I was reading the introduction of “The Little Book of Lykke” (pronounced loo-ka) on a Jetblue plane to Texas when my mind latched onto the phrase, “quality of life.” Here in the states, these three words are used in connection to illness, or more specifically, hospice, when doctors and family members congregate to improve the quality of a person’s remaining days alive. The truth that we all know and barely mention in polite conversation, is that any day may be our final day. Why do we wait until the very end to have a real discussion about quality of life? Why not create quality of life right now, a quality of life that we can take with us to our finals days, that we can appreciate right here in the present while we are healthy enough to truly maximize that time?
It is simple to romanticize the future, yet the truth is that life is not perfect, nor is it always happy. It is easy to picture that I will be happier in the future, but even knowing that I want to live my absolute best life right now does not mean that I will not have my sad days, boring days, lazy days, angry days, or disappointments. Creating a better life for myself does not mean suddenness; being or having it all without any negative events or emotions.
I am under no illusion that I will have the perfect career, the best relationship, that I will be super fit or healthy or happy, and that every area of my life will be successful just because I want it to be, that I plan for it, or even if I work non-stop to make it happen. The ups and downs in life are not always in our control. But quality I can do. Even if I am “wasting” my time, every day my life is full of my own choices, and none of those choices are a waste if I am making an intentional decision to do what I want to do with that time.
Time is a resource we can never buy in bulk, replace, or take back. Quality of life comes down to how we spend this valuable resource. Of course, sometimes we do have to do things we do not want to. Most of us learn this early on in our childhoods. However, as adults, I feel that many of us have been conditioned to accept conditions we do not want or need to, simply because we fell that we have to.
It took me a really bad year, after several consecutive low years in my life, to realize that everything I was now feeling from unhappiness at the situation taking place from a bully at work, the stress of my messy apartment, grief I was feeling over a loss of a loved one, and the lack of time and money I felt, was in large part due to the choices I had been making, even if they were the choices that I had been conditioned to believe I had to accept. Choices like the career ladder that for years had just made sense, but simply were not working in my favor. Although many of these conditions were out of my control,such as the workplace bully, my response to these events was all my own.
I feel that it is time that we discuss quality. Right here, right now, how can you improve the quality of your own life? Living intentionally, living a life that we love, is what living lovely is all about. Large life changes are not required to improve upon our days, but there are many things we can decide right here an
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