Why it’s okay not to live life to the full
When people use the phrase ‘living life to the full’ I instantly picture a person jumping off a cliff face, into the deep, blue waters beneath them, arms outstretched. Not mid jump, but just about to extract themselves from the edge.
This, to me, signifies the meaning of the phrase. Taking a leap, doing something scary and different. For some people, this phrase embodies achieving your dreams of riches and fame, living out your days happy as a clam and loving every second of life. Considering one cannot jump from cliffs everyday (unless you’re an extreme adrenalin junkie with bottomless pockets, or just the worst suicide attempter ever) it is impossible to imagine living life everyday to its absolute fullest because with this statement comes great pressure. The pressure to ensure that you live every second, minute and day to its utmost potential, making every moment count and striving to live your dreams with every fibre of your being. Not resting until you are popping bottles with your baes (or very yummy men) on yachts surrounded by millions of unearned pounds and everything your heart desires. And with this statement then brings with it the shame and guilt that suggests we’re instead throwing our precious gift of life away by not doing everything in our power to make every day amazing.
It is near impossible to live everyday to its fullest. For some, it is hard enough just to get out of bed in the morning and get to work without throwing themselves in front of the nearest bus. Life is an everyday struggle for a lot of people, so much so that making their dreams a reality could not seem more distant. While these people walk among us, the majority of others that I come across on a daily basis are not so much struggling but rather just have an all-round negative outlook on how they’re living life that living it to its fullest seems like an alien idea to their psyche. All I ever hear at work is complaints, yearning for the weekend and destructive thoughts spoken aloud for others to relish in and agree with. On the flip side however all I ever see on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are postings adorned with the hashtags and comments that put us mere mortals not striving to make each day a YOLO moment to shame. With two ends of the spectrum so readily within reach it’s no wonder we’re either pessimists or put-downs.
As corny as it is, if a few self-help books have taught me anything it’s that you are in control of your destiny. You are in charge of your happiness. If you have a reason to complain, it’s because you are bringing that unhappiness upon yourself. So instead of moaning for no reason or breaking your back trying to live life to the full, just take a step back, relieve that pressure and try to make sure that you’re doing what you love. If what you love is watching television for 5 hours a day, then so be it. If that’s the only life you’ve ever dreamed of living and you’re perfectly content with that decision, then why the hell not. Some would say that is not living life to the fullest. But if you are as happy as can be stewing in your own filth, eyes glued to Britain’s Got Talent, then I say we should leave you be. We shouldn’t make you feel ashamed for not reaping every instant on this green earth. We don’t know what kind of battle you are facing. Everyone gets angry, or tired and upset. Those things are unavoidable and it is hard to imagine trying to live life to the full whilst feeling like that, but if you have found your contentment in life for the time being then who are we to tear you from that happy place and strive for more.
In essence, I guess I’ll give this phrase the benefit of the doubt for trying to get everyone to make the most out of a) what they’ve got and b) the best of a bad situation. However, in my opinion, life is about finding true and lasting happiness. The fulfillment in your life will accompany this.
Let’s think of a life where you are living it to the full all day, everyday. You would be happy every single minute, a smiling maniac and absolutely no stress would be allowed to enter your mind, nor sadness or anger. You wouldn’t complain. You would be living your wildest dreams having achieved everything you ever wanted to in life. It doesn’t seem possible does it? And with that realization as well as the thought that your life will not be fulfilled until you get to this picture, doesn’t everyday happiness kind of trump the eternal need to live your life to the full?
When you go to bed and ask yourself ‘Have I seized the day?’ If the answer is no, which let’s face it, 80% of the time it probably will be, then that’s not going to make you feel great is it? Instead, go to bed and ask yourself, ‘am I happy?’ If the answer is still no, that will also probably make you feel rubbish but that yes is a lot more achievable and within reach.
Living life to the full seems to come with the preconception of ‘work hard, play hard’, but this imbalanced lifestyle will catch up with you eventually, all for the struggle to look back and know you did everything you could. Instead, life should be about overcoming the small steps to achieve long-term happiness and that is really what living life to the full is all about.