The Simple Art of Living Well

This is something I’ve been obsessed with lately. For some time now.

I’ve read so many books about habits, about life optimization, about organization, success at work, curating an ideal wardrobe, an ideal sense of self, and over the years all of these methods and studies and anecdotes have been percolating in the back of my brain. I’ve realized that what I’m really looking for here is an answer to the question, “What does it mean to live well?”

A lot of these books and articles and videos have been incredibly prescriptive about what living well means. Getting up at 4am. Having a beautifully styled home. Landing the perfect job. Attaining the perfect body. But in almost every single one of these narratives, I feel like I’ve had to peel back a layer. I’m not entirely certain what the layer is — perhaps confidence that theirs is the right and only way to live, or perhaps insecurity and an attempt to convince others that theirs is the right and only way to live — but beneath it I found something that seemed to be at most mentioned, and often almost entirely unsaid.

It seems that the first step to living well is to figure out what that means for yourself.

It’s deeply individual, and for me it requires living in an unobserved way. No judgements, no critiques, no praise. Only in moments where I feel completely free of the opinions of others can I figure out what truly elevates me.

And honestly, I think we only figure out what elevates us by thoughtful trial and error. Not just trying random things and dropping them, but by carefully considering what we invite into our lives, and inspecting our own response to it. It’s important that we consciously engage with the events and objects and people in our lives, and sort out what helps us live well and what detracts from a life well lived.

I’m not fully sure what a well-lived life looks like for me just yet, but I’m working on it. I hope to use this space to publicly share my thoughts on the matter, and to help me process exactly what it means to live well.

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