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How Did I Get Here?:
Living Life My Way

February 27, 2014

Living Life My Way

Since my friend Steve passed away, I have been thinking about the way I live my life: do I do something I really want to do every day?; do I see my friends enough?; do I express appreciation to the people I love on a regular basis?; how am I spending each day, and do I spend my time the way I want to or the way I think I should?; finally, am I happy?

Most days I do think I do something I really want to do.  I go for a swim, take a Nia class, go for a walk, go to a movie, read.  I think I've got that one down.   I hadn't seen Steve in over a year when I realized he was ill.  I can't help thinking about all the lost time that can never be recovered, and it makes me so sad.  I really don't want to do that again.  I don't want to be 'too busy' to have tea or lunch or make a phone call.  That's one I have to work on. 

I have always expressed my love for friends and family and for my partner, probably ad nauseam, so that one's not a problem for me. But some of my days pass with a total lack of consciousness. I'm not proud of this fact; it even seems embarrassing, actually.  I just get up, brush my teeth, sit down at my computer and begin my day.  Even lying down to read in the afternoon is following a pattern some of the time.  As I'm writing this blog I'm realizing there are some behaviors I have to work on.  I don't think it's easy to be conscious all of the time, or even every day.  But I do think that on a chart, I'd fall on the unconscious side way too often for my own good. 

I think this affects how I would answer that last question to myself: when I choose the way I spend my time, really thinking about it, I am much happier.  When I spend hours, days or even weeks, doing what I'm used to doing, turning down tea with a friend because it might alter 'my schedule', or write my four pages when I don't feel like it–then I am not particularly happy.  I'm not unhappy, but I don't feel much joy either.  So there's work to be done. 

You never know who will get sick; you never know if it's going to be yourself.  I don't want to have regrets when my body fails me.  I don't want to scramble to fit in the things I let slide.  I want to feel more joy more of the time.  If that's true, I better take some time to make some changes.  So in this year I am making a pact with myself to make an effort to be more conscious in my day-to-day life.  I'll let you know some months from now if I'm experiencing more joy.  How about you? What makes you feel terrific, and are you doing it?

We welcome your feedback - what's your take on this article?

Nancy Alvarez began writing at Sarah Lawrence College and has written articles for the New York Times Magazine and Cosmopolitan. She has also written for several television shows and movies, including“The Waltons.” Her first novel, “Ladycat” was published by Crown in 1980 under the name Nancy Greenwald. She has taught screen writing at UCLA Extension, as well as in the Masters of Professional Writing at USC as well. She is currently working on a multi-generational novel set in Austria, Poland, New York and New Jersey. Her latest book, "The Girls and Me," along with "Little Nancy," can be found in the TTN Bookstore. Nancy can be reached at either http://www.nancyalvarezwrites.com or www.facebook.com/NancyAlvarezWrites.