Life is a...

Well, you know the saying. But life is also one helluva party. Life isn't all-good, and it isn't all-bad. And even though your parents brought you to the bash, the older you get the more you must realize that it's up to you to enjoy being here, especially if you're gaining in wisdom and not just years.

That's easier said than done, of course. Life can be indescribably difficult and distressing, giving you as many reasons to acquiesce to anger, abjection, and apathy as you might find to persevere, press forth, and profit from your experiences. Regardless, the choice is yours: You can will yourself to learn and grow from even your most regrettable experiences or allow afflictions and adversities to deny you the joy of living.

You can make life richly rewarding despite how rough and rugged it can be, first and foremost, by fully embracing this present moment. And this one, too. And each moment to come. Make the most of each moment, and allow each moment to make the most of you. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow isn't promised. So, put as much into enjoying the present as you do into building a future. Don't just contemplate life; live it. Don't just make a living; live life to the fullest on what you make. Get a life, and get the most from it.

Forsake all hope of changing the past. And don't allow yourself to be deterred, detained, or demeaned by those who dare demand that you attempt to reconstruct or restructure the past. Look to the past only to learn from it and for reasons to be grateful; not to waste precious energy trying to undo what can't be undone.

Focus on people and things that deserve your attention, and give each of them the attention that they deserve. Organize these priorities in accordance with how you perceive your purpose for living and your principles of living. Be true to yourself while treating others as well as you want to be treated and while going about the business of doing what you must to have the good things you desire.

Have faith. Find a reason to believe you can fly. Dare to believe in someone or something that gives substance to your hopes and propels you through your problems to continue pursuing your dreams. Keep your mind clear of negative thinking, which can shipwreck your passion and leave you drifting aimlessly on a dilapidated raft of regret, remorse, and resentment. Face the future with powerful motivation as well as positive expectations.

Think positive, but be practical, too. Don't just dream; do what you must to make your dreams come true. Don't just complain; do what you can to improve your life and the lives of others. As the famous prayer of serenity admonishes us, change the things you can, accept the things you can't change, and seek wisdom to know the difference.

Live creatively because your wishes are not always life's commands. Expect the unexpected and prepare for the unpredictable. Keep an open mind because there will always be more to life than what you've come to learn, live, love, or look forward to. Be spontaneous, versatile, daring, and adventurous because inflexibility and fear of the unknown will stifle you. Don't limit yourself or those around you. Pursue even those pleasures the very existence of which you had not suspected.

Make it a daily delight and a priority to play. Have loads of fun as you journey through life because it's good for you and your relationships. Don't amuse (literally, "not-think") yourself to death nor go through life so serious and somber that you fail to get plenty of comedic relief.

Don't permit ephemeral pleasures to impede your progress. Everything that's good to you doesn't always remain good for you. As good as some things are, you still need to let them go in order to grow. The "good" job that has gone from being a comfort zone to a dead-end zone. The "good" relationships that are keeping you from having the life you truly desire. Have the sense and strength to put dubious delights behind you and keep before you the real desires of your heart.

Embrace your feelings of inadequacy as reminders to stay humble, keep growing, and always be empathetic, compassionate, patient, and forgiving of others. Accept your weaknesses as signs pointing to your need of others. You're not all you can be, and you'll never be all you'll ever need. Make good friends and acquaintances that can complement, comfort, encourage, and enhance you. Allow yourself to love and be loved because nothing else will ever give your life as much meaning.

If you wrong someone, try to right that wrong by asking for forgiveness, making restitution, and changing your ways of thinking and living in such a manner that you don't continue committing the same offense. If you're wronged, extend forgiveness and illuminate a path that might lead to a brighter future. Let neither bitterness nor guilt consume or degrade your quality of life.

Find rest in giving your very best. Honestly give your all to discover and delight in all the good that life has to offer. To err is human, so don't allow your mistakes to discourage you. Wipe the dust of ignorance and indifference from your feet, always seek to become a better person, and keep your conscience clear by avoiding intentional acts of insensitivity and ineptitude.

Be fair to others, faithful to your word, and follow the way of peace. Embody what you expect from others and show fortitude when you must and equanimity in every situation. Keep your mind, spirit, relationships, and environment healthy, knowing that your life will never be any more than what you make of yourself, your relationships, your opportunities, and your influence.

Author's Bio: 

richard jones ( is a freelance writing living in Detroit, MI, and founding editor of the Black Male Appreciation blog (