The concept of living an authentic life is perhaps a new one. A century ago, by the time you were forty you may well have been reaching the end of your life. With longer life expectancy, and retirement ages pushed further and further back, the working week becomes a never ending treadmill. If you feel like an automaton on an endless conveyor belt to pension age, then the ideal of authentic life may appeal.
So what does living an authentic life actually mean? Passion would seem to be a good place to start. What do you feel passionate about? What is the thing which makes you happiest? If you could do one thing every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Most people have something they enjoy, but the number of us actively pursuing it as a vocation or even just trying to fit it into a weekly schedule, is sadly low.
Perhaps the roots of this could stem from our days in education. As students as young as 13, we were asked to make choices about what we wanted to do for the rest of our working days. We were channelled into pathways based on who we were in those early years. 30 years later many of us have made myriad discoveries about who we are, what we value or enjoy, yet still we use that same outdated blue print for our careers.
The most interesting thing about those early vocational decisions – more often than not – they now seem safe, tedious even, and frankly lacking in passion at all. How many accountants genuinely feel the spark of excitement when they read a balance sheet? Do all bank managers really get turned on by the idea of sending yet another overdraft letter? Do they crave to feel the odd adrenaline rush?
Ask yourself now. If you could create an authentic life where every second was exciting and fulfilled you, what would it look like? Be honest, as carefree as you like. The more candid your list, the better the map you have for making changes in your life. Things you want to do, want to see, want to feel, they all have a place in the project. Don’t forget all the things you loved to do as a child which society says you may have outgrown. Just a slight tweak of the concept and you could feel those creative juices starting to flow all over again.
For most people a radical overhaul of their lives is impossible, but changes can be made. Small things like enrolling in an art class or buying a pair of roller skates could be the trigger that transforms your life from bearable to awesome. Who cares what other people think? Creating an authentic life for you, which encapsulates the essence of who you are, is bound to ruffle a few feathers.
I’ll tell you this though, smiles are contagious. They may shake their heads as you roller blade helmeted out of the supermarket, but happiness strikes a chord in everyone. Your gusto is sure to ignite just a little envy as they go about their daily grind! Mark my words, it won’t be long until those around you start creating their own authentic life wish lists too.