A shallow question or attention grabber? A simple answer or lifelong topic of conversation? I thought I would tackle this “basic” question in a short blog post. I’m no expert on metaphysical things. I don’t have an Ph.D. in anything. I haven’t read much in philosophical or psychological realms. But I do know a thing or two about the soul, because you see, I have one. And I spent several hours reading probably 20 articles and responses I found on Google about the topic. I’ve come to some conclusions I think are somewhat reasonable, not too difficult to fathom, and even fairly worthwhile to consider.
One thing I know is that life is a journey. Another is that life is complex and leaves us with a lot of questions. Show of hands…who agrees with me? Since we are on such common and holy ground, follow along with one keenly observant, although unpaid professional’s examination of this weighty topic.
But first a word about the photo above. Taken at the Aspendos Amphitheater in Turkey in 2009. The Roman and Greek amphitheaters are known for their acoustics. A whisper from the floor can be heard at the top rim. Remarkable! I think this is a perfect photo to illustrate the topic as we embark on a journey of talking about the journey of life. I request a listen to my whispered voice no matter how close or far you are from where I stand. One woman walks into the amphitheater to give ear. Will you take a few moments to listen?
Consider this an overview, the scratching of the surface, and an invitation to tune in to future blog posts. There are two things I would like to share as an outline: first, what I would consider to be the definitive categories of what is important in life (the serious stuff) and second, what I would consider to be worthless things that I have no time for or willingness to waste my life on (the silly stuff).
Here is my definitive list of what is important in life.
1. People. The ones you love. Relationships and connections. Investing time and mentoring others. People!
2. Purpose. Authentically coming to terms with who you are.
3. Substance. Developing a deeper you, becoming a person of character, and resolving any regrets.
4. Contribution. Giving yourself to something bigger than yourself and making a difference in life.
How did I make my list? Reading all those articles, blog posts, lists others have made certainly gave some consensus of categories. I read psychologists, philosophers, Christians, agnostics, authors, normal people, educated people, angry people, peaceful people…people like you and me. Some boiled it down to the question “What would you do if you had 24 hours to live?” Some went on and on and confused me. So I compiled, plus had a unofficial poll at Chick-fil-a. And this is what I sifted it down to. Everyone when posed with the thought of a known end said they would do what they love and be with the ones they love. A song that succinctly sums up what to do with your last day is by Ben Rector called Live Like the World is Going to End. It gave some inspiration to this post.
What I don’t have time for? That list is long, but here are a few categories:
1. Shallow, hurtful, self-absorbed people who show no willingness to learn, change or discuss the nuances of the journey of life
2. Instagrammers who specialize in selfies, coffee, food and dogs
3. Placing premiere importance on things that don’t have lasting or eternal value (fashion, sports, animal advocacy, technology, furniture, science, archeology, coffee, food, dogs, etc.)
4. Living just for me, my comfort, and pursuit of pleasure
5. Having a small vision for the life you live
Well, what do you think of my lists? Chime in and share your thoughts. I’ll walk through each of the topics in my list of what is important in life and some encouragement to take steps of action in future posts. So please consider following so you won’t miss those discussions. Have a blessed day and invest time in the things and people that matter.