This month I’ve discovered a few key components of my approach to wellness and ultimately happy, balanced living. I’ve spent a great deal of my free time reading and researching health, fitness, nutrition, creative inspiration and habit forming. Along the way this research inspired me to think about my own approach to living. I can’t speak for everyone but I most certainly live life with an approach. For all of my adult life it has felt very important to me to live my life with intention rather than “flailing” through life without much of a vision for what I hope to get out of any given experience. I enjoy to do lists and schedules and self monitoring. I keep track of my meals and my workouts. I write a blog and keep a journal. I check items off in my planner throughout the day and keep running lists on my phone and on paper. To many this approach to life might appear quite rigid, to others it’s liberating.
Self monitoring and self accountability are so freeing to me. By observing my own life with this sense of mindfulness I free myself from guilt, from excess idleness, from anxiety, from forgetting. Journaling and blogging help me to notice patterns in my life (“I start to feel depressed when ___”) and thus allow me to grow and improve. Journaling about meaningful experiences and adventures allows me to look back on those happy moments and gives me a sense of fulfillment. I adore these “Type A” practices for a reason that initially seems counter intuitive; I enjoy life analysis because I believe living is an art.
Like any other form of art there are infinite “right” ways to go about life. To balance work, health, relationships, hobbies, happiness and growth is no easy feat but it’s meaningful and we all aim to do it in one way or another. I don’t believe we can ever fully achieve a perfect balance but rather see balance as a wonderful ideal we can always strive for. The strife for the ideal balance extends beyond the way I divide my day into activities, balance is a state of mid as well.
In general I strive to be a positive and optimistic person, yet, I also find beauty in sadness, in darkness, in recognizing that some moments require tears and grief. I would never be the person to suggest “a moment of sadness is a moment of happiness you’ll never get back” because I believe to experience the full spectrum of emotions is part of the art of living. Emotion makes us human! Seeking the balance between authentic, raw emotion and hopeful optimism is a delicate balance but it’s part of how I attempt to live artfully.
Crafting my life is a messy, beautiful, sometimes disheartening, usually joyful experience. I am grateful for the privilege I was born into, that is living in a society that allows me to focus on crafting my life rather than expending all of my energy on basic survival. It is the ability to craft our lives, to search for meaning, to make conscious decisions on living artfully that gives us fulfillment and I believe the ability to reach self actualization.
What does living artfully mean on a daily basis?
Putting aside the cutesy granola-esque mantras, what does “living artfully” mean in practice? Are we all supposed to wake up and give ourselves enough time to make fresh green juice, practice meditation and paint with watercolors before heading into work each morning? Contrary to the poetic sentiment that saying “live artfully” conjures, I don’t think you need to reject a career or “normal” life to practice this method of living.
In practice living artfully is living with the intention of seeking constant growth, balance and appreciation for the beauty of life. For you maybe that means taking a walk on your lunch break instead of clicking through celebrity Snapchat stories, maybe it means setting aside to journal once a week, or nightly meditation before bed. Lately, cooking, running and spending as much time as possible outside help to make me feel connected to the earth while also giving me the reins on my life.
Living artfully need not be the same life from person to person. It’s not a religion or a cult but rather a call to appreciate life to the fullest and seek balance whenever possible. I guess I’m a bit of a hippie at heart!
How do you seek balance in your day to day life? What habits and indulgences help you to feel in control of your own life?