Live life to the fullest. Live a life you will remember. No regrets. Just do it.
These, and many more overused adages fill up our news feeds, and cause us to question our entire existence, wondering if we are wasting our lives because we aren’t “living to the fullest.”
It appears that society has reached a crossroads when it comes to defining what is important in life, especially with the messages being pulsed through various forms of social media, a division between two camps that people must file themselves into.
There are the people who opt for the “safe” route; going to college, getting a 9-5 job, and working until they have enough money to retire. They hate their lives, but that’s just the accepted cost of financial security, a functioning car, and a well-furnished home.
Then there are the people hailing from the other camp. The rebels, the people who have no true calling other than to “live life to the fullest.” Whether it be bungee jumping in New Zealand, skydiving in Dubai or kayaking down the Amazon river with nothing but a pocket knife and a can of beans, these folks really know what “living” is all about. With YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram, (amongst probably many others that I’m not even aware of) we have been bombarded with tantalizing reels and photos of people doing extreme things, traveling the world, and otherwise living in a way that we wish we could, in a way that is so psychologically seductive.
I don’t understand our society’s obsession and fixation on diving everything into only two camps, two opposite extremes. There’s one side, there’s the opposite side, and anything between is a complete void.
This mentality is complete BS.
Contrary to what internet videos and captivating articles with titles like “Why I Quit My Job to Travel the World” push on us, no one needs to give their boss the middle finger, set their desk on fire, sell all their possessions and set off for the Andes mountains in order to live life to the fullest. I’m definitely guilty of trying to be a part of this camp, but even though I live in a foreign country and have been able to travel and experience incredible things, I wouldn’t say I don’t also have the same work grind as any of my peers back home who opted to start working (a real job…) right out of college.
The world cannot afford for everyone to be a blogging, traveling sensation (as much as I wish it could). We need people who work in offices, in hospitals, cleaning our streets, doing things that keep our society functioning. But that doesn’t mean that those people need to sacrifice living a full life in order to be cogs in the machine that is our world. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing something right, and are just servants to the man.
The truth is a reality far from the dichotomy we have all been led to believe. We can all live full lives every single day, whether we work a 9-5, a night shift, or we don’t work at all. I believe living to the fullest is living a life of being kind to others, always thirsting for knowledge, and seeking to be happy.
Whether it be taking a long weekend to fly to a new city for a few nights, crossing books off of a “to read” list, exploring a new part of your own city on a Sunday afternoon, spending time with family members, or just being kind to strangers, all of these things can add up to a very full life. It’s absurd to suggest that people have to partake in extreme sports or opt for a nomadic lifestyle in order to be prioritizing “living” over “making money.” The two are not mutually exclusive entities, and we need to stop acting as such. One can work for a corporation and still enjoy their lives, and still make a difference in the world.
We need people who are full of ideas, no matter their current occupation. We need people to seek to end suffering on the planet, to move toward a more open and unified society. We can all live full lives by being good people and seeking to better ourselves, our relationships and the world we live in. There doesn’t need to be this social divide of the Type A people, making all the money but hating their jobs, contrasted with all the Type B’s who are barely getting by but having a hell of a lot of fun while doing it.
98% of companies in America offer between 6 and 20 paid vacation days, and even with that small amount of free time, great adventures can be accomplished, for example, look at what Casey Neistat (uhh, ignore the fact that he IS one of those video-making sensations, the point still stands) managed to pull off in only 10 days:
TEN DAYS! While Casey is a bit of an extreme case, it speaks volumes that so much can be seen and experienced in not that much time. We all have weekends and days off, and those are our moments to cross things off our bucket lists, no matter what those things may be.
It’s not January 1 anymore. I slacked off and failed to publish this in the slew of other motivating “new year, new me” posts that flooded the inter-webs on December 31, 2015. But that doesn’t matter, I’m challenging all of my readers, friends and acquaintances right now to start striving to live a fuller life in 2016. Whether that be crossing things off your to-do lists that have been sitting there for months, squirreling money away for a trip to a new place, learning a new skill or actually sticking to an exercise routine for more than a few days, 2016 can be a better, fuller year than 2015.