I was listening to a podcast recently and the guest, Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, mentioned a concept which she calls "living a lifetime in a day." Essentially, she proposes that humans gain the most fulfillment, meaning and purpose from 5 categories: work, family, solitude, vacation, and retirement. The entire concept of "living a lifetime in a day" is to incorporate a little bit of each category into our schedule on a daily basis - even if just for a couple minutes.
She describes the first category, work, as our opportunity to create meaning and purpose in what we do. This may look like choosing work that's meaningful to us, or to find a way to make mundane work more meaningful; to give it more significance.
The second category is family (or friends). This is simply spending time connecting with your tribe - in person, ideally, otherwise on the phone or video chat. Because, to use Dr. Nerurkar's words, "human relationships are the most significant predictor of happiness."
The next category is solitude - dedicating time to be alone, to be quiet, to be calm, and to spend time on ourselves, intentionally. "Science shows that alone time can enhance our ability to respond well to others," giving us a greater likelihood of not only connecting more profoundly with loved ones, but to also navigate difficult situations with calmness and grace.
From there Dr. Nerurkar recommends spending a bit of each day on "vacation," which is to spend time doing things that bring you joy - reading, writing, exercising, exploring, dancing, playing music, cooking, etc. Things that we typically do when we have free time on vacation, but rarely dedicate time for in our normal lives. Even if just for a couple minutes - do something you love each day.
And lastly, "retire" each day - take time to reflect back, take stock of your accomplishments throughout the day, how you felt, what you enjoyed the most, and possibly even decide on how you'd like to make things even better the following day.
I know in my life, when things get busy I'm more likely to put these personal priorities to the side, and for that reason, I plan on making these a priority to start my day, as often as possible, so that I'll be less likely to neglect them when life inevitably interrupts my plans.
What do you think about this approach, and is this something you can see yourself enjoying and sticking to?
"When we learn to live a lifetime in a day, we redefine time, our greatest and most cherished currency. By taking the long view and zooming out, we paradoxically let ourselves zoom in on what matters most: people, connection, love, purpose, and ultimately happiness- the most therapeutic and resilience-building life force of all!"
-Dr. Aditi Nerurkar