What is living fully?

CIMG0855It seems to me that our title question provides one more avenue with which  to explore our lives.  How we define “living fully” for ourselves, may help us  answer the related questions:  How do I want to live?  What really matters to me?  How can I…duh…do more of what I love?

A friend of mine was paying attention the other day when, on a return trip from Rhode Island to Vermont, she chose not to take her tried and true shortest drive time between two points–Interstate Highway 91.  On a whim, she chose to meander north on the secondary highways through central Massachusetts and view the scenery and give herself a treat.  Yes, it took longer.  And yes, she was refreshed. And yes, she noted in retrospect, “that was a couple of hours when I found myself ‘living fully’–and I never labeled it as such!”

Such hours and activities and serendipitous surprises have all kinds of ways of sneaking up on us.  It’s good to pay attention to the choices we make, and how alive they make us feel.   When we pay attention to what nourishes us, we’ll likely be able to choose to do more of it.

I’m coming to learn that the beginning of wisdom about life is putting the right name to things.

When is it that you find yourself “living fully?”

Have you made your bucket list?

One of the strategies for getting closer to doing more of what you love may be.. ...Drum Roll... .making your “bucket list”.  Whatever your age, take the time to reflect on your dreams.  The real ones…as in…

What do you want to be sure to do before you die?

Make your answers to that question real by actually writing them down. Take them seriously.  Note that the choice to answer that question is different from the choice to act on your answers.   Reflecting and writing is doable–right now!

What’s important is making that first choice.  Revel in your discoveries about your life wishes.   What will they teach you?  What might you want to do about them?   (For those who haven’t seen the wonderful movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman who widely inspired the making of bucket lists, I recommend it.)

For more on this topic, enjoy the following:

1. Visit the post of my colleague Joanna Rueter at www.sustainable-aging.com as she plays a bucket list game.

2. Visit the coverage of one who took LARGE her bucket list reflections and inspired action internationally.

Have you made your bucket list?


For those who wish a little support in thinking about your present and future, here’s the list of affordable and local fall programs.

Once again, the Honky Tonk Piano Man

Yes, I’m writing about Gary Landgren again.  Tonight, he played at a summer concert, adding an incentive to participate by providing song sheets. Our mostly senior audience had a great time singing the old classic ditties, honky tonk style.  Bicycle built for two brought tears to my eyes as I remember my Dad singing the old tunes.

What fascinates me is how some people manage to support themselves doing exactly what they love.  Gary is a pure model.  With an unusually simple way of doing business.  Self taught since 15, specializing in the unique style of honky tonk piano, he always wanted to play the piano and have folks sing-a-long.   Now 25 years later, having honed his “gig” which includes a bit of history, and a bit of humor, showing the features of his piano, his marketing is the simplest.  Just a YouTube site containing multitudes of video clips entertaining with his unique style of playing the oldies.  He gives out his email and phone number wherever he plays.  That’s it.

Living in the middle of Massachusetts, he’s easily accessible to a multitude of senior establishments all over the state, and in neighboring Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Obviously he’s frequently invited back.

While exchanging hours for cash is not the usually recommended business model for maximizing one’s income, the simplicity of the transaction apparently works for him. It will probably work for him for the next 40 years.  Note to self:  If you love doing what you are doing and it works for you, keep doing it.

Gary Landgren loves to play that piano.  Fast.   And we loved being there.

Take a break for two minutes and  taste  pure joy in action.  Sweet!