Thoughts on a Life Well Lived

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When to Discard and Replace

I wrote recently about technique and making huge life changes. This is a topic constantly at the forefront of my mind as I settle into life in a new town in a smaller space than I would have ever imagined living. I am forced to not only establish new daily patterns around town, but entirely new methods to function and thrive in my tiny space. Every aspect of life, from waking up and dressing, to how we sit, cook, and relax are framed (quite literally) by the confining walls around us. 

We have been forced to develop new techniques to protect and honor the aspects of our life that we want, regardless of our environment. 

New life circumstances and surroundings can, at first, seem at odds with your deepest values. New friends, neighborhood, job, commute, work hours, and every other type of daily pattern can seem to limit access to our healthy habits and passionate hobbies.

While challenging, in new circumstances we can find opportunity to re-examine our values and passions and strengthen our commitment to them. We do not come to our core principles or deep passions by happenstance. Allowing new circumstance to interfere with your deeply held values attributes their prevalence and importance to your odd patterns. You, in essence, concede that your health and fitness habits and passion projects were simply things to fill in the gaps in your old schedule rather than an outgrowth of your core principles.

Core principles are just that: core. They are the most important aspects to build your life on, regardless of how your other life patterns require that you arrange them. Core principles are bricks to build a solid wall. A new situation might change the order and layout, but not which bricks your use to build a healthy life. The new layout is neither better nor worse than the previous arrangement, although we all benefit from seeing an entirely new mosaic of the same old tiles? 

Discard and Replace

There may be circumstances that demand a more drastic re-shuffling of your habits and patterns. This too offers an opportunity. We should, either by conscious choice or life’s demand, constantly re-assess how we operate and re-determine the most important aspects we wish to build our life on. 

Just because its the way it’s always been, doesn’t mean it’s the way it should be. 

Patterns, habits, and traditions persist for many reasons, not all of which are functional or productive. Maintain reverence for the way that you currently live, but remember that the highest form of loyalty is to question how things could be better.

In my personal values, patterns, and political and health views, I maintain a personal mission of: strong opinions, loosely held. Come to your opinions by thorough consideration, craft your daily patterns with care, and feel deeply secure in your values. But, never allow any of these to root into your identity, eliminating the opportunity to discard them without feelings of resistance, loss, or judgement. 

What you believe and how you act are (hopefully) the best you can muster given your life experience up to this point. Continue to allow experiences to shape your views by leaving them open for edits.

That which must persist through a change will never remain obscure. If new circumstances demand that you discard something previously held dear, it was time to let it go. A drastic shift in our environment or patterns shakes the pot, revealing to us only what rises to the surface. 

Rather than feeling sad for the loss of old ideals, be thankful for their role in carrying you this far. They are the car you drove to the water’s edge. Now that you’re boarding the ship, you no longer need a car. 

Allow new experience to be a fine filter that sloughs off unnecessary baggage. If you’re crazy like me, constant seek these extreme opportunities.