2011 was an amazing year. And, each year gets better. It’s a cliché, but there is much to the saying, “The older I get, the wiser I get.” I laugh these days about the things that I thought were such major concerns when I was in my teens, twenties and thirties. Who knew it really wasn’t as hard as everyone kept saying it was? Yes – we ALL go through ups and downs and we always will; but, it is easier to get through life and be happy than one might think.
Everyone is different, however, based on what I have lived through and the observations I have made of others, I have put together a general “How to enjoy life” list. Some things on the list may be harder for some than others to do, but, I know that the more you work them into your life, you will notice the more enjoyment you will get out of life.
#1 BE GRATEFUL
They are in no particular order, but #1 – without a doubt – is to acknowledge and be thankful for everything that you have been blessed with. I have noticed over the years that so many people have so much, and they either take it for granted or are completely oblivious to how much they truly have. Instead of being thankful for what they do have, they complain about what they do not have. One of my favorite quotes is “What if you woke up with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” Think about that for a moment and then remember to always give thanks for what you have in your life.
#2 LIVE YOUR LIFE – NOT OTHERS
Focus on YOUR life and pay less attention to what others are doing. I’ve heard and seen it too many times; someone will see what another has, does or is, and either comment on how the other person should change (by what they should wear, who they should be with, etc.) or how they wish they could have, do, or be like them…or, even worse, wish bad things on the other person. Stop comparing your life to others. The grass is not always greener. The very same person you are admiring, envious of or wishing you could be like, most likely has their own issues they are going through, as well.
#3 ENJOY LIFE NOW
Don’t put off anything while you wait for the “right time”. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. If there is something you want to do – do it now! Although I have done much in my life, I missed out on so much more in my earlier years because I either thought the time wasn’t right, I was waiting to do it with others, or for a number of other reasons. Once I realized that the best time to do anything is NOW and that I could have just as good of a time doing things by myself as I could with others, I started having amazing experiences and meeting amazing people. When an opportunity pops up, I jump on it – whether I do it with others or by myself. No one wants to look back at their life and say to themselves, “I wish I ____, but, I never did.”
#4 DO FOR OTHERS
Instead of waiting for others to do for you, do what you can for others. It doesn’t necessarily have to take any of your time or money. A simple smile or “Have a great day” may be enough to change someone’s mood or brighten their day. It is the most rewarding feeling to give joy and happiness to others; and, you’ll notice that the more of yourself that you give, the more you will want to give, and it will become as natural as breathing. If you know of someone who is in need of a helping hand and you are in the position to help with your time or money, then do so. Realize that if you were in the same situation, you would want someone to do the same for you.
#5 LIFE PRIORITIES
Focus more on what really matters in life – not the things which are considered by many to be the ‘symbols of a successful life’. Yes – it’s great to have certain material items; we all like nice things, but, don’t make that be the focus or the goal of your life, or expect ‘things’ to bring you happiness. Happiness comes from within. There is so much in life to experience and enjoy and I’m positive that there are many people who have a lot of material possessions who are just as unfulfilled as those with much, much less. I’m sure you have heard the expression, “More money, more problems” lol….Also, ask yourself – and be honest – “If no one knew I had this, would I really care if I had it or not?” or, “Am I doing this for myself, or to impress others?” In the end, people matter, things don’t. I love beautiful things just as much as the next person, but, I’ve seen what some have done to attain them, how they’ve acted once they had them and how others have treated them because they had them. At times, I’ve wished we were all on ‘equal ground’ so that more people would realize the beauty of life without “things”.
#6 NEGATIVITY OUT, POSITIVITY IN
Get rid of negative people, things and thoughts. Surround yourself with only those people who bring out the best in you. Don’t let anyone change you or take away your joy. If you find yourself constantly upset, sad or stressed, make a serious effort to remove what puts you in that state. A life without drama is a life filled with peace. It puts a crack in my heart and it’s like a punch to the gut whenever I see someone unhappy. Many times they sabotage their own happiness because of a self-fulfilling prophesy (I’ll never be happy) or low self-esteem due to the negative influences in their life. If this is you, see #1 – 5 🙂
#7 TRUST GOD
Over the years, there have been many ups and downs. At the time, the downs seemed like something I wouldn’t get over (lost opportunities, lost jobs, lost/fake friends, etc.). I began to notice that those “lost” things led me down a path to even better things.
I’m not sure when I came to the epiphany that if I just let God guide me and stop worrying, everything would always work out, but it has been 100% how I have lived my life for the entire 2011 and I think this has been the best year yet. It has been a year of peace, love and so much happiness. Things that I would have seen as an obstacle years ago, I now see as just a minor ‘speed bump” on the road of life and I keep on moving. I wish the same for everyone else in 2012 and the many, many years ahead.
If you chose to follow all, one or none of the above at least do one thing for yourself – strive to be a better person each year than you were the year before.
Peace and Love to all…and HAPPY NEW YEAR!