Have I Lived My Best Life?

Ok, alright, fair enough, "Am I living my best life?", you know what I mean.

Yeah, I believe I am living life. I certainly don't feel like I am 'existing through' life.

I see some living their lives in amazing ways, some living life in ways that are not for me but are obviously very cool for them, many living lives that I have no idea about but I hope are best.

That word 'best', that's the key one eh.

What does it mean to live the 'best' life, by what criteria are we to use to judge whether it is a 'best' life? How about these ...
  1. I have the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expect of me.
  2. I have the courage to express my feelings.
  3. I stay in touch with my friends.
  4. I let myself be happier.
"Nice Mike, made those up to suit your own life / this article did ya?"

Well, no actually they are the positive spin on the Top five regrets of the dying (via Susie Steiner, The Guardian, Feb 2012 - unfortunately the post Steiner was reporting upon has gone).

If we take these as a one type of criteria for "best" then I'm on course but not perfect. Yeah, I'm happy with how I stack up against those 4.

Ok, how about another way of looking at "best life".

As we know, my year's theme is "Foundational" and I've been working slowly and internally on working where I'm at so I can see what's next. I like this from How to Grow Old: Bertrand Russell on What Makes a Fulfilling Life:
Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.
I've often described my wobbly brain as being like a river, it's becoming less river and more estuary, this makes me happy. A life being lived to it's best, maybe eh.

Ok, another set of criteria to judge your life against (never actually judge your life, merely check-in). Slow it down. I have been attempting to slow my life down ever since the breakdown, especially during our COVID lockdown times. Photography and my daily photo are all about slowing down and noticing the kairos.

As you get older life zips along faster and faster, or so we're told, so How to slow down time: The science behind stopping life from passing you by:
  1. Fill your time with new experiences to counteract routine.
  2. Make meaningful progress.
  3. Practice mindfulness.
  4. Start journaling to practice reflection.
Absolutely '1' and '4', just check out the phot album updates and, of course this blog. I s'pose '2' is related to Bertrand Russell's thoughts above. Now, "mindfulness", I dunno, perhaps I need to give the actual actions more of a go, this is easy:
If you’re new to mindfulness and aren’t ready to dive into meditation just yet, try the 54321 method, a common sensory-awareness grounding exercise. Here’s all you have to do:
  1. Name five things you can see.
  2. Name four things you can touch.
  3. Name three things you can hear.
  4. Name two things you can smell.
  5. Name one thing you can taste.
The final "best life" criteria I'm gonna pop in, "What do you think Mike, you living your best life?"

Yeah, I think I am.

July, ½ way through the year, and I think I'm slowly getting foundational and a lot of that is to accept much more of Mike.

So far ...

British gravestone, Mikes Nan & Grandad


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