A life well lived

Yesterday I went to a memorial service for a good friend's father. People crowded into the meeting area of the retirement facility he'd lived in for the past 15 years. Over and over, friends talked about Max in terms of a "life well lived." I'd always wondered what that phrase meant. Their memories attested to his generosity, engagement in people and causes, his courage in the face of adversity.

I left the service hoping that future mourners would say some of the same things about me. That I was a "life well lived." But am I? What would that even look like? Probably not the same as for Max, my friend's father.

For me, creativity is one of the main ingredients of a life well-lived. But I struggle with what that means exactly. 3 blog posts a week? 15 sales on Etsy a month? Making "real" art -- oil paintings -- that hang in a gallery? The trouble with concrete goals like these is that meeting them leaves me feeling empty after the first "hooray."
Oil painting aka "real" art
My 2nd oil painting. Hooray!
Maybe a creatively lived life is less product and more process. But I worry that I'm too left-brained for that. (About 10 years ago I tried to fix this by becoming left-handed. My right-brained friends laughed at me.) All those years in the "real" world meeting deadlines and setting priorities are hard to shake. I want a clear, step-by-step program for being creative, but that's exactly the wrong way to approach it. I think. Am I over-analyzing this?
Cappuccino in Italy
La vita bella!
I just finished a book called Goal-Free Living. One of the ideas I liked best was to think in terms of themes, not goals. So instead of waking up and saying to myself, "Today I need to make 5 Kindle cases and learn how to solder," I'd name a theme. Like "appreciation" or "encouragement" or "play." And then see what happens.

It's scary.
A right-brained person did this. Just sayin'
So what do you consider a "life well lived"? Are you living it?


  1. Hmmm...themes instead of goals...I like it. Goals never worked for me.
    A life well-lived is one in which I've left the world better than I found it. Helped the earth, helped animals, helped people. All else is gravy to me.

  2. Yes, I have to quit getting stuck in the gravy. So to speak.


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