Our lives are bittersweet – messy and beautiful.
Like a baby with diapers, tears and giggles.
Like a toddler with tantrums, laughter and sweetness.
Like a six-year-old, stubborn but wanting to please.
Like a teen, with budding maturity and brimming with emotions, messy and beautiful.
Like parenthood with sleepless nights, endless work and great expectations.
Like our relationships with quirks that endear and infuriate and our bonds of intimacy.
Like maturity with bittersweet memories, physical decline and wisdom.
So easy is it to be caught up in the messiness of life – the demands of the day, the detours from our dreams, illnesses and accidents. Sometimes it seems that our lives are not our own. We are flotsam randomly floating on the waves, gerbils running endlessly in our cages, or gamers reacting to obstacles thrown before us.
The alternative is to live life deliberately.
Some of us are fighting life. We start off with goals, but life intervenes. We fail, relationships end and we don’t get the job of our dreams. It can seem that fate conspires against us and things never go our way. Life is a battle.
Some of us just go through the motions. We do what we’re expected to do as students, employees, parents or friends but we are not fully engaged. Our days slip on by as we forget about the fleeting nature of life and its circumstances. Everything and everyone about us is in constant motion and change. What is here today may be gone tomorrow.
Our relationships are never perfect except in rosy retrospect. We are all guilty of not being at our best and not fully appreciating one another. Life together is messy, bittersweet but potentially beautiful. We can only realize the best in our relationships through our actions today.
Some of us live passively. Surrendering as if none of it is within our control, we take the job that comes and do it without question. We settle into passionless relationships and do nothing to make them better. We float along to the end of our lives then wonder where it all went.
Some of us live reactively. Life hits us so we hit right back. We take a lousy job to pay the bills. We explode in anger to each successive frustration. We can’t win but we keep on fighting.
At no time are our lives totally under our control – not as a dependent child, a starving student, a young adult, or a busy parent. Yet we can resolve to live our lives more deliberately.
It begins with making choices. Choose happiness. In the hours of your day not consumed by work or duty, choose what you really want to do and with whom you wish to do it. With your limited funds and resources, recognize your personal needs and honour your passions. Do what you love to do. Do what you need to do.
Live life on purpose. When life seems to have no meaning, you must find it or make it. Where do you find meaning? Put your time and energies where your heart is.
Resolve to live life more deliberately. If you have a choice, have you chosen the work that best engages your passions and talents? How can you make this day more meaningful? What can you do today to bring more happiness to you and others?
Dr. Davidicus Wong is a family physician.