Are you living life to the fullest?


HAVING celebrated my 38th wedding anniversary in January and with my 66th birthday next month, I realise that life is transient and that I will never be as young as I was yesterday.

Someday I will have to say goodbye to this beloved Earth.

It struck me that everybody, no matter who you are, has an expiry date – not necessarily only with death but also when we hold high office.

So, during the remaining years of our life, shouldn’t we mould our thinking in such a way that we endeavour to live life to the fullest? For starters, a good life is when we realise how blessed and contented we are.

It is comforting to note that we, to a certain extent, have a lot of control over how our story is going to end if we make the right decisions during our working years or even when we retire or are about to retire.

Our character and behaviours and the way we think, to a large extent, have been conditioned by our physical surroundings, our interaction with family, friends and office colleagues, as well as social norms, schools and colleges we attend.

We live in an all-serious world, so busy with work and other things that we forget to live. We get trapped in the rat race and in later life to stay healthy.

We constantly add pressure and stress to our lives. We are not kind to ourselves, and don’t treat ourselves the way a good friend would. We live a very stressful life.

I also realise that in life we will fall a few times, feel the pain and get the bruises. Yet we keep getting up and this only makes us stronger.

After going through the demanding and fast-paced lifestyle in our working years, we need to realise that we cannot sustain the pace without adverse consequences to our overall health and wellbeing.

How soon are we prepared to press the “pause” button and review our current lifestyle to make the necessary changes? I think the sooner the better. We experience so many great things all day long but in reality are unaware or fail to acknowledge these wonderful happenings.

Seniors and retirees like me should wake up each morning and remind ourselves that it is a privilege to be alive and that every new day is a bonus.

We should also treasure what we currently have – our health, happiness, state of mind, spouse, children, grandchildren and our financial position, just to name a few.

In short, we should feel blessed and contented now; there are thousands of others who are praying hard to be in our shoes!

If we want to stay healthy, we must exercise and eat “right”. It should be similar to how we worked hard for good grades in school and a promotion at work.

If we want happiness, then we must stay positive.

So, I have learnt to smile and laugh more, while giving more and expecting less.

I have learnt to be kind to others and treat them the way I would like to be treated.

To reduce my blood pressure, I have also learnt to be more forgiving. I know that letting go of all of the grudges, hatred and resentment built up over the years, will help me lead a less stressful life filled with moments to be cherished.

Robert G. Ingersoll put it aptly, “The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”

Happiness is a choice; your choice. So, please choose wisely. Abraham Lincoln said: “Most folks are as happy as they make their minds to be.”

So before we leave this Earth for good, can we not learn to give back to society? Can we not volunteer our services to charitable organisations or non-governmental organisations?

I suggest that one of the concluding chapters of our story should be focused on doing our best to make a difference in somebody’s life.

Helping others without expecting anything in return can be very rewarding. Money cannot buy the satisfaction and happiness we derive from acts of benevolence.

We should also try to protect Mother Earth in whatever way we can so that our children and their children will continue to enjoy the greenery and beauty.

Finally, we should try our best to keep fit and stay healthy – not only physically but also mentally and spiritually. A positive attitude and optimistic thinking helps keep our spirit alive.

Photo: The writer enjoying nature. – Photo copyright Pola Singh

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