Woman letting her mind wander

Meaning from Mindless Moments

What should I do now?

At every moment of every day, we have a choice. What should we do? Sometimes we feel productive. Sometimes we feel creative. Sometimes we feel like having fun. How do we decide what to do with this particular moment? What can we do to make this moment as meaningful and fulfilling as it can possibly be?

What about when we feel uninspired? Our time in this life is limited, but does that mean we have to make every second of every day count? If we’re just not feeling it, is it OK to become mindless and browse YouTube videos?

When I’m feeling uninspired or unproductive, I can’t force myself to create or produce. But that doesn’t mean I have to surrender, make myself a drink, and plop down on the couch. There’s a lot of space between not being productive and not doing anything. There’s nothing wrong with mindless entertainment, and we all need some downtime (see “Downtime”). But if nothing is the only thing we can imagine doing when we’re not feeling productive, then we’re missing out on a wealth of possibilities.

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Looking to the future.

Future

What does the future hold for you?

What is around the next corner?

Do you feel like your life is predetermined and you’re trapped on a path from which there is no escape, or do you feel as free as a bird to go where life takes you?

Are responsibilities, expectations, and commitments limiting what you do, or is your life your own to do with as you wish?

For most people, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

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Sound. Woman playing guitar.

Sound

Each of us has a soundtrack to our lives.

We have the sounds we hear during our normal routine and during special events, including those sounds we seek out.

For some, this soundscape is intentional; they craft their lives based in part on what they like (or don’t like) to hear. For others, their soundscapes are a complete afterthought—literally just background noise.

Some like the sound of the hustle and bustle of the city, while others like the subtler sounds associated with nature. Some like raucous, energetic music, while others prefer it calm and melodic. For many, the sounds to which they are drawn depend on their mood, and their tastes will vary accordingly.

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Play! A group of friends having fun.

Play

Do you want to go out and play?!

As adults, our time for playing is usually not as spontaneous as that. Our playtime is often highly scheduled, goal-oriented, competitive, or in many cases, non-existent. We may have hobbies, activities we do for relaxation, or things we do to pass the time, but how much of it is fun? How much of it is carefree? How often is it spontaneous?

As adults in Western society, we have many expectations placed on us. We’re expected to go to work, pay our bills, raise our children; more fundamentally, we’re expected to act “responsibly.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but for many, this sense of responsibility displaces any sense of fun we had. We may occasionally let our hair down in a card game with friends or at the beach on vacation, but is fun and playing an essential part of our lives? Is it part of who we are?

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Serenity. Woman floating in a canoe.

Serenity

Throughout my life, I’ve experienced many extremes.

I’ve been blissfully happy and deeply despondent. I’ve felt supremely confident and utterly worthless. I’ve buzzed with energy and been completely listless.

Extremes are part of life and are something we all experience. Obviously, the positive extremes are preferable, right? We want to feel good, not bad.

What about another option? Instead of chasing elusive and fleeting feelings, we can aspire to serenity—a more consistent positive feeling that, with practice, is not fleeting, but something that we can feel all the time.

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