Always Real

The Art of Living Well

About once a month, I get a glossy newspaper delivered to my front door to which I do not subscribe.  Because it does not speak to me or my values, I normally chunk it right in the trash where it belongs, but this time, perhaps because of our current economic crisis, the cover caught my eye and made me take a second look.

This publication is accurately named INDULGE.  Inside you will find ads for Rolex watches, ridiculously expensive clothes, high end cars and the like.  But what really made me pause was the tagline: The Art of Living Well.  Clearly, the message is that the art of living well is about indulging yourself.  What a crock of  I disagree. 

I think the art of living well is not about what you hang on your body or park in your garage.  I think the art of living well is not about indulging yourself at all. In fact, I think it’s about the opposite – denying yourself, surrendering to something bigger than yourself.  The art of living well is about doing, not having.

I think the art of living well doesn’t go out of style or change with the season and won’t eventually rust away or be eaten by moths.  For me, the art of living well is:

Serving God and others

Sacrifice

Satisfying work

Giving and receiving kindness

Looking after my family

Enjoying meals with friends and families

Reading a good book

Taking and sharing pictures

Telling stories

Learning something new

Doing something creative

Gratitude

Listening to my litte boy sound out a new word

* * * 

Indulging myself in these things represent the art of living well to me.

What about you? How do you define the art of living well?

51 thoughts on “The Art of Living Well

  1. This economy has hit my family very hard- we are struggling to support ourselves right now. But Halloween is coming (regardless) and my boy needed a costume. I did spend money on the costume yesterday but the rest of the afternoon was spent wearing the very wicked costume, listening to a spooky cd and decorating the house. After all this, my son busrt out with this: “I LOVE MY LIFE!!” And I decided, money or no money, we are living well.

  2. Your list is great!

    I define living well as the chance to snuggle with my Girlie and my hubby in a safe, warm house, with full bellies. Don’t need much more than that!

  3. I second your list. About the only things I’d add are a really good cup of coffee, and a nice cool breeze through the windows. Oh, and beauty outside–trees, flowers, grass, maybe even a few leaves turning colour. And my kids. And dark chocolate.

  4. Ditto to your list and I’d add taking a nice long walk in nature, snuggling up with my little girl at bedtime and reading, oh and don’t forget checking in with some favorite blogs, including yours! 🙂

  5. I think your list is right on. . .my own list includes all of those and “knowing when to cancel all the plans and just stay home to be a family.”

    The art of living well. . .knowing the difference in what you WANT and what you NEED and being willing to put aside what you NEED for another person.

  6. Great List! The Art Of Living well (great question to ponder by the way)…….In short….Every morning giving my day, time, actions, talents, gifts to Jesus for him to use how He sees fit.

  7. Feeling like I have been productive by the end of the day. Which varies. When J was a newborn, I felt productive when I did nothing else except nurse him all day. Now I feel productive if I do the dishes and ONE other thing! And, since I am preggo, napping also feels productive.

  8. For the last three months I have been indulging myself. After 10 long years of living with cancer, my husband died this summer. I guess I thought that I deserved to look out for myself for a change. Well, it has fallen flat. While it hurt nothing except maybe my pocketbook, I am finished with indulging in myself.

    For me the art of living well is taking good care of my daughters. Most things that bring simple pleasure cost little or nothing. A pile of books from the library, a basket of colorful yarn, a tasty meal prepared at home, these things make me happy. I love to open my house to my daughter’s friends, too. Watch a group of teenage girls…as long as they have not been spoiled with too many material things. They enjoy each other’s company and that is all they need. It all boils down to our relationships with people and how we love and take care of them. To me that is the art of living well.

  9. While I admit to never pondering the question, I think your list is pretty accurate to my way of thinking. I think by surrounding myself with friends and family,sharing my home with them, maintaining meaningful friendships, studying the Word of God, and teaching my children to do the same I will have lived well.

  10. That people don’t remember me, but remember Christ in me. That those around me feel loved and cared for. That I can be content in every situation, with much or with little.
    For me personally, I FEEL like I’m living well if I’m learning. I love to read, and also to learn new skills. I love to cook, especially to share with people.

