You grew up watching your parents work hard, sacrificing everything they had just to keep a roof over your head. And as you started getting older, you began to do much of the same. You got your first job as a teenager, studied hard, and tried to live a successful life. But then you began to realize that life became all work and no play. You began feeling more depressed and mental health issues like anxiety and burnout came on the rise. In this article, we’re going to remind you: don’t take life too seriously. Let’s dive into all the reasons why life shouldn’t be so hard.
Don’t Take Life Too Seriously: 13 Reasons
1. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity
Do you realize how lucky you are to be alive right now. Sure there’s eight billion people alive right now. But have you ever considered how many trillions of people died before being born. Or how rare it is that out of all the life partners your parents could’ve ended up with, they ended up with each other and made you. How can you take life so seriously when it’s the rarest opportunity you’ve ever been given. You spend so much time worrying about the future, bills, and work that you miss out on all the experiences that make you smile. Take this as your sign from the universe to let loose and have some fun today. Do something that makes you happy. Eat your favorite meal. Dance in the kitchen. Spend time with your closest friends and family. Don’t take life too seriously, just take some time to enjoy it.
2. Old age isn’t guaranteed
I’ll take a break when I have kids. When I retire I’ll finally get a chance to relax. One day when I’m older I’ll finally be happy. Sound familiar? While I love the optimism of believing you’ll live until 101, the reality is most of us don’t make it that far. Freak accidents, terminal illnesses, and undetected heart defects can pluck us out of this world instantaneously without a second thought. Not only could you suddenly die when you least expect it, so can the people you love the most. There’s no order in life where the oldest person dies next. Sometimes the youngest person dies next. Other times, the healthiest person dies unexpectedly. Don’t take life too seriously. Cherish these moments while you have them. Don’t spend your life hating people because life’s too short when you don’t know when you’ll die.
3. Work to live, not live to work
Not too long ago, we all lived through the hustle era where motivational speakers were telling everyone to work harder than everyone else and sleep less. And then work went remote and everyone became burnt out from overwork. We all learned the hard way that while work can distract us from our tough times, the reality is work isn’t that much fun. You weren’t born to work. You were born to live. While you might not be able to escape life without working a little bit, it doesn’t need to be an all-consuming part of your life. Having interests and hobbies outside of your job helps you continue living your life to the fullest. If you could find a four-day work week role or create your own job, you’ll have more flexibility to enjoy life more.
4. You can do almost anything
It’s so easy to take life too seriously, our goals sometimes get the best of us. But remember, you can do almost anything in life (as long as it’s legal). You could even do things people don’t know about yet, such as creating a new invention. Doing the “impossible” is also a possibility. People break boundaries and push themselves all the time. Once one person does it, everyone else realizes they can too. You could jump out of a plane (and survive it) and you could climb the highest mountains (and survive that too). This planet isn’t perfect, far from it, but it still allows you to do a limitless number of things. Use your time to explore new countries, try new foods, and challenge yourself to greater heights.
People usually tell others “don’t take life too seriously” when they hit rock bottom. While at rock bottom it’s easy to think that you’ll never recover. You may falsely believe that this is how the rest of your life will be from now on. But that’s not the case. People are resilient, especially you. Without bad days, epic fails, and big disasters in life, things would get boring. We’d get complacent. It’s hard to be happy every day if you never experience sadness or grief. However, when life knocks us down, we bring out our inner fighter. We build ourselves back up. And we come out stronger than ever. When the sunshine finally comes out after the storm, we smile. Because we know that pain is temporary and that we can overcome adversity.
6. Work shouldn’t be the thing you dread
In the spirit of not taking things too seriously, try not to hate Mondays so much. Monday mornings are not what’s wrong with the world. What’s wrong with the world is that you choose to work more than anything else. The thing you should dread most in life is not making time for your friends and family. You don’t have that much time with everyone. Life will pluck some of those people too quickly, not giving you a chance to say goodbye. I want to challenge you to do something. I want you to throw a party in a few weeks. Invite several friends and family members over. You could make it a potluck or order food for everyone to eat. Make sure there’s a delicious cake. And I want you to write down on a card or a beautiful sheet of paper all the reasons you value a specific person in your life. Then do this for every person invited to your party on their own card. At the party, read it aloud to every single person present and hand each person their card. Use your time to share your gratitude for those you love most.
