Recently, I noticed the Jar of Life story doing the rounds again on social media, and it made me smile. Of course, I’ve seen various posts, videos and blogs about it before but this time it stood out. It was a good reminder to stop sweating the small stuff, be present and prioritise things in life that make me happy.
Sometimes it feels like the world is in a constant state of ‘go’. It can make you feel dizzy and overwhelmed, so much so that you get bogged down with all the little niggly bits until you can’t appreciate the big stuff. It happens to us all, and it’s why I am such a big fan of living positively – but even then, I can still take things for granted.
That’s why I loved seeing the Jar of Life as such a simple and visual reminder of how we should all be living.
If you’ve not already heard the story, I’d recommend watching Meir Kay’s take on it – he sums it up brilliantly in this short video.
Long story short, a philosophy professor tries to demonstrate how his students can live a happier life by prioritising the big things in life that make them happy (these are the golf balls) instead of the small stuff that doesn’t matter (the sand). He sums it all up by advising them not to fill their jars (lives) with sand first, because they’ll end up with no room for their golf balls. I promise, it will make more sense when you’ve seen the video!
After watching this demonstration again, it really hit home what my own golf balls are and why I think we all need regular reminders of what our golf balls are and why they should always be the first thing to fill our jars (stay with me – there is a point!).
Here’s a quick recap of what I consider to be life’s 5 golf balls.
This one is the biggie. My family is my world and my why. I love every last moment with them, whether we’re doing something simple like having breakfast together or we’re making memories and enjoying new experiences. Family embodies everything that is home and happiness.
Friends are the family we choose. Cheesy and cliched, I know, but true. Without my friends, I dread to think how dull life would be. There’s a lot of talk out there right now about finding your tribe, but that’s exactly what your friends are. A tribe. An eternal, unconditional and loving support group who will boost you up and call you out in equal measure.
Over recent years, this is something I’ve come to appreciate more than ever. Being in good health, physically to keep up with my little dynamo and mentally to keep up with struggles of modern motherhood, is crucial. We should all be putting our own health first, at a similar priority level as that of our partner’s, parents’ and children’s. If we don’t look after ourselves, we can’t look after everyone else as effectively as we’d like.
Life should be full of things we are passionate about! Wake up in the morning excited to start your day. Whether it’s a project you love getting stuck into, or another day full of the joys of family life, there should be something – even better, lots of things – that fill you with energy, drive and a sense of accomplishment. Continuing lifelong passions, learning more about new passions or rediscovering old ones should take up a considerable chunk of your jar. In the words of Jack Kerouac: “Be In Love With Your Life. Every Minute Of It.”
This one kind of holds hands with Passions, but actually Purpose can mean lots of things. I like to think of it as using your life, strength and experience to pay it forward. By “it” I mean all of the good things and little blessings in life. I acknowledge and appreciate how lucky I am to have a jar full of beautiful golf balls, and I choose to use my blog as a platform to help other women realise that even the worst gets better and that there’s always someone to lean on. Paying it forward can also mean fundraising for a local cause, donating to charity to help bring water to underprivileged communities, or even flashing a smile at a stranger who might be having the world’s worst day. Your actions – little and big – can make the world of difference and help fill someone else’s jar with golf balls instead of sand.
A quick note about filling your jar…
You might notice I’ve not put “happiness” as a golf ball, and that’s because I believe all of these things – and indeed, all of the beads and sand and good stuff in the jar – lend themselves to happiness.
My jar should make me happy. Every last bit of it. That’s the simple secret of life. So surround yourself with people and things you love, and fill your jar full of golf balls before anything else. You deserve it.