# 81 on my 99 Life Tips–A List is: Focus your attention and energy on making a life worth living, more than on making a living and hoping one day to match it to a worthwhile life. That day may never come.
Making a living isn’t that exciting if it just means you’re keeping yourself alive and afloat to—make a living. Instead, focus attention on making a life. One worth living. Making a life worth living is the point of making a living. Right?
How do you know if you have?
Ask yourself, is this the life I want to be living?
Hopefully, there are elements in your life that you enjoy, that you want to be there, and that you would miss if they were gone. Cherish, protect, and be grateful for those.
Other elements need to go. Period. You know it. You’ve known it for a while.
You know them when you lie down at night and scan the inventory of your life and wonder how you got here, what you’re doing in this job, or with that person, or with these persistent, chronic issues arising from so-called friends, or family members that are family in name only.
And these certainly aren’t the only things that may need to go for you to have the life you actually want.
One thing is certain, you’ll never arrive there—if you don’t leave here.
You cannot know for certain that you’ll arrive at your desired, imagined, dream life. You can’t be certain of the destination.
But you can be certain of the launching pad. You can know where you’re leaving from.
Row if you must, but go for it
Lyrics from 2 songs by the only band that matters, the Grateful Dead, apply here.
The first is from Row Jimmy:
“And I say row, Jimmy row
Gonna get there?
I don’t know
Seems a common way to go
Get down, row, row, row
The second, from Saint of Circumstance, is like it:
“Well, I sure don’t know
What I’m goin’ for
But I’m gonna go for it,
That’s for sure. “
You have one shot at this life, folks. One shot. And God, it’s a blink. A vapor that passes.
I especially like pacing suggested by the chorus from Row Jimmy. It’s not Speedboat Jimmy. Nor is it Rocketship Jimmy. It’s Row Jimmy. Sometimes making a change can take time. It takes effort. The pace can feel slow, like a rowboat.
The second song verse from Saint of Circumstance suggests that the decision to commit to a change can be instant and persistent. You may not know where you’re gonna go. You may have to row to get there. So it may take some time, but making a life worth living is what you’re gonna go for.
There and back again
At 19, I traveled all the way across country and back having left home with a $20 bill. I didn’t know how hard it would be to make that trip again, or how long it would take me to do it. I didn’t know the full value of what I was seeing. The places I went were amazing, but I wasn’t as mindful as I’d be now. I was grateful, but not as appreciative as I’ll be the next time. I hope like hell to go across country by car again, but that day may never come.
There will never be a good time to do it. Other considerations, other obligations, other clamoring, clutching things will seem to matter and weave an illusory web of importance to keep me stuck if I let them.
There will never be a good time. If I do it again, there will only be departure time.
You will face your own sticky web that is keeping you stuck in a life that is not the one you ever envisioned. Free yourself to live your best life.
I’m not advocating being irresponsible. I’m advocating taking responsibility for your own misery as the only path towards taking responsibility for your own happiness—and go for it. For sure.