7. You can only control so much
You’re not in the driver’s seat. I know you want to be. But you’re not. You can control what you say and how you react. And that’s about it. People have minds of their own. Plus, everyone’s making several mistakes per day. So you never know when you or someone you love is on the receiving end of that mistake. You can only control yourself. And even that has limits. Learn to let things go and develop an acceptance for what is. Life shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Take ownership of that which is within your control, test the limits of what you can do, and enjoy living.
8. Your mood can change just like that
Without guided meditation regulating our emotions, it’s common for moods to rapidly change at a slight trigger. The lack of self-control when it comes to our emotions often arises from ruminating thoughts taking us on tangents without any sounding board. But a rapidly changing mood showcases that you have some control over that too. If you train yourself to become more mindful, you’ll be able to experience happiness. Many people get lost in their thoughts, but by switching out negative thoughts with happy thoughts you can become better at developing positive thoughts. When people say don’t take life too seriously, the person they’re saying it to is typically pessimistic. Optimism can be trained and taught. Your outlook on life isn’t fixed, you can learn how to become more optimistic.
9. Being laid back is more fun
Have you ever been around someone who takes life too seriously? On a scale of 1-10 how fun are they? Usually zero, right? People who are uptight or claim to be a “perfectionist” typically suck the fun out of life. You can’t schedule fun or hyper-organize every detail of your life. Life’s going to happen to you either way. No amount of rigidness will give you the outcome you want. There are billions of other players in the game of life who are in it with you. You don’t need to become passive to life. But having some flexibility in your life will allow you to enjoy it more. Allow for setbacks, obstacles, and mishaps. The adventure starts when you steer off the path a bit.
10. You’re going to die one day
Don’t take life too seriously because you’re not going to survive it. Appreciate every moment you have as it comes. Celebrate new relationships, moments, adventures, and milestones. But don’t define yourself by any of those things. Everything changes with time: including you. Don’t wait until retirement to live life, you might not be alive by then. All you have is this present moment where you’re alive to do things. So, tell your family and friends you love them, right now. Go for a mindful walk in nature. Feel the sun, rain, wind, or snow on your skin. Dance like you’re in a cheesy dance competition. Celebrate your life today because tomorrow might not be there for you.
11. You’re never going to be perfect
When someone says don’t take life too seriously it’s usually to a perfectionist. While striving to be better is an admirable trait, that’s not exactly what perfectionism strives for. The joy in life comes from imperfection. Unexpected jokes, meeting new people who are your polar opposite, failure that inches you closer to success, life is filled with surprises. If life were perfect, you wouldn’t enjoy it. How can you derive meaning from something that’s always wonderful. The beauty of life is that there’s a balance of the extraordinary with the downright awful. In Japan, broken ceramics are fixed with gold. Your imperfections are what make you special. So don’t strive for the perfect moment when all the stars align. Find the excitement in the little moments, setbacks, and mistakes that make you realize you were on the right track all along.
12. The little moments are bigger than the bigs ones
Life is filled with big moments and little moments. The big moments are never as good as we want them to be even though we overplan for them. From getting dumped on your birthday to rainy wedding days, the big moments are often underwhelming. But the little moments happen every day. When your spouse walks in the door after being out for a few hours, how do you welcome him or her? Is it an enthusiastic “YAY! YOU’RE HOME” or is it a disgruntled “finally.” When you’re cleaning your home, is it a dance cleaning session with the latest dance songs or a frustrated “Can you please help me clean up right now? I’m exhausted.” It’s the little moments in life that make all the difference. Don’t take life too seriously, enjoy yourself and those closest to you.
13. Eventually, everything just becomes a story
Don’t take life too seriously because sooner or later everything you’ve lived simply becomes a second-hand story told and nothing more. All the small arguments you had, the project you failed, the paranoid thoughts you had fearing the future, don’t get remembered. Eventually, all people remember are the kind actions you did for them, the memories of the two of you together, and funny stories. Your legacy lives on through people’s memory of you. As those people die, the stories become even fuzzier. Don’t obsess on all your failures and fears. No one will remember any of that. Instead, spend your life doing acts of kindness and good deeds to help people. That’s the kind of legacy that is remembered for years to come long after you’ve left the earth.
Don’t take life too seriously. Enjoy the little moments. Celebrate with loved ones when you’re all together. As much as you can. Be enthusiastic when someone you love walks in the door. Dance as much as possible, all the time, and make it cheesy. Let go of everything outside your control. Remember that the climb from rock bottom is more fun than your time at the top. Take a few moments to do something kind for someone, anyone, a stranger, a friend, a family member. And reflect on the fact that you’re alive. This is your shot to do and be anything you’ve always wanted. But do it with a smile because this opportunity isn’t given to everyone.