Living Life by Treasuring Your Life: Liveliness Treasured
Are you Living or Existing? My pastor asked that question about a month ago, that is how I came up with the name “Liveliness Treasured”, Are you treasuring your life?
In my youth I noticed this look on the adults face: my parents, my aunts and uncles, cousins, teachers, neighbors, and the adults at church. The look they had on their face was a look of loneliness, tiredness, sadness, discouragement, hopelessness, disappointment,etc. Even when they were smiling and laughing I could still see that look, they carried the weight of their problems on their face. The sad part is they didn’t even know that they had that look on their face; they still have that look on their face today as I type, and many of them died with that look on their face.
That was over 20+ years ago when I noticed that look and vowed to myself that I will not have that look on my face when I became and adult. Unfortunately life happens and terrible things happened which caused me to have that look on my face; the look I said “I will never have”.
When I noticed that look on my face, I cried because I felt like a failure. Having that look on my face meant that my life didn’t change for the better, it meant that I was no better than my parents, it meant that I was sucked into the” live to work mentally” when it should be the other way around; I was just existing. That was at the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 when I noticed that look on my face.
I began to change that look on my face, first by deciding that I will not become those adults that I observed growing up, I will not become a workaholic and work myself to death, nor will I stress myself to illness and die because of the illness. I decided that leisure time was important and I needed hobbies to balance out my life. Hobbies that will keep me from getting stressed out, hobbies that will remind me that there is more to life than work, paying bills and problems. I always had a hobby of reading but after a while, my problems overwhelmed me to the point where I kept reading the same page over and over; after an hour of supposed reading because I was too stressed out and focused on my problems to enjoy the book.
I started learning origami, I started doing Sudoku, crossword, word search puzzles again ( I don’t know why I stopped) and I uncovered my childhood dream which became buried as I grew up; which was to learn balloon twisting. Last year, I rediscovered jewelry making ( I made jewelry as a child but stopped in my teenage years) and I still read and watch movies as hobbies but I am able to enjoy it without focusing on my issues; yes I have a lot of hobbies.
Those hobbies not only saved my face but they saved my life, they set me on a path to living, so I vowed to always make time for leisure. No, I don’t have children (which helps a lot) but I work everyday, I take public transportation to and from work (which is a time killer) and serve on several boards at church. I make time, often times I go to bed at 1-2 in the morning because I wanted to read, watch a movie, make a bracelet, or try a new balloon figure; my thing is if I don’t wake up in the morning at least the last thing I did before I fell asleep was something that I enjoyed.
My life isn’t great, not even close. Matter of fact the problems that caused me to develop that look on my face is still present in my life now, and there are some days when it is a struggle to fight that mentality of hopelessness and discouragement but like everything else it is a process. Engaging in my hobbies when I feel that way helps me release those feelings.
Living life isn’t always about money and possessions although those things are good to have, but it’s about how do you spend your time? “No one ever said on their deathbed they wished they worked more or stressed more.” When my pastor asked that questioned I wondered how many people were able to say they are living or trying to live. I know too many people are just existing, not only do you see it in their face, you hear it in their voice and in their conversations. A person that is always talking about work, and how the bills are piling up but money is low and how they are sick and tired of being sick and tired, are only existing. Are you that person? Are you treasuring your life?
As you look back on this year and look ahead to the new year ask yourself: Are you living or Are you existing?