What’s in a Fulfilled Life?

If only there were beautiful things to choose from.

It’s probably not a coincidence that the word fulfillment has the word ‘fill’ in it. When I was designing my blog, it also wasn’t lost on me that fuller life makeover might be interpreted more than one way. Since I write about my experiences in trying to lead a balanced life, I err on the side of a ‘fuller’ life meaning more enjoyable experiences filled with things that make one happy rather than just more stuff or busyness for the sake of it. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately because as I have gotten older there just seems to be way more things that can fill my time, whether I want them to or not. Some weeks it feels like I’m a contestant on Ninja Warrior, my to-do list seemingly as impossible to tackle at Mt. Midoriyama. The irony of this situation is that I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment when I look back on one of those really busy weeks knowing that I managed to squeeze it all in. Intellectually I’m aware that it makes very little sense to feel so good about checking tasks of my to-do list, because those tick marks come at the expense of something else. Every time I make a choice to go get the car washed, or write another blog post is time I am not spending doing something else, maybe something more valuable. The issue arises in how we choose to define what is worthwhile and therefore valuable to pursue. This is trickier because there are a great many things that appear valuable but don’t end up paying the kind of well being dividends that one may initially assume. Something may look on the surface to be worthwhile but the mental and physical energy of adding just one more thing to an already full life can negate many of the benefits.

I’m contemplating this in my own life after I received an email from my local parks and rec department letting me know that they were looking for additional people for one of the competitive softball teams. I’ve been trying to get on a team forever but it’s proven to be quite tricky because there are only a handful of spots for new people, as most teams tend to be composed of folks that have played together for a while. When I first got the email, I immediately replied that I was totally interested and after a flurry of texts with the head coach confirming some details, and I am now technically all set to play my first game this upcoming Sunday. So what’s the problem you ask? Even though playing softball was something that I have been trying to make happen for the last three years or so, now that it is less than a week from becoming a reality, well it doesn’t seem as good of an idea. I’m always complaining that my weekends aren’t restful enough so all of a sudden having to be somewhere for an additional three hours on Sunday nights seems like an imposition. I may be wrong of course, and find that the physical exertion and team camaraderie more than make up for adding this one more, not so teeny thing to my already filled days. Who knows, but the fact that I’m even game (no pun intended) to find out instead of just not responding to that email says a lot about what I find valuable if at times conflicting. Fuller is not necessarily better, in fact, most times it probably isn’t, but I do sincerely believe that an overabundance of things beats sitting at home not knowing what to do and instead wishing you were doing something. I guess we’ll soon know if my theory is right if my new Sunday night hobby ends up being as fulfilling as I hope it will be.

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