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How to Live a Fulfilling Life

“Making a living is not the same as making a life” declares Maya Angelou. This strikes me as the recent focus of my energies has been finding out how to live. I did not know that there was a difference between existing and living but now I am in the process of making a life. The first part of this quotation does not move me as much as the idea that I possess the power to make my life. Clearly making a living has never been paramount on my list of goals as I chose teaching as my vocation. I just need to make enough to be comfortable, not luxurious. Luxury is found in living and that is what I am finding. I have an incredible desire to make my life; to make it alive, invigorating, passion-filled, and deliberately meaningful.
I did not know that I was asleep before but now that I have awaken, I see how much I have been missing. To me “making a life” is about intentionally experiencing each moment, being present to each experience, and using my zest for life to help others experience their own awakening and fulfillment.
I was out to dinner with a friend when an older couple was seated in a booth across from me. Both of their faces were lifeless. They ordered their meals as if on autopilot. they talked infrequently, but when they did speak to one another they never looked into each other’s eyes. There was no longing in their glance. There was no meaning or purpose to their shared time. They were not present to the smell of their food or its taste on their pallets. They were not wrapped up in the experience of being in the company of the other. This was sorrowful; a death of sorts. When life ceases to be new and amazing it is a death of sorts.
I want my life to be as one of a child; filled with awe and wonder; looking at each experience as if for the first time. I liken this to the first time my daughter saw the ocean. I will never forget it. Her eyes were as wide as saucers and the look on her face indescribable. Even in trial and routine, even in heartache and pain I want to be alive to the experience. I don’t want to eat dinner with a loved one as if it had no meaning. I don’t want to forget to look into people’s eyes. Living a fulfilling life means being alive and present in every situation.