Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older & think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
what’s the meaning of life? what’s the purpose of life? how should we live?
all of these questions started rambling around in my head as soon as i read the dalai lama’s 11th rule for living. and i don’t have the one, correct answer to them. i don’t believe that there is one, correct answer. perhaps, it looks a bit different for each of us – but the core of how to live life is the same for each of us. perhaps living life is a life-long discovery and journey. well, i completely believe that at least.
along with these existential questions that never have a clear, real answer, i also thought about something i decided a few years ago – in those moments that i decided to change my life – to die to my old self, so that i could be born again into living an authentic life – true to myself. because, i had come to understand that, unless i was deeply true to myself, then i would never ever be of any true good to people. or perhaps i would be, but all i did was empty actions that exhausted me. i had come to understand that, in order to live an honorable life that makes a difference, i first had to fill my soul so that i had something to give.
and in order to live life authentically, i had to know who i was. i had to listen to my soul and follow my passions. i had to stop living for everyone else’s expectations, or society’s expectations, and learn to go against the norm, if need be.
so here’s the thought that changed my life:
i decided that when i am 85 years old, sitting in my rocking chair looking back over my life, i want to remember all of the amazing moments that i had, and not wonder “what if i had…” i don’t want the words “what if” to be part of my reflections when i look back over my life. i want to chase my dreams, take risks, make things happen. i want to look back and know that i tried – and even failed – instead of giving up.
when i got divorced in 2007, i knew that i had been settling – not necessarily with my husband, but i had settled for a life that was not big enough, did not reach far enough, and did not listen to my soul. during my year of separation before the divorce was finalized, i realized that i would never settle again. i spent almost a year writing in my journals and planning crazy, life-changing things – like moving to denmark.
for about 12 years, all throughout my first marriage, i knew that i had let go of a dream and i talked myself into being ok with that. i convinced myself that my “regular” life was just fine. turns out, that after my marriage fell apart, i had to reflect on who i am, on who i have always been, and reconnect with my soul. and i knew… this was the time in my life to make a change.
and i decided that i would not sit in my little rocking chair as an old lady and wonder “what if…”.
so, i spent a year preparing to move to denmark – a place where i already had connections and friends. i sold or gave away all of my things, including my house. i put in my notice at the church where i worked. i saved money. and i meditated every morning.
and then, after all of that preparation, i packed one bag, said goodbye, and took a plane to europe. i met up with lina in sweden (we were just friends at this point), and we moved to denmark together.
now, had i not listened to my soul and taken lots crazy risks, i would have never discovered the amazing love that i share with lina, my wife. i would have never lived in europe for three years, or moved to asheville and started writing, traveling, and creating a space to offer inspiration from my own experiences. had i not just believed in myself, i would have settled. i would have become that old woman with regrets and what ifs.
is this what a good and honorable life is? i am not sure. but, it is a life that is filled with peace, and one that i sincerely hope spreads the peace and love that i feel within me. if i am true to myself, living an authentic life, simply being who i am, then i believe that that, in and of itself, makes a difference in the world.
tapping into my inner self is tapping into the the universe within – and all of the energy that flows between us and all of creation. so, if i live from that energy-spirit-light within my soul, it only makes sense that i create and share that energy-spirit-light in my life. and that, is how i seek to live today. seeking to live like that guarantees that, as an old woman, i will be able to look back on my life, smile, and give thanks.