Why You Need to Be Careful With Your Life

A few days ago I posed a question: What advice would you give a newborn infant?  The question is obviously not literal as a newborn would not be able to understand the question.  Nonetheless, I have spent considerable time thinking about it and have come up with my answer…

…Be careful with your life.

credit: Zach Sloan/Summitpost.org

Too cautious and you miss out on the adventures that create the memories that make life worthwhile in the moment.  Too adventurous and you could miss out on the seemingly mundane events that make it all worthwhile in the end.  It’s a fine balance this thing called life.  Many of us get caught up in what we are expected to do and life passes us as quickly as the flash of a lightning bolt.  Then there is the group at the other end of the spectrum who live life as if today is there last.  Overly focused on having fun, while committing to almost nothing. Seizing today, while neglecting tomorrow.

…Be careful with your life.

These could be my new favorite 5 words.

They speak volumes to me and remind me to take chances but also appreciate the peacefulness of lying in the grass and watching the clouds.  I have had some adventures in my lifetime; some I am proud of and some I wish had never happened.  But with all the adrenaline-filled adventures behind me and the life of domestication ahead, I can say most of my favorite moments come in the form of normalcy.

I enjoy the anticipation of lying in bed with my wife after a long day and appreciating having her reading her tablet directly by me side.  I enjoy seeing her come down the stairs in the morning and making her a cup of coffee.  I enjoy silence and my alone time.  I appreciate the kisses from my puppy.  As I get older I realize there is a time and place for all things in life and for right now I am content with domestication.

My new adventure will come in the form of school in the fall and continuing to write my latest book; intellectual adventures, if you will.  My battles with MS will continue and we will handle them as they come.  I understand this will limit my physical adventures from this point forward and I am more than okay with this fact.  The good thing is I am still looking forward, while trying to appreciate right now.    I am trying to be careful with my life.  Are you?

To me being careful with your life means living intentionally.  And living intentionally means being aware of what you want to achieve, where you want to be and what you want to have, while at the same time allowing for flexibility and adventure while not being completely foolish.  Being careful with one’s life is a mindset of awareness.  It if focused, yet dream-filled.  It is caution and excitement all rolled into one.  It allows both extremes to exist simultaneously.  It allows you to live with your head in the clouds while also having your feet firmly planted on solid ground.  It is the best of all worlds.

My entire life I have aimed to define myself.  It makes me feel secure being able to say- I am Danny and I am the Head PGA Professional at XYZ Country Club.  It seems my entire life has been one long failed attempt at defining myself.  Who am I?  What do I want to be?  Where do I want to be?   And after so many years of failing I have finally realized I have been asking the wrong question(s).  And I know for certain that we get the wrong answers when we ask ourselves the wrong questions.

My new right question is-How do I want to change the world?  What do I want to leave behind when I leave this planet?  What do I want my legacy to be?  What do I want people to say at my funeral?   We can figure out our life path by knowing what we want people to say about us after we have died.

…Be careful with your life.

What do these 5 words mean to you?  What do you want people to say about you after you have died?   Or do my words fall on deaf ears?  If so, that is okay too.

If I have learned anything in the year and a half of blogging on Dream Big, it is that the vast majority of people in the world don’t really care, or don’t care enough to listen.  I mean, they don’t care enough to actually change their lives.  The facts of the online world are that 99% of people scan or skim over my page, hardly ever digest anything I say and they move on to the next cat meme or super-fantastic political propaganda piece.  This is the reality of what I do.  This statistic is what drives me to have more visitors, so I can increase the numbers contained in the 1% who actually read what I write for personal edification.

Paul Tillich wrote that an individual’s “god” is that with which one is ultimately concerned.  The concept is a “show me your actions and I’ll show you your truth” type thing.  The concept puts forth the idea that people in general do not take the time to truly identify that with which they are ultimately concerned and therefore live a confused life full of conflict and disappointment.  You perceive to be concerned about things which you are not really and this creates conflict within.  This is of course is an oversimplification of a deep and intellectual philosophical concept, but hopefully you get the point.  I ask myself what my ultimate concern is on a regular basis.  The question is a measuring stick in a way to keep me on track.

 

Five simple words.  Be careful with your life.  Are you being careful with your life? Does it matter to you or do you play life by ear?    I would love to get your view so leave your comments for all to read!

34 thoughts on “Why You Need to Be Careful With Your Life

  1. This article speaks volumes to me. As I am getting older I still want to ‘make the most of my life’ but still appreciating the smaller, normal things in life as you’ve mentioned. It’s about having a balance between both extremes and enjoying each day for the crazy or simple things you’ve done that day.

