how to like your life | virtual book

how to like your life

#essays #time-management #mortality #mindfulness

This morning I almost got overwhelmed with things I had to do. Like when you set your glass down too hard and the wave rises to the rim menacingly. I took a deep breath and I wrote the things down – things I had to do at work, things I had to do for my upcoming marriage, and things I had to do to enjoy Toronto, where I am for the week. Each of these categories overflows with things I could do, as I guess any category does.

I wrote only a few things per category and recognized immediately that this was the whole day ahead of me. If I completed everything on the list, I would have good reason to be pleased. And yet there was so little on it.

I recoil with something like disgust when I look at my day on paper. That’s it? These things? So I avoid writing down my daily activities, even if I know what I intend to do. I proceed jauntily as if my day were big enough to contain all its possibilities, the million different days it could be. But I know it’s only one day, which is but one measly little trickle mocking my thirst for experience and accomplishment.

But I suspect that this exercise, like other painful ones, offers the opportunity to grow. Write the list and look at it. What is so ugly about it? Is it these particular activities? Do you wish you weren’t spending your life doing them? This is an answer to know and confront.

But if these activities are good, if they satisfy your expectations of life-worthy activities, then why don’t they satisfy you? Is their ugliness your own mortality being reflected back at you? Will you

make peace with it

how to live in the moment

#essays #time-management #mortality #mindfulness Mentioned in how to like your life

It is old advice to live now because now is the only time you will ever live. Embrace this moment because it is the only one in reach. But the advice resonates only so deeply with me. I find many nows made for trading, worthy of giving up for what I can get later.

To this cliche

Oliver Burkeman

adds a darker harmony with a note of his own. You will never make the most of your time. It is painfully short and any bid for optimal use of it is doomed. Suddenly the original cliche is not about changing your attitude but about accepting that you get what you get. The task is not about settling, but about admitting defeat. Time rules you and the freest you can get is by giving up the fight.


Or is their ugliness coming from their will to control you? Does it make you squirm to think that you have handed over the reigns? If you wrote this same list in past tense at the end of the day, would it look more appealing?