem to be in the areas of relationship, finances or ill health. I would say those three points touch probably 90% of the problems people face.
Then this One Life message started to emerge. In my own marriage I found myself sometimes saying 'We only have One Life', or 'We might never do this again'. They were times when we were going to put off going on holiday because finance was short or making decisions with our diet to improve health etc. The point was looking out from a realisation that we only have this one life to live we would likely do some things differently.
I'm a committed Christian and that in it self brings some plusses to the discussion. Having faith can help anyone get through the storms.
I've listed below a few questions to ask yourself, the same kind of questions I've asked myself.
1) . DEBT - Do I plan to be in debt the whole of my life ?
2). FAMILY - Is arguing with a family member just to be right worth it ?
3). BUCKET LIST - Have you written that list of things you want to do ?
4). HEALTH - If you have an illness which could be improved because of the food you eat - would you do it ?
5). EXERCISE - Do you do enough / any ?
6). TRAVEL - Have you been to all the places you would like to visit ?
7). FUN - Do you have moments anymore when you laughed so long and hard your sides hurt and your eyes watered ?
8). PRAYER - Is Prayer a fleeting moment or do you make taking your life before God a key practice for each day ?
9). LEARNING - Do you set aside time to learn something new every day ?
10). SERVING - What do you do for others which brings you no benefit ?
11). FRIENDSHIP - How many friends do you have that would help you through a rough patch ?
12). CLUTTER - when did you last de-clutter your office, living space, bedroom to bring some focus back to life.
13). GIVING - Whether money or time, what do you invest in ?
14). LEGACY - What do you intend to be remembered for ?
I've thought of even more points just writing this.
Personally I tend to go through this process around Christmas time each year. To close the old year off, whether it's been bad or good, and then ask some strong questions for the coming year. It is NOT a list of new years resolutions, but most certainly puts a plan in place of the kind of things I or we as a family want to progress through the year.
Answering these tough but sensible questions honestly brings a massive shift in some issues. For example, is it worth the emotional stress to fall out with a best friend and then walk around your own mind, convincing yourself you are right and they are wrong ? If a friendship has lasted for years, go sort it out, the peace you will feel in that process is bigger than the hurt you could carry for years.
We have One Life, one period, one season of influence on this place called Earth. For many the combination of not being in control of four or five areas of life is totally paralyzing. Often in itself leading to illness and fatigue.
Many people when they have low self esteem or depression, over eat, drink too much, take drugs, medicate. I wonder how much pain would simply drop away if we started to deal with the issues behind the list I've written above.
Of course there will be folk, who will throw a stone at this point and say I don't understand how hard it is, or you don't live I live. I could and in the past have said the same.
Let me ask the final question. If you could do just three things from the list above and push yourself to sort those areas of life out - would you see some improvement or benefit ?
At the very least why not chat through those 14 points with a friend or two and see if you could buddy up with someone and do it together.
You have One Life to Live - Live it.