Building a Boundless Lust for Life

Let's Do It HeartLust: it’s the reason for the season! You know . . . Valentine’s Day? Some say it’s about love but let’s skip the mushy part and get right into the salacious stuff, shall we?

Just kidding—my Dad reads this blog every Monday, so I won’t be getting all X-rated on you. Another thing I won’t be doing is mentioning Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” song (a.k.a.: “Lust for Heroin”), and I expect to be thanked for that, because that tune will stick in your head and get in the way of liking life, let alone lusting after it with wild and passionate abandon.

So what exactly is a “lust for life”?

  • An intense eagerness to experience all that life has to offer
  • A strong desire to live a full and rich life
  • Unbridled zestiness
  • A robust appetite for life

Be honest with me: When was the last time someone accused you of having a robust appetite for being alive? When was the last time you (figuratively) described yourself as having an “intense eagerness” to suck the marrow out of life? When was the last time you felt consumed by aliveness? If this emoji looks like you right now, it’s okay: 🙄🙄. We can work with that.

What does it look like to be “consumed with desire” for a well-lived life?

#1: Stoke those passions.

  • Jodi Wellman in her Happy ShirtIf you already have Passion Projects or Passion People in your life, why not dive in deeper? If you come alive in the dojo once a week, might you up that to twice a week? If gardening stokes your fires, can you commit more time and energy into it? If you get fantastically energized by a particular friend or colleague, how about arranging to see them more often? Do more of what makes you happy! (Oh look—that’s me wearing that t-shirt.)
  • If you are newly embarking on a Possible Passion, can I just tell you how proud I am of you? GIVE IT A GO. It’s okay to be bad at the new hobby/ sport/ endeavor at first. It’s okay to not be sure if bouldering is for you after a shit first start (and maybe a sprained ankle). It’s okay to feel uneasy about traveling alone on the train between NYC and Philly for the first time (I did it in the fall and totally lived to tell the tale). It’s okay to take a course and be downright horrible in front of your peers (like a client who registered for a sales training program and when asked to do a roleplay in front of the class, secretly peed her pants a bit). IT’S OKAY TO PEE. Maybe, just maybe, pee means you’re doing something worth doing.
  • If you haven’t the foggiest idea where to beg, borrow, or steal a Potential Passion, please know that you are going to find things that spark if (and only if) you are willing to take risks to find them. This means you have to sample, taste test, try things on for size, rinse + repeat, and all the other sayings that mean the same thing. You must get out there and see what sparks. The spark will not knock on your door and rouse you from your slumbering existence. If there isn’t a spark after a try or two at the yoga class/ dancing lesson/ golf range/ stabs at screenplay writing/ etc., swiftly abandon said sparkless project, and try something else. Feeling passion-less is almost as crisis-inducing as feeling purpose-less. TRY THINGS OUT. Register. Show up. Try. Try again. Don’t be cynical. Stop caring if people will judge the thing you’re pursuing and stop pursuing things that look cool but don’t make your heart twingle. Life’s too short to not try birding if birdsong is singing to you (and if birds end up worming their way into your heart, you must email me to talk about them because those feathery buggers are my new favorite thing!).

#2: Saying “YES” to life. We spoke about it here, and I’m going to repeat the point: saying Yes means showing up for life, and not just for a measly participation ribbon. It means trying something that might initially feel a little uncomfortable but turns out to be full of something new/ energizing/ connecting … something ALIVE. Saying yes to activities and opportunities is an active vote to live a livelier version of your life. Say yes to happy hour! Say yes to visiting your high school bestie in Halifax! Say yes to going out on a Saturday night when the sofa beckons! Say yes to sneaking backstage! Say yes to trying eel! (Maybe skip the eel.) 

#3: A willingness to be ridiculous. Living wider with vitality means trying new things on for size—and while not everything will fit you perfectly, it requires an openness to experiences that might ooze fun, silliness, and novelty. Don’t forget to download my free Un-Dead Your Life Calendar for ridiculous inspiration to let loose (like National Tortilla Chip Day on 2/24 … can’t you envision a salsa bar?! Because I can and oh yes I will find a way to have tortilla chips eat their way into every meal on that day). Do the things that make you laugh and feel like you’re not more than half a century old.

#4: Seek out social contagion. You might be a bit of a deadbeat, but surely you have a vitally alive friend. I’m not encouraging you to suck the energy out of them, but maybe buy them lunch and then suck the energy out of them? But really: research is clear that happy people are contagious, and so it behooves you to spend more time with the lustiest people you know (life-lusters, not swingers) (unless that’s your thing). Let their positive affect (and effect!) rub off on you. Of course you’re not going to show up to lunch all morose, dragging your upbeat friend down. You’re going to observe this person—like an un-creepy scientist—noticing what they eat, how they organize their time, what mindsets they choose to possess, how they explain events in their lives, how well they parallel park, etc. etc. AND THEN YOU WILL EMULATE THEM. And you will bask in the glory of their sunny dispositions and unflappable energy for attacking life head on. Phew!

Where are you on the Lust ‘o Meter?

The Lust for Life 'o MeterThe good news is that you CAN build your lustiness for life. You CAN feel more enthusiastic about being alive, and you CAN make so much more of your remaining Mondays. (In case I haven’t mentioned this lately, your time on the planet is dwindling, and in light of that rather sobering, un-lusty fact, isn’t it a bang-up reason to get on out there and lust your life up?) (Still skip the eel though.)

Jodi Wellman

P.S.: Boost your lust for life by following me on Instagram!

P.P.S.: Oh and just in case you missed it… I’d love you forever if you took 16 minutes out of your life to watch my TEDx talk!


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