Apparently GOING INTO DEBT is the new way to “make the most of life’s opportunities and memorable moments.” At least, that’s according to the subject header of an email I got from the bank that issued my credit card. They want to sell me a personal loan for the sum of $21,900, at the bargain rate of 6.98% interest. Dude. First off. I am not in this to “make the most of life’s opportunities” - I’m in it to make the most of the reward points. If you aren’t offering 3x points on travel, I’m not interested. Second off. Debt is a shackle around the ankle that in fact destroys your ability to take advantage of opportunities and create memorable moments. Debt can poison every moment of happiness you might otherwise have had. It causes stress, insomnia, and, at least in my case, fits of uncontrollable weeping.
So yeah. Thanks for the invite.
What actually does create memorable moments?
Connection. Full engagement. Paying attention to your surroundings. Listening hard, really hard, creepy-hard, when other people are talking. Opening the gates of your heart. Living today like it really counts. Acting like you really mean it when you do and say things, even things like sitting on the couch wearing no pants.
How can we actually make the most of life’s opportunities?
What does this even mean?
It means we need to know what an opportunity even IS. It’s not just recognizing opportunities as they come up, because they’re available every single second. The road outside your front door has been patiently waiting there since the day it was paved. The internet hums around the clock, around the world, with all the information and maps and train tables you could ever need. You meet people every day, or at least you could, and any one of them could change your life with a word. Or you could change theirs, which is easier.
Show up. That is all that’s required.
Show up physically. Show up emotionally. Show up with your full and precious mental bandwidth attuned to live humans, face to face and in person.
Strip back your shields. Allow yourself to be bored or disappointed or annoyed or frustrated or insulted. Then go back and examine it. Is it necessary to take things personally, or can we take breaks sometimes?
Life gets so much more interesting when we pay attention to it, when we throw ourselves at it in a blindfolded, backwards trust fall. It gets predictable and yucky when we insist that it meets our limited expectations.
All my stuff needs to be cute and new! I only have to eat things that taste good! I decide what constitutes sufficient attention, affection, and respect! I must be entertained most moments! Nobody should ever disagree with, criticize, or otherwise challenge me!
Those are some fun moments. Yup. I can get them, too, with a paper placemat and some crayons. Hand me a bucket of action figures and I’ll get down on the floor and create a world that works my way.
The way to really make the most of life’s opportunities is to be ready, to recognize them when they pop up. It means we have to set aside the heavy bags, the bags of perfectionism and selfishness and impatience. When most of what’s left starts to feel like a heart attached to a set of floating eyes, that’s when we start to get somewhere.
As for the memorable moments, don’t wait around for them. Make them happen.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.