A while back I was perusing Quora, a social site specializing in a question and answer format. One of the questions I received was, “How can one live life to the fullest?” Not exactly a light, easy-going question!
However, I didn’t want to ignore it as I suspect it’s the kind of question that many people ask. Further, I didn’t want to post anything flippant or superficial. Also, I wanted it to be brief while still offering something worthwhile and helpful.
So here is my response. I hope it provided something worth pondering.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to the question of living life to the fullest. Each of us is unique. I’m in my 60s now, so I have a variety of experiences from which I’ve learned some things.
The first idea to think about is “what do you mean by the word fullest?” Most of us know intuitively that it is not about a constant stream of momentary hedonistic sensations. It is something deeper. Most of us desire a life that is rich and satisfying.
The first thing to ponder is the difference between a need and a want. This will clarify the value of a given item, situation, decision, etc. The next thing is to determine “what will happen if I don’t get this (thing, situation, person, etc.)?” Knowing the downside of something helps to take it more lightly.
Believe it or not, the seemingly simplest things turn out to be the most important for creating a rich, satisfying life. There are three:
1. Food 2. Shelter 3. Love
Those are the needs. Everything else is a want.
There’s nothing wrong with having wants. But understanding that one can live without them (the downside is tolerable) is liberating.
So I would suggest that living life to the fullest is “understand what fullest means, having the 3 needs fulfilled, and letting go of wants the lack of which are not really harmful.
Hope that offers some food for thought.