    I am so glad I came across this today….thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good point… What is my main concern? It is very easy to flit along, working, existing, not keeping the big questions in mind.
    What are my values and am I acting alongside them? Or against them?
    Food for thought. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a parent who made horrible mistake after mistake – the first being that I lowered my self worth and married a man I knew was cruel way before I married him . . .I think you have boiled it down. It’s not about the little decisions; whether to ride a roller coaster or a bumper cars, it’s about the time-sucking life altering stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As I read your post, a number of meanings to “be careful with your life” begin to dance in my head. Here is one take on the question; It relates to a matter of protecting ourselves.

    We can’t protect ourselves from absolutely everything – we will live, suffer gains and losses and make sacrifices. Sometimes, we put up with a lot, as in “too much”. We put up with more crap than we should because we have hope, hope for many things, and we retain our patience and hopes that if we can just hang in there, something magical will happen. Perhaps someone taught us to just keep our head down and keep quiet. In that tolerance for what we allow to happen we are at risk of painting with patience the act of allowing disrespect to happen, abuse even. Hence, I think it is important to learn to draw our lines in the sand and hold ourselves, and those in our environment, to these lines. It can be scary? Yes. Might we lose something? Friends? Family? Yes. But…. perhaps their presence in our lives is not necessary to our happiness. What are we gaining (or avoiding) may be just that much more important.

    I could go on… and on…. you may just have inspired me to start a new series on my own blog (lunasuniverse), or in my private journal at the very least, which I have been neglecting a bit for lack of inspiration 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Incredible post! Every word.😎

    Such an important lesson that must be lived to be learned.

    As I get older, I value my time so much more. This could also be related to increasing self esteem with age. I really enjoy my own company & would rather spend hours alone than 30 minutes with someone I don’t “jive with”.

    And because of my increasing discernment, I have never felt more F R E E 😉☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on In the Arena and commented:
    The dichotomy of life in being bold and brave or safe and sorry. I posit the question(s)- What keeps you up at night? I’m not referring to your aching back or crying baby. What tracks will you leave in this world or is following along nature’s path simply enough for you? A worthwhile read by Dream Big, Dream Often.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I value my life and I’m enjoying it, even during the tough times. What I shake my head at is when I see people doing “extreme sports” and “daredevil stunts” just for the thrill of it. Sometimes they get a bad surprise and they don’t get a second chance to take it back. To me, tempting fate with the one precious life you have is very foolhardy. That’s my rant for today.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Are you being careful with your life? Does it matter to you or do you play life by ear?”

    My answer: both. In my home and in my life, happiness is a mode of transportation, not a destination. Mindfulness is part of life. I am mindful of the planet, of people, and of myself – or at least I strive to be. I am aware that a smile and a kind word can change a stranger’s life.

    Certainly, I’ve been accused of not being focused enough on whatever goals other people think I should be accomplishing – which, oddly, usually involve money. Money means nothing to me. Yes, I know it pays for the day to day and in that sense it’s a necessary evil. But I have no lust for it, no desire to see numbers piling up in this account or that account. I also bore witness to the destruction of my parents’ dreams with the early death of my mother. Here were two hardworking individuals. They scrimped and saved all their lives, putting in long hours for a retirement they never had. That course in life looked very wrong to me. They passed by so many opportunities to do things together, to enjoy each other and the family, because they were too focused on some hazy future that never materialized for them. I heard all of my father’s regrets during the years he lived beyond my mother.

    So I’ve tried to move forward thinking of how it would feel like from a future perspective. Would I regret not trying to do something frightening? If yes, then go for it. Am I passing up an opportunity to spend quality time with someone I care about? If yes, then to hell with work or whatever plans were in my head – I’ll take the time, thank you. Sure, I’ve made some choices that I’m still not sure of. But that’s life.

    In the end, all that will remain of me will be the memory of who I was, echoed in my artwork and the minds of people who knew me. If they think of me and smile, I’ve lived a worthwhile life.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I consider much of what’s in this post and bp709’s reply to fall under my tag of “the benefits of aging.” At the ripe old age of 59 I was able to comfortably retire along w/my spouse who had retired a couple of years before me. I use the word comfortably to describe both of us and our situation in that we’re OK financially and physically and mentally so far. This enables us to use our current abundance of free time to pursue those activities we’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have time as well as some others we’ve only recently discovered. Concurrently, we are also available to spend time and/or provide assistance to our loved ones.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s great that you’re at that point in your life. I feel the need to point out, though, that I am not comfortably retired. I’m not struggling, but I would in no way describe myself as ‘comfortable’. That is a result of earlier choices; I chose to not commit to what I saw as a rat-race. But hey! I’ve been living with a chronic illness for 20 years now and can hardly expect to live a long life. I’m sure that’s had a lot to do with my outlook.

        Liked by 1 person

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