I feel it's helpful to ask yourself what a meaningful life truly is to you. You might have asked yourself already, but I feel it's a useful thing to 'check-in' every so often with a reflective exercise like this one (or this one).
It means that you're kept 'on track' in living the life you want to live, or slowly head towards, rather than be carried along aimlessly in the current that is life.
Six months from now this list might look slightly different (its ok to change, in fact it's expected), but here's what mine currently looks like. I know it's easy to go overboard and list like 50 items, but I wanted to consciously hone in on the five most important things for me:
Work has been a big one for me. It's no surprise, given how much of a chunk we spend our lives working and how much our identity is wrapped in it. For me, working towards something I care about is fundamental. As is the freedom to express myself, and the freedom to control how/when/from where I work. This is why either remote employment or doing my own thing is the way to go.
Healthy work-life boundaries (freedom with work)
Speaking of working remotely, having this balance is crucial. To me, though, it's even more than a balance - work and life overlap. When I'm doing work I care about, I see it less a work and more that I'm energised by doing it. Also, working remotely or for myself means I have freedom to work on my own terms. Those loooong commutes into town and hours to go with (8.30am to 6pm) were not good for me. Not ideally did I not enjoy the work itself, but all of my time/energy was taken up with work, eat and sleep leaving me no time to have any semblance of balance or be able to do things that nourished me (like express myself creatively or cultivate meaningful relationships).
Again, if you're doing this in your work this is a winner. If you're not, it's really important that you find an outlet for creative self-expression. It might be journalling, it might be story writing, it might be mindful colouring or knitting or dancing. Whatever it is, we need to get into our intuitive body space and create. When I was merely talking to people all day long in my sales job (and mindlessly gorging on depressing news on both commute journeys), my soul was devoid of creative spirit and the deeper meaning that comes from engaging creatively on something.
Time spent alone
Of course, as an introvert and highly sensitive person this is invaluable. Whether it's just vegging out, or doing a creative or movement-based activity, alone time is so very important.
I feel it's helpful to ask yourself what a meaningful life truly is to you. Here are pieces of the jigsaw for me, and I think other INFs and HSPs will be able to relate. Slowly build up trust and connection, but IRL relationships are extremely important. This has been increasingly dawning on me during the lockdown, and it's why I make more of an effort for real-life relationships these days, with family and friends.
What about you?
What are the top 5 pieces of your 'meaningful life' puzzle?
Scribble them down in a notebook/journal, or feel free to share them on Twitter.
PS. If you enjoyed pondering over this, you might also enjoy the 'perfect day' exercise
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