I once heard a talk by a Catholic priest in Florida, when we were visiting a local church there. This guy was just about one of the liveliest men I’d ever heard speak. When he laughed at his own jokes, every one of his listeners belly laughed right along with him, tears streaking out of our eyes at his humor. Thinking back on it, he wasn’t even that terribly funny. It was just something about the way he laughed. He had charisma. And it seemed he was where he wanted to be. A truth-seeker, delivering his message to people who needed to hear it. Teaching people how to live better lives.
Father So-in-So (can’t remember his name now, but does it really matter?) talked about “keeping the salt alive.” The overall message was that we need to keep “salting” our lives, shake things up, add flavor to our existence so that we are thriving and not merely surviving. Essentially, we need to frequently let the fresh air into our souls in order to live fulfilling lives. When we get stuck in our ruts, part of us closes up. It’s not healthy to close up, not spiritually, not emotionally, not even physically. Just as a farmer must till the soil to aerate it and let the oxygen in, so must we till our lives to freshen things up once in awhile. Only then can we grow our best life possible.
I was excited to hear his message since this is my basic concept of Exiting Normal. You don’t have to completely change your life to exit normal. You don’t have to quit your job, travel frequently, or move to a different country to bring on the wonderful effects of shaking up your life. You don’t have to act crazy so that all your friends wonder what’s gotten into you. Instead, you can simply do small, spontaneous things to freshen up your life. You can make tiny changes on a day-to-day basis that will have a big impact and bring you to a happier, richer life.
Here are some simple ideas for salting your life:
- Call a friend for a last-minute cup of coffee or bite to eat.
- Volunteer your time to a local good cause.
- Bake a cake and drop it off at your neighbor’s.
- Book a trip to somewhere you have never been.
- Give away one of your favorite things to someone who needs it more than you do.
- Set up a date with your partner.
- Donate money to a cause your believe in.
- Grab ingredients at the grocery store for a meal you’ve never made.
- Take a drive on unfamiliar roads, just to see what there is to see.
- Write in your journal about what you’re grateful for.
- Sign up for a 5K walk/run and start training–today.
- Buy flowers for someone who needs them.
- Call friends on Friday to see if they want to come for pizza.
- Order something from the menu you’ve never tried before.
- Dye your hair.
- If you’re a church-goer, go to a different church; if you’re not, try one.
- Write a letter (not email) to an elderly person and mail it to them.
- Call your friends and invite them for an impromptu potluck.
- Sign up for a class to learn something new.
- Take a hike and talk to yourself the whole way.
- Crank up the music in your house and have a personal dance party.
- Plant a garden or at least a small container.
- Write 10 times, “Worry is the opposite of faith.”
- Tell someone you love them.
- Call someone you’re afraid to call.
- Act like a kid and make no apology.
- Give the waitress a $20 tip.
- Buy a gift for a loved one, just because.
- Take a walk in the sunshine, even though you don’t have any time.
- Write your problems on a piece of paper and then shred, burn, or otherwise destroy said paper.
Just some ideas. Sometimes I forget that rich, flavorful living can come through the simplest things. It’s a peaceful thought, isn’t it?