Everyone wants to live a full life, and I believe everyone can. Some would say that to do so costs money. It’s true that it takes some money to meet basic needs, but I feel that most people can do much more with the resources they currently have than they think they can. I’d like to share a few ideas with you. Of course, you will think of many more that will work for you–these will just set your mind in motion.
What is “Living Large”?
I’m glad you asked. To me it means that you feel your life is full and has minimal restriction. You feel satisfied with where you are spiritually, mentally, socially, and physically. Does that mean that all attempts for self-improvement will cease? Not likely. There is always room to grow, and those who live large are constantly extending their borders.
We all have various aspects to our being. For instance, we are spiritual beings. To ignore that part of us is to live very small. So, living large involves getting your spiritual life in tune–the most important aspect of our lives. Our mental capacity is another aspect of our beings. To live large, we must continually be learning new things and exercising our marvelous brains. It is in this area that we most expand our horizons. We learn new things, find new an better ways of doing what we already enjoy, and explore new ideas and concepts.
We are also social beings. Living large in this arena means that relationships are exceedingly important. Did you know that one of the primary reasons God states for making man was for companionship?
Another important aspect of our lives is physical. To be happy and productive, it is vital that we take care of our bodies. Eating well, drinking adequate amounts of pure water, exercising, and supplementing our diet where necessary are all ways we take care of the bodies we live in. We are NOT our body, but we must have a body to indwell–and we only get one. To explore more about that, check out my lens on the subject.
Finally, we have a financial life. Truly, the way we use money is a reflection of what we feel is important and affects all the other aspects of our lives. You will notice that I said, “…use money…” Money is merely a tool. We can use whatever amount of money we have to live large in all the aspects of our lives. For instance, traveling to the Holy Land would feed my spiritual being; however, an armchair excursion may be more in keeping with my financial reality. Yet, they accomplish a similar goal: connecting me to my spiritual source. In the same way sharing a meal can be a wonderful way to enhance relationships; where the meal occurs, and what is eaten, is of little importance.
So, what are some ways that you can live large in your current financial reality? Let’s think about some ideas from each arena.
How do I ‘live large’ in my Spiritual Life?
One of my favorite things to do in the evening is to watch the sun set. Can you think of a more spectacular display of natural beauty? Some are pastel, quiet, and invite reflection. Others are wild with color, vivid, and exciting! I hope you have a place from which you can watch sunsets–or sunrises, if that is more to your taste. I am blessed to live close to the ocean, and I love to sit on the beach and bask in the sunset. If you are not so fortunate, there are many breathtaking sunsets that have been captured in photographs and paintings. Many are available online. In fact, my current desktop is a brilliant sunset over a pine-rimmed lake.
Meditating, going to church, listening to our favorite music, watching uplifting movies, or reading spiritual books are other ways to feed our spirits. Most cost little or nothing.
Here are some of my favorite uplifting movies: Field of Dreams, Chariots of Fire, Meet the Robinsons, Remember the Titans, The Sound of Music, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Hoosiers, October Sky, Top Gun, Stand and Deliver, Apollo 13, Lean on Me, National Treasure, The Pianist, Driving Miss Daisy, and Dave. There are many others, and you probably have a list of your own–movies that feed your soul and spirit. Movies that encourage you and give you hope.
In addition to the Bible, I love to read J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, C.S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, the Little Women series by Louisa May Alcott, and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
How do I ‘live large’ socially?
Sharing a meal with friends is one of the best ways to build relationships–even anthropologists agree on this. Have you ever participated in a Progressive Dinner? This usually involves several people and their homes. The entire group has hor d’oeurves at one home, salad at another, a main course at a third, and dessert at still another. Other courses can be added, of course, to suit your needs/desires. One home can be provided for babysitting young children. Another might be a place for games. This is so much fun!
You need not be so elaborate, however. Sharing a warm bowl of soup and homemade bread with your family or a best friend can be just as valuable. I have a monthly “lunch date” with a dear friend. Sometimes we eat out, but we more often eat a simple meal at her house. The conversation that comes with lunch is what really counts, after all.
Other activities to enjoy with others might include visiting a museum, bookstore, or other mutually interesting place with a good friend, hosting a game night for friends (my daughter does this regularly), or working a puzzle together. My husband and I often go to local fast food restaurant and work on word puzzles together–while enjoying ice cream. A favorite New Year’s Eve activity for our family is working a jigsaw puzzle together.
What ideas can I try to ‘live large’ mentally?
You can’t truly appreciate living large without continually learning new things–at least in my opinion. Learning keeps a person young. It prevents stagnation. It rejeuvenates us. Growth in this area can be as inexpensive or as expensive as you want it to be.
You could work on a degree through a university (that would cost money, for sure!), or you could take a class at your local Community School for Adults (much cheaper). An alternate would be to find someone who participates in the activity you’re interested in learning, and just be friends with them–hanging around and working with a master is the time-proved way to learn new skills.
Staying sharp is also rewarding. Reading good books, working puzzles of various kinds, solving mathmatical problems, or pursuing a challenging hobby are all ways to stay sharp–and maintain a feeling of living large. In addition to self-help books like Think and Grow Rich, Psycho-cybernetics, and The Magic of Thinking Big, I also enjoy reading history and biography.
What about ‘living large’ physically? Any ideas?
In the physical realm, living large, at least to me, involves being healthy. That means eating correctly. Did you know that you actually spend less money when you buy fresh than when you buy prepared foods? That’s right, by purchasing fresh ingredients and preparing your own food, you will actually save money. For instance, greens, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, and celery for at least a dozen salads can be purchased for less than $15. As a bonus, there will be lettuce for sandwiches and celery and carrots for veggie stix. Buying just the salad mix for those salads would cost at least $15 and wouldn’t contain celery, tomatoes, or bell peppers.
Being healthy also means exercising regularly. However, it does not mean you have to buy a gym membership. Walking is actually one of the best all-around exercises and costs nothing–except for a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Swimming is another great exercise that costs little or nothing. Other low-cost examples: gardening, doing housework, using the stairs instead of the elevator for fewer than 4 floors, or participating in community sports teams.
Now it’s your turn.
Living large is a choice you have to make for yourself. I hope these ideas will be a springboard to a new, more abundant life for you. I will continue to blog about more ideas for large living. Check back often. In addition, watch for my book that will be coming out soon. Till next time….live well.