How to live a long life?
Most people want a long life. The obvious thing to do is to eat healthy, exercise, do yoga six times a week etc. I am here to tell you another way. A way that does not involve tying yourself up in unnatural and strangely seductive knots while wearing tights.
The concept is living a Concentrated Life. Experience more of life in the same time span of one life.
How many times have you heard people saying things like: “I’ve always wanted to work on a farm, to make a film, to travel to Tibet, to ride a motorcycle, to make my own yogurt, to help Syrian refugees, to take an art course, to go into a submarine, to learn to make a drum, to start a baseball team, to make tie-dye shirts, to canoe down a river, to write for a magazine, to start a blog site, to visit a Viking Village, to work on a novel, to visit the Berlin Wall, to fly a drone, to be invited to TED…”
Well, I did all that . . . last year.
And I know next year is going to be even better! By the time we kick our buckets, my partner and I plan to live three lives in the same time span of one life.
Here is how to do it, if you are interested.
1) Live with your goal in mind. Ask yourself again and again what do you want out of life. Get an answer from deep down that you are happy with and pursuit it with your entire being. Stay focused, stay conscious. Do not numb yourself and waver back and forth. Some good examples of goals are: be a great artist, be a healer, be a great parent, be a great storyteller, be a fountain of blessings and happiness. Bad examples of goals are: be rich and famous(too small a goal, superficial), be beautiful and attractive(too short-lived), be the best salesman/lawyer/insurance agent/chef etc.(too dependant on judgement/opinions and too narrow). When in doubt, think BIG, think of yourself as a tiny speckle of dust floating in an infinite expanse of space and ask yourself what you want to do while the sun and the moon are still shining on you.
2) Find a partner in crime. You can try to live a Concentrated Life alone but it will be very hard, and quite frankly, not very fun and memorable. The best way is to find kindred spirits in friends and a life partner. They will encourage you on, give you validation and inspire you to do more with your life. The perfect relationship is hard to find, but a nice relationship that you can work together to make it perfect is not THAT hard to find. So go out and find it.
3) Don’t hesitate to say NO. In order to accomplish something you must NOT accomplish other things. Don’t be a pleaser all the time. Review your goals often and evaluate each proposed direction against your goals. If it takes you closer to your goals, DO IT without hesitation. If not, say “No Thank you.” If you refused three pub-crawls in a row people will get your drift and stop inviting you to the ceremonial cleansing of the digestive tract using outrageously expensive sanitizing agents in pretty containers. With your weekend intact, maybe you WILL be able to make it to that potluck where you meet an interesting man who commanded an icebreaker in the Arctic and skinny-dipped with Beluga Whales! (True story btw).
4) No Fear. DO NOT become a slave to the system. DO NOT choose a profession because everyone around you says it is a good idea. Figure out who you are and what you want first, then choose wisely. Most importantly, do not be afraid to change course. If you are destined to be a driver of gondolas in Venice after five years of corporate accounting, the universe will show you a way to make that possible. Take a plunge and the rest will follow. But be ready for some hard work.
5) Work Hard. I have an advantage. I came from a Third World country and have not allowed the comforts of the First World to soften my resolve. I can endure much harsher environments and I can tolerate sufferings for much longer. If you were born into comfort and money then you have to train to have those qualities. Nevertheless they are attainable and they are essential.
6) High Vitality. If you are sailing across the ocean, you need a seaworthy vessel. There is no shortcuts or miraculous divine winds or domesticated sea turtles that can deliver you to your destination. In order to live a Concentrated Life your body needs to be in top shape. It is not too hard to have a healthy body. Here is what I do. I do 20 pushups every night before I go to sleep and I do 20 sit ups every morning when I get up. I try to eat healthy, tasty, home-cooked meals. I do not even like junk foods. I very rarely drink and I do not smoke or do any drugs. If I feel under the weather, I use natural remedies or let my body heal itself. It has been more than five years since I visited a doctor (it was for a checkup). I enjoy what I do for a living and I have amazing independant projects. Best of all, I am in a loving relationship with my partner.
If you can do the six things mentioned above and have some skills in planning and time management you too can have a Concentrated Life. You will find that you have the time and energy to do all that your heart desires and more.
Next time, when your friends say: “I’ve always wanted to __________” you can smile and nod and think to yourself: Yup, been there, done that.
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