Make us your home page

Tell Me About It: Learn to appreciate 'all there is' in your life

Q: I'm in my mid-40s and I guess finally having my midlife crisis. After watching my friend's husband die of brain cancer at 52, and a co-worker drop dead of a heart attack at 53, I'm acutely aware that life can change in an instant. I am happily married and have a young daughter, but seem to be wondering, "Is this all there is?"

I really want a change, to make the most of the time I have left with my family. How do I get rid of this feeling that my time is running out?


A: Interesting timing. I received this question the day after a friend's funeral — 47, brain cancer, awful — and one of the most powerful observations at the service was that she responded to her diagnosis by not making dramatic changes to her life. She surveyed "all there is," felt fortunate to have it, and just wanted to live it.

Imagine this bucket list: family, friends, career, hobbies.

It's possible her "I have it all" and your "Is this all there is?" are essentially the same. Since perspective is so powerful, maybe merely appreciating the mundane is "making the most of it."

Tweak as you need to, of course: Travelers should travel and givers should give and artists should art (that's a verb, right?).

If mere tweaks don't produce meaning, then, yes, take these recent deaths as your hint to re-evaluate who you are and what path you want to take. I'm merely suggesting you start by considering that your life is right where you want it — right where your choices took you — and that better lighting is all you need to see its beauty.

Tell Me About It: Learn to appreciate 'all there is' in your life

07/27/14 [Last modified: Saturday, July 26, 2014 12:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post Writers Group.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours