Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
I am learning more and more about myself now that I am alone in a new city. I’ve come across the realization that I wasn’t really living my life. Because of my hermit-like nature, I simply exist. Since life is a culmination of experiences, it’s hard to find those if you don’t do anything. Sure I have a lot of different experiences online, but it pales in comparison to finding things in the real world.
The Difference Between Living and Existing
Too many people don’t live life and merely exist in the moment. Instead of getting the most out of any situation, they simply go through it. While you can still get a few experiences this way, it’s usually not even close to what you could receive.
For example, let’s say your significant other takes you window shopping. Personally, I used to hate this activity. Why show me something I am not looking to buy? Then I realized that if I would have lived in the moment instead of just walking around and existing, more could have been added to enrich my life. Instead of feeling like I was being dragged around town, I could have relished in the time being spent with someone I care about.
When you just exist in the moment, you’re only absorbing part of the experience. This is especially true if you have no interest in what’s going on around you. The mind tends to wander and you just don’t pay enough attention. In many instances, this can easily take away from the experience leaving you with mediocre memories at best. Or, you may even find yourself focusing on negative memories more than positive ones.
Absorbing all that you can works to better your life. It boosts your knowledge about any location or circumstance and can be beneficial for future needs.
Case in point, I’ve discovered that Los Angeles has an incredible number of coffee houses not because I was looking specifically for them. I walked around town and explored what the city had to offer an adventurer such as myself.
When you live in the moment, it seems like everything is far more intense. It seems like your senses are for more attentive to what’s going on around you. As a result, you enrich your life through experience.
Influencing Your Life
When you make more of an effort to live, it can influence everything from the career paths you choose to the mate you take. It helps develop the person you are and who you want to become. To simply exist lacks the sensory input that helps make those decisions.
How do you know you would enjoy something unless you actually try it? For instance, I thought eating squid would be nasty…until I tried calamari at Bahama Breeze in Denver. Now, it’s one of my favorite seafood. I could have stayed on the path of existence and simply ordered shrimp. But I wanted to live in the moment and try something new.
When I was younger, most of my jobs centered around data entry. Typing 60 words per minute with a near perfect accuracy is quite a talent when transcribing numbers. However, I found writing content that people will actually read to be more fulfilling.
What I am trying to say is that just doing what you need to exist isn’t going to do much to improve your lifestyle. Until you actually make the decision to live to the fullest, you’ll probably miss out on a lot of things that will impact your life for the better.
Why Hobbies and Activities Are Important
Almost everyone has some kind of a hobby in one way or another. Some will put together model world-war-2 planes while others binge watch their favorite shows on Netflix. Hobbies are great, but do they offer an experience you can gain from or simply because it exists?
Putting together model cars or planes gives you a chance to explore what it’s like to build a machine in the real world. You can actually learn quite a bit in this activity, especially the value of painting pieces before gluing. However, there are some hobbies that don’t offer much insight outside of entertainment value.
For example, binge watching shows on Netflix isn’t necessarily bad. But when you’re going through your fifth run of Frasier, what more are you gaining outside of entertainment? There’s only so much you can learn from watching the same things over and over again. Yes…I am very guilty of this pleasure.
Regardless of how you experience a hobby, it can be very helpful in contributing to your life. This is especially true for constructive hobbies, such as building a model Christmas city very year during the holiday season.
Maintaining a hobby is a great way to introduce therapy. It’s an activity you have control over. In a world that seems uncontrollable, hobbies help you feel like there is something you can govern over without influence from anyone else. And if you get more out of the process by exploring the hobby, it can be therapeutic while enriching your life.
At the moment, my hobby is writing. However, I would love to get back into art as soon as I am in my own place again. I really miss drawing with colored pencils.
A hobby can also give you experience in different aspects of life. No one says that hobbies have to be centered around merely collecting things. A hobby can be exploring new facets of life, traveling or even trying a new type of food each week.
Hobbies are a great way to help you learn more about the world around you, especially if you go beyond simple things. Why settle for collecting Magic: The Gathering cards when you can take it a step further and actually play in tournaments? It’s the experience of meeting new people and forming relationships that you want to focus on, not necessarily winning.
Shapes Your Life
Hobbies also have a way of shaping your life and altering who you are and what you’re looking for. People who are creative and use art as a hobby are often better troubleshooters. Even gamers develop excellent hand-eye coordination, which influences many aspects of life.
Skills that are developed in a hobby can easily influence personal lifestyles and career choices. From strategies to physical development, it’s all relevant. And all of it can help you experience more by living life rather than just exist in it.
Don’t Just Exist in the Moment
When you float down the river of life, do you just let the current take you or do you set sail? Perhaps you can break out the oars and guide yourself to where you want to go. The point is that the current may not take you exactly where you want to go. You have to row to the specific place you want to be.
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