OK, another semantic rant, here, but, honestly, I get so annoyed when I see that headline “Live Your Best Life!” Because it comes with the assumption that the life you’re living now is not that and there’s usually a system you can buy or a guru you can follow (for easy monthly payments!!!) to get you there.
But here’s the thing. We only have the one life. So, according to grammar, it is, by default our best life. It’s also our worst, but that seems a bit pessimistic for a Friday morning.
So what does this pedantic pickiness get me? It gets me the freedom to realize that, without having to change a thing, I am already living my best life. Whew! Pour a glass of wine and take the rest of the day off. Throw out that vision board and burn the bucket list, I am already there!
OK. You don’t actually have to do that. Some of you really like vision boards and bucket lists. Some of you have things you’d really like to do in this life and that’s great. Go ahead (takes a sip of wine) I’m cheering for you!
But can we maybe take the pressure off? Can we maybe agree that if, by the grace of grammar, we are already living our best life, we could maybe take that little b-word out, since it’s redundant anyway? And then it becomes:
live your life
Sometimes, when I’m writing a post, I’ll follow a line of thought and it will surprise me.
And that’s what happened when I typed that little sentence up there. I looked at it and thought, whoa, that’s kind of a radical thought. So, I bolded it and centred it and put it in a great big font so you’d know it was important. Because there’s something about living your best life that makes it feel like it maybe doesn’t entirely belong to you, that part of it belongs to the panel of judges, whoever they are, who decide if it’s your best or not. But live your life, well, that becomes entirely yours. To do with as you see fit. To be treated as the gift we are always told that it is, but if it really is a gift, why does it come with so many strings attached and way to spoil a present, world. I mean, think of it, you don’t give a kid toy and then tell him that he must always play with it excellently and productively and always between the hours of 10 and 2. Or maybe you do, but whenever I got presents, it was always pretty much left up to me how I used them. But the gift of life? Well, way too many people want to weigh in on how that one gets put to use. So I look at that bold centred phrase again and the weight comes off my shoulders and I can breathe so much more deeply it feels like I’ve grown a third lung. And how cool does that feel? What world of amazing possibilities open up now? How much freedom is in that phrase?
Maybe living your life will involve launching your own six-figure business and climbing seven highest peaks on earth, like the gurus and the systems seem to want us to do. Or maybe living your life will involve spending a lot of time on the couch, snuggled up with the dog and viewing the finest that Netflix has to offer. No one needs a system or a guru to tell them to do that. And yet, as I read my friends’ guilty confessions on Facebook and own up to my own desires, there is a lot of joy to be found in couches and dogs and, yes, even mindlessly watching Netflix. And isn’t the whole point of living your best life to find joy?
I think that Live Your Best Life is another case of FOMO disguised as self-improvement. Just because people do, in fact, run ultramarathons, launch charities and start-ups from their kitchen tables and give up gluten, we think maybe we should, too. Maybe this life of jammies and dogs and couches, that we seem to enjoy, is wrong, somehow, is not enough.
Is it the best? Should I do it better?
The systems and the gurus advise that you discover why you want to do something and how it will make you feel and head for that. But if your end point is a life with more time to relax and enjoy, why bother with all the stress and turmoil of the six-figure career and all that goes with it? Why not just relax and enjoy now, with the understanding that if your tastes should suddenly change from movies in your jammies on the couch to opening nights in formal wear, you will make the changes necessary to be able to afford that. My guess is that if you don’t have a taste for that now, chances are you never will and it’s OK to not worry about how you’re going to pay for it. We’ve talked about the tyranny of our Future Selves before and I stand by my reasoning on that.
Live your life.
Live YOUR life.
It’s yours. You are yours to challenge or coddle. To improve or appreciate. And you don’t need a guru or a system to tell you what you want. You probably don’t even need anyone to tell you how to get it. You really only need to listen to your own heart and do what it tells you.
You are, by default, living your best life. So live it. With all its mess and stickiness. All its confusion and detours. Go ahead. It’s your life. Your best life.