How to Live a Life to Remember

How to Live a Life to Remember

When we look back at life, what do we remember? Probably not how many matcha lattes or lemon waters we drank, how many hours we spent doing core work and pilates, or even how aesthetic our daily journaling session was because we always lit a candle or brewed a fresh cup of tea. In fact, virtually everyone feels the same way when looking back at their life, regardless of whether you're 25 reflecting on your life thus far, or 95 looking back on the years you've spent on this amazing earth. Their thoughts are some version of "I wish had done more things outside of my comfort zone, taken more chances, had more experiences, believed in myself more, talked to those people, asked for the things I wanted, and loved harder". This is virtually a universal human feeling--looking back and wishing we had been a better, more empowered, daring, present and loving version of ourselves.

Why then, are we so fascinated as a species on our routines? If it's not these routines that bring tears of joy to our eyes, do we put so much emphasis on the new alarm clock that can lead to your best day or the new bath product that can lead to the most relaxing and restorative night's sleep? Perhaps, deep down, we have an inkling that these small things, the tiny 5-15 minute habits that comprise the consistency of our days have a lot to do with the much larger events that happen in between.

Let's break that down. 

If a morning routine consists of hitting the snooze for 30 minutes straight. This leaves us with only 30-minutes left to get ready at all (darn, missed that bedtime again last night!), then quickly chowing a bowl of sugary cereal that was only purchased as an afterthought all the while staring at the latest Netflix episode or scrolling through social media, we can pretty quickly image what kind of choices the rest of the day may hold. While it's not any one little thing that is the undoing of a great person, all these tiny habits, routines, and sequences, could easily turn into a day of feeling exhausted from poor sleep (not remedied, unfortunately, by all of those 5-minute naps between snoozes), a mid-morning energy crash after that less-than-nutritious breakfast leading to a famished fast food run, and a lethargic afternoon of feeling like slumping on the couch is the only option after a draining day lacking any restoration. 

We know any one choice has real potential to lead to more similar choices. 

In fact, we know having to make lots of choices is altogether not a great way of leveraging the magic of human capabilities.

Cue the marvels of compounding. 

Just as the great Albert Einstein once said, "compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world", it's worth considering that the infamous phrase doesn't hold only to finances. In fact, habits, routines, and actions compound in a way that is just as wondrous and perhaps even more impactful. Just as in the example day above, a seemingly minute set of choices (e.g. why does one meal really even matter??) can snowball into a whole day's narrative. Not the end of the world, of course -- an average person has nearly 30,000 of those to spend throughout their life. For the sake of perspective, it's just as important remembering that 25% of those days are used up by the time we turn 20, and the other 75% have a habit of flying by--so much so that "in the blink of an eye" is one of the oldest and most translated phrases in the canon of languages. 

What does this ultimately means? It means every single day is a precious gift. Period, hard stop. 

As explained in my favorite Kung Fu Panda moment, "today is a gift, that why it is called the present". 

While it can feel overwhelming to put so much resonance to every set of 24 hours, truly embracing this fact and making the most of days is the only way to build a life that makes you feel proud, empowered, and full of love with every phase of reflection. This is where our routines contain true magic to help us on the journey. Let's consider our earlier story again and change just those first 60 or so minutes of the day. Instead of snoozing for 30 minutes, perhaps our imaginary individual honors the alarm time she set the night before. Those 30 minutes go towards a 10-minute yoga stretch invigorated by a quick spritz of an aromatherapy mist (like our atmosphere enhancing room sprays), a 5-minute guided meditation, a 5-minute green juice, and a refreshing 10-minute shower routine. The next 30 minutes before work (or school, or spending the day with the kids, or whatever our daily commitment might be) are spent enjoying a hearty breakfast bowl balanced with proteins for strength, fats for lasting fullness, and carbs for energy--all the while listening to a podcast, reading a book, or looking at the manifestation board she made at the start of the year. 

Same 60 minutes in both mornings, completely different routine activities. Ok, that's all great and whatnot, you might be thinking, but how does this really make the whole day more meaningful? This is where the power of compounding comes back in. That healthy balanced breakfast gives our imagined case study the energy to be engaged all morning, participating more meaningfully in conversations. The mindful (yet very brief) stretching, juicing, and pampering routine immediately make her feel like she is the type of person that deserves to take care of herself, to feel at home in her body and space, and to show up feeling fresh and confident. It wouldn't be a far stretch to imagine that very same energy shining from her as she organically smiles at the barista when ordering her coffee, which makes her feel more approachable to the person behind her in line, who then decides to say hello and pay her a compliment. Of course, this could just be a "hello" and a kind compliment from a stranger. It could also be the beginning of a meaningful friendship, relationship, or just getting to know a neighbor. The story can go on and on, but 

This is the type of endless possibility that lives within each moment of every day. As we each return to the hours (or minutes) left in our "today", let us consider how we choose to craft our routines, how they impact our daily events, and how that stacks up to what we want out of life. Wishing you more of doing things that you're passionate about, healthy risk taking, moments of memorable joy, and endless love. 

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