  11. Living well and what “home” is has been much on my mind lately – I have abundant blessings – my dear husband and daughter, other cherished family members, a sweet, godly, nearly-90 year-old mother-in-law, friends, a home that’s paid for, a job, transportation, our church family and great pastor, God’s Word just for the picking up and reading, His love and grace, beautiful crisp fall days, food, clothing, books, hands to work with, eyes to see with… I kept a gratitude journal several years ago. Would be a good idea to start another one!

  12. at least they have the right title for their magazine. The dictionary says that the word indulge “implies excessive compliance and weakness in gratifying another’s or one’s own desires”. Fits, doesn’t it?

    I like your list. No matter what, I can not see how buying expensive things is equal to living well. Things will never made anyone happy.

  13. Right on! We’re here to gain a body and be tested in all things…for me that is patience so what do I do? I teach Middle School Art! 5th through 8th grade. Some days I feel that the only kind voice a student may hear might me mine….soooooo tell me about your picture….

  14. Your list is pretty complete, I’d say. Looks a lot like what I strive for most (read: non-PMS) days.

    For me, the art of living well includes being the reason at least one person a day laughs so hard they gasp for air. Fortunately, my family is easily entertained. 🙂

  15. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote my favorite definition of living well when he penned these words:
    “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of old and new friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

  16. Absolutely!

    Living well:
    Honoring God
    Serving My Family
    Loving Others
    Reflecting Christ
    Teaching my children to do all of the above.

    Also:
    Battling laziness
    Keeping the home
    Learning to cook and bake
    Spending time with my children, enjoying them
    Being creative with my hands
    Living within our means
    Being happy

  17. Your list is great! I would have to add doing activities with my kids & husband like trips to the zoo, parks, camping and hiking, etc.

    I don’t think acquiring things is a good measure of “Living well”, either. I think living within your means is also an excellent way to live well ’cause then you don’t have the stress of debt.

  18. Gee, could the whole “indulge yourself – you deserve it!” mentality be one of the reasons for our huge debt problems and economic issues currently taking up front page space in the news? Hmmmmmm

  19. The magazine reminds me of the Bible Study I did recently of the book of Daniel by Beth Moore. She talks about the Babylonian culture and how we are living in a culture similar to it. I’d never thought about it before, but totally agree with it.

    love your post

  20. I’m not sure what I’d add to your great list, but I do know our society is sending the wrong message to our children. Last night I went to a meeting of our post prom committee and found out that last year’s budget for this all night safe party was $18,000. EIGHTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!! I came home very sad and wondering if there was any way to curb this indulgence people seem to heap upon our kids. This truly has me worried and I have three weeks to come up with a way to voice my concerns to the group.

  21. Amen sista!

    The art of living well for me starts with God’s word…and living with integrity based on what He tells us to do.

    We can all live that way for a couple of hours at church, but what about the rest of our lives? That’s where the integrity part comes in…something that, unlike sin, is not humanly innate at all.

  22. I couldn’t agree with you more. The idea of needing expensive clothes and fancy cars in order to live well is exactly what’s wrong with our society.

  23. The quest for material items to make us happy is no different that the quest for the Holy grail. Searching and searching for Christ cup, when the light of Christ can reside in our hearts.

  24. YES.
    My favorite self-indulgent product catch phrase is to refer to something as “decadent.” Advertisers maybe need to look that word up a little bit more closely.

  25. You should start your own magazine. I would be a regular contributor…

    My blog post today mentions a little about what I consider ‘living well’: finding joy and worship in the little and mundane. Being blessed by what the Lord has called you to do for that day. Loving my family, caring for the pets, even caring for my home and car that He has given me. Living well would also have to include showing Him to all around me.

  26. Recently discovered you and think you’re great!
    I have found in my life that ‘living well’ can happen only when you are truly grateful for what you have. Whether you struggle financially or are very wealthy, if you are humble enough to realize that all blessings come from a loving and generous Father in Heaven and you truly have and express your gratitude for them, then you are living well. Then you will be at peace.

  27. Your list says it all! With out God we would be nothing afterall. And people…we need people family eachother. Love.

  28. What a great post! I’ve learned much about living well this past year as I’ve learned to live in the moment, be grateful and see God in the details. It’s not about doing. It’s about being. And being together.

  29. Pingback: Living Well «

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