What To Do With the Rest of Your Life?

Every moment we face the big question of what to do with the rest of our lives. Mostly, we push that question aside and continue doing what we were already doing with our lives. In quiet moments of discontent, that question occurs to us, and the possibilities and impossibilities both seem frightful.

For some, that question is all consuming. Young and old people, making major life decisions for themselves, applying for schools or jobs, choosing, changing or losing careers, entering or exiting relationships, or looking for, or facing, a change in their life will often torture themselves with the question of what to do with the rest of their lives.

The question should not be so painful. The pain is the overwhelming weight of an idea of what we are and what a successful life should include and exclude, and in wondering how it might be possible to get there from where we are. When where we are is painful, it is natural to want to get someplace else. It is not hard to imagine that, with a few fortunate changes in circumstance, we would find contentment in our lives and follow a rewarding path toward happily ever after. The question of what to do with the rest of our lives, begins with the extremely fortunate circumstance that we have a life and options. What we will do with the rest of our life is impossible to fathom.

Feeling contentment in the life that you have and with who you are is a reasonable goal and one you can begin to pursue now and for the rest of your life. Feeling contentment with your life and who you are will only help you in creating the life that you want for yourself. To find contentment now, look at your life as it is. Look without any judgement and with compassion. See what you have. Think of your friends, family and people whom you love. Think of the people who love you. Think about things that you are good at doing. Think of things you like to do. You can feel contentment, even while some or many things are not as you would like them to be. In this moment, things are as they are. You feel as you feel. In the next moment, things will change and you will adjust to how things will be then. For the rest of your life, that is what you will do.

For the rest of your life, you will have your breath and your body. Whenever you are faced with the question of what to do with the rest of your life, use your breath to remind yourself to check in with your mind and body, see what you are feeling, see what you are thinking, remember to be compassionate, and you will choose wisely about what you should do in the moment, and for the rest of your life.

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One comment on “What To Do With the Rest of Your Life?

  1. Josh Kurz Birchard

    Thank you, Peter, for the suggestions and for helping me not lose sight of being present and appreciating what I have right now. I wanted to share about being inspired to do something different and then becoming a bit bewildered about it. I recently saw The End of the Tour, which was about three days in the life of author David Foster Wallace and a young journalist who accompanies him for those three days. The journalist asks David questions, trying to find out who David is and why he has made the choices he has made.. There are lots of deeply felt moments, simple and profound insights, amazing dialogue, and a lot of truth about how crushing it can be to be held captive by dark thoughts and emotions.

    I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life, but after seeing this movie, which I identified with so much, I have thought a lot about being a writer. My desire to be a writer is complicated, though, and it has pulled me back and forth. I envision scenarios and list the obstacles and possible perils of living an unstructured and financially uncertain life. But through all of this thinking, I am lucky to have reminders like this – that I can always take breaths and observe, without judgment, the ideas that fly around when I question what I’m doing with the rest of my life. Thanks Peter!

    -Josh

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