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5 Steps to Fulfillment

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
Editor’s Note

I loved this article. Reading it has brought a sense of peace into my otherwise rushed life. I felt my mind slowing down as I read. It’s so simple, yet graceful and so relate-able. Enjoy.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. ~Oscar Wilde

This winter took a lot out of me. The weather was milder than normal here in the Northeast, but my personal life was stormy and chaotic.

By May, when the harsh winds of conflict died and life returned to normal, I was still reeling. I found myself shuffling through my daily routine, feeling flat and disengaged.

It was, in part, a natural reaction to the stress of the previous months. One can only go full-force for so long, until the inevitable crash occurs.

But there was also an element of sheer boredom. Life felt dull and bland. Monotonous.

I was dissatisfied with the mundane experiences in life, but felt immobilized to make a change.

I felt like the life had been sucked out of me.

I fantasized about a dramatic change, to shake things up. But I knew, even through my daydream haze, that I was not going to quit my job, move to Hawaii or backpack across Europe. For some people, those things might be the exact right choice, but they weren’t options I really wanted to consider.

Instead I sought daily adventure, regular fun and frequent laughter.

So I set out to infuse more life into my life, in an attempt to conjure some zest and enthusiasm.

Without quitting my job or shirking my family obligations, I found simple ways to replenish my soul and re-invigorate my spirit.

If life’s been feeling “ho-hum,” and a dramatic change is not in your best interests, try these techniques to spice up your life:

1. Create Everyday

One of the first things I did was return to my love of cooking, baking and arts-n-crafting.

I experimented with new recipes. I spent an evening wrist-deep in clay. I made chocolate lollipops with my son. I wrote silly poems. A daily habit of creativity is energizing and engaging, and helps me feel alive.

2. Get Outside

When you’re feeling low or stuck, you tend to hibernate and isolate.

This may come as a surprise, but sitting alone in a dark room with a bag of chips and network television is not going to make you feel more alive!

Let the sunshine warm your skin. Step barefoot onto the grass, and revel in the shock of the cool morning dew. Roll your windows down during your commute, and feel the wind whip across your face (hairdo be damned!).

3. Change the Routine

Life, with kids especially, can flow more easily when you’re in a routine. But that same routine can be stifling.

Head out at bedtime one night, and read the bedtime story in a local bookstore. Stop for coffee on your way to work and sit with a newspaper for half an hour—even if it means you’ll stay later at the end of the day. Eat your lunch outside. A break from the norm can do wonders for the soul.

4. Break a Rule

This is the awesome thing about being an adult: We have the freedom to eat ice cream for breakfast. Or to wear white shoes after Labor Day. Or to sleep on the back porch. Or to not return a phone call immediately.

When you feel obligated to do something a certain way, take a pause. See if there’s another option that will feel better. Remove your self-imposed limits and break some rules. Trust me; it’s invigorating.

5. Do Good

Cook a meal for a neighbor in need. Send a card to a friend who is down. Offer to drive your coworker to pick up her car from the shop.

If you’re not able to help others, you’re not going to feel good about your life. People have an innate need to contribute to society.

While I believe that we must take care of ourselves to best help others, there is something satisfying about some sacrifice and inconvenience on the behalf of someone in need. That makes me feel alive.

~~~

By suggesting these ideas, I don’t mean to imply that dramatic changes aren’t good or even sometimes necessary. You may need to travel. It might be a good time to find a new job. A vacation is a sure-fire way to feel more alive.

The idea, though, is that life is not just these big events and wild excursions. Life is our daily existence in all of its glory and monotony. And we can live a little better each day by embracing the opportunities to experience our world differently.

So if you’re feeling chronically bored or stagnant in life, and are otherwise happy with your circumstances, the above techniques could help jolt you out of a rut.

Choose a few that appeal to you.

Try them out, with reckless abandon.

Report back here to let us know how it went.

And spread the word.

Cheers to life!

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About the author

Angela Marchesani is a writer and Holistic Health Coach in the Philadelphia area. Her website, www.spokesholistic.com provides advice and resources for living a healthy, balanced and integrated life.

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9 thoughts on 5 Steps to Fulfillment

  1. “Change your routine” was the driving motivation for me leaving my cushy job a couple years ago. It’s amazing what taking control of your daily life can do for fulfillment. I went to the extreme, but small exciting changes can do wonders for your creativity.

  2. Brought a smile to my face too. We’re responsible for creating more ‘life’in our everyday lives. To nourish our spirit, I call it. A poem, a laugh, some writing. The question becomes, ‘what can I do today to nourish myself’. Also good to write a diary of our nourishing activities. Fun to look back and look forward. Thanks for this, Tina.

  3. I really like your advice to create every day.

    I have an overwhelming need to create, and I find that giving myself permission to do so brings me very real joy and fulfillment. There are so many ways to create. For me so far its been through writing, research, drawing, and singing.

    Creating something requires sharing who you are. This leads to a profound sense of connection to the world around us.

    Thanks for the great article!

  4. I’ve actually been in a rut the last few days. It’s funny because I did the 5 things you listed (before reading this), and I’ve been feeling better ever since. It’s a good sign to see that you wrote this! I’m definitely checking out your website, I’m in philly too!

  5. Jorge Blanco

    Wonderful tips Angeli. Starting with everyday things is a great start to making your life more fulfilling.

  6. Amy- What an inspiring move! Uzma- Adding “nourishment” to our daily to-do list is a great way to maintain balance. Maya- If you’re creating, it can only be good, right? Brittany- We must have been on the same wavelength with this stuff! Jorge- Thank you, and I agree: It’s all about the everyday things. Thanks for reading, all!

  7. Great tips! It’s easy to forget to do these things, particularly when we’re in a rut, so I appreciate the reminder.

    I’d add that connecting to a friendly community or just to a friend can also be helpful.

  8. Erica M.

    At about the 3rd sentence of this post I felt like you were telling my story, but it is comforting to know I’m not alone when it comes to the feeling of monotony toward life. I will definitely incorporate these tips, thank you!

  9. My brother suggested I may like this web site. He used
    to be entirely right. This put up actually made my day.
    You cann’t believe simply how a lot time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

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