Often enough you hear someone saying with a melancholic, even a melodramatic tone how incredibly short life is, usually followed by a piece of advice to live each and every day to the fullest (the "carpe diem" philosophy). This benevolent wisdom mostly comes out of the mouths of those whose most dynamic and active years of life are long gone, as they contemplate about opportunities seized and lost. You will smile, perhaps even sigh, and kindly agree with the point being made while starting to almost immediately feel the increasing weight of today's carpe diem (even if it's raining non-stop and watching TV or daydreaming on the couch is pretty much all you can think of in terms of "seizing" that particular day).
However, there are also days when life seems like an endless ride through the same old lanes passing by the same buildings and trees or like a repetitive wheel of daily rituals, duties, and habits - an old film that is too familiar and which we are not particularly enthusiastic about anymore. Luckily for us, that monotonous ride/wheel/film is not life itself, it's just its ROUTINE.
And although we are completely ignorant about our own longevity and powerless over the unstoppable flow of time, a routine is something we can definitely change. Now, that is a goal in line with the carpe diem philosophy!
Your Life, Just Better
If we take responsibility for our own wellbeing and put in some effort, we can reshape our everyday life and build a different reality we can embrace with the newly found joie de vivre. It is true that we cannot control and change every or even any chosen aspect of life, but why not start with the ones we can? The world as a whole is beyond our reach, but our lives aren't. Make sure to keep that in mind.
Hence if you are bored by your everyday routine, if you feel generally uninspired and fatigued for no apparent reason, the best chances are that you just need a change or two in your life. The good news is that you are the one who can make more than plenty of them and that is just about enough power you need. If a caterpillar can do a wonder of transforming itself into a butterfly, why couldn't you grow into a better, happier you?!
Now master the life you are blessed with and make it the one worthy of the journey.
Invent/Invite the Change You Want
Going from a personal experience, some time ago I caught myself feeling rather tired and unenthusiastic about my own days. They all looked too similar to each other - the same routine over and over from morning to dark every single day. Since it is in my nature to not make peace with situations I find misfitting and since I was taught even as a kid that only boring people get bored (I was once again reassured by my friends that I am still far from being boring!), I decided to do something about it. In my dwellings about how and where to start with the life change I was hungry for, I realized the simplest thing of all:
You cannot expect your life to change if you are not making
a change yourself.
Translated to practical life: make a few changes on your own and of your own choosing, nevertheless how big or small they seem; find inspiration and strength in the tiniest improvements and see, taste and smell your own life getting better.
You can start with a few of these:
1. Step out of your comfort zone
Challenging yourself is the best way to grow better and the only way to never get bored with your days. That's what we used to do when we were kids - endlessly curious and hungry for life, unafraid of failure or embarrassment, we tried new things and learned as we went along.
Bring out that uninhibited curiosity and playfulness that are still in you! Do something unexpected and challenge the perception of you, not only the one that others have but also the one that you have of yourself. You will be surprised at how refreshing it is to try something new. Sometimes it is even better if you have a friend who is passionate about something to which they can introduce you to and that way mentor you in stepping out of your comfort zone.
As an example, I introduced weightlifting to my regular fitness routine (again the "R" word!). To say that I was intimidated by the crowd of experienced lifters who inhabit the gym on daily basis and felt like a lost kitten is no exaggeration whatsoever. However, I did it! I started light and made way up as my confidence exponentially grew and my body got the shape I wanted. Perhaps the physical change is still subtle, but the more important one is evident.
2. Lose a bad habit
Humans are slaves of habit, that is true. However, willpower is an incredible thing and it can literally climb mountains, tame the wild and even defy laws of nature. Whether it's cigarettes, biting your nails or midnight snacks, you know it's bad for you, as well as that you can do better and without it. So do!
3. Introduce a healthy habit
The best way to fight the unhealthy craving and relapse is to trade the bad habit for a good one. If we are addictive by nature, at least pick your addiction and make sure it is a healthy one. Whether it is a morning jog, a smoothie instead of a donut or hitting the gym three times a week with Spartan discipline, it will do you far better.
4. Learn a new skill
This is similar to stepping out of your comfort zone as it asks of you to revive the same curious and playful side of your personality, but it takes a bit more time and effort. Choose something you always wanted to learn to do and decide that this is the moment to do so. Do it for pure fun and the thrill of it, who knows how it might benefit you one day!
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
To me, blogging was something I wanted to try out for a while, but could never find the time to explore it. One day I simply decided that there is no better time than now. Although I am still in the learning process and polishing the basics, the feeling of making progress in a new skill is intoxicatingly thrilling.
5. Master an old skill
Now is also the best time to pick up where you left off with a skill you once gained and abandoned and to turn it into mastery. From perfecting in making a sinfully luscious chocolate souffle to playing rock classics on the guitar, anything can pass!
6. Be kind(er) to others
A word or an act of kindness won't cost you a thing but can make someone's day (and yours too). Do it with no cause and interest, you might get surprised by the feedback.
7. Be unapologetic for your joy
Be completely unapologetic for your joy and leave it pouring all around. Laugh when you find something funny until your stomach hurts, sing if you feel like singing, dance your way down the hallway - express joy when you feel it. You will see just how contagious it is.
8. Swap "maybe" for "yes"/"no" and "if" for "when"
I strongly denounce the word "maybe" as an answer to a clear question and don't appreciate the lack of attitude and even respect behind it - to me "maybe" is just a delayed "no". When someone makes you a suggestion or an offer, be decent and honest enough to give a straight answer. There is no need for faux politeness nor to elaborate or justify your attitude or decision, a plain "yes" or "no" will do. Remember to add "thank you" after "no" for an extra touch of politeness.
Every change starts in our minds. That is where the real magic happens. The acts that follow are an expression, a manifestation of something we have already created. Think positively about your future plans (and work on them as you do it!). Start your thoughts with "when" instead of "if" - "when" is a decision, it has substance, whereas "if" is just a possibility. "When I start my blog, I will..." was far more motivating, you can take my word for it!
9. Choose the people in your life
Since you are taking care of what you are filling your body and your mind with, now take care of who you spend your time with. That will nurture your soul or whatever you call that inner substance we are so conscious about. When it comes to people in your life, always choose quality over quantity. Spare no time, energy and emotion when it comes to the right kind of people and true friendships. Be open to new acquaintances, make new friendships and break the rotten ones. Friendships are earned, not owed.
10. Appreciate advice but decide on your own
Sometimes the only purpose of advice is to crystallize our own attitudes and to reaffirm the decision we have subconsciously already made. That purpose solely is just about enough to appreciate the advice and respect the person who offered it. You don't owe anyone anything more than that. This is the only way for you to bear responsibility for your decisions and choices in your life and not blame others for what happens next. Be confident about yourself, trust your instincts and act as you believe you should.
The list of things you can do on your own to change your life for the better has no end. My purpose was not to name them but to inspire and motivate those who seek for a life change to find their own way to enjoy more than a priceless piece of eternity they were given.
Use the colors from your palette - you are the master of your artwork.
Make life your masterpiece.