The Secret of a Full Life

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This is my weekly column for the newspaper, slightly edited for you:

“The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow.” – Anais Nin


            I came across this quote this morning in a blog post by David Kanigan. His blog is called Lead. Learn. Live. And the title of his post today is “The Secret of a Full Life”. As many of you who read this column know, I have embraced the blog world, which is a place of discovery and sharing. Blog, if you look it up in the dictionary is not defined very well—the definition of blog is blog. So I will define it for you:  a blog is a writer’s little piece of heaven. It is where we can express ourselves and feel that we are getting our “lonely in the wilderness” voices heard.


I am luckier than most in that I have an audience for my print column. Many people are not so fortunate but anyone with a computer, a little working knowledge of the Internet, and the will to write can have a blog. At this point mine is free—if I want to I can pay WordPress a fee and get more options, but I am satisfied with what it offers me now, so I see no point in paying a fee for something I can get for free.


I am not trying to get you to join the blog world—but if you want to, it is easy. The old adage: if I can do it, then you can do it was never more true when it comes to blogging. But if you do not want to write, you can still partake by reading the blogs of others. Now if you do get involved be forewarned, as everyone and their dog (seriously there is a TV program where a dog has a blog) seems to have a blog and you may have to be selective. I tend to look for inspiration, humour, and human connection, not angst(though a little angst can be interesting as long as that is not all the blogger talks about).


And that brings me back to David Kanigan. He is an inspiration and when he is not writing something inspirational or thought-provoking, he finds someone to quote who is. Today he provided the above quote from author Anais Nin who died in 1977. I want you to note that what she said in 1946 is amplified in 2013. It is as if she was looking into the future. Without further ado, here are the rest of her words on the subject of a full life:

“The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters, meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.”

            What she says also applies to the blog world. I now know people across Canada, in England, Australia, Taiwan, the United States, Alaska, France, Spain, Brazil, Scotland and many other exotic places. But there is a danger in getting too caught up in the world outside my own home. I am cognizant of this and I take what Nin says very seriously when she states “the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.”


Nin’s words make me realize that it is the life I have right here in front of me that is important. It is the people I share my house with, my friendships with, and the community I live in that are of immediate importance. I have made some significant friends in the blog world—and a few have become true friends, but it is not a world to escape to. It is a world that adds to my experience—but it does not take precedence over the people that are right here beside me. It is all a matter of that word I have learned to love and hate: balance.

Note to my blog readers: I was a bit off-balance when I first embraced the blog world. I have now come to a pretty comfortable balance–but I must say that I have found things in the blog world I have not found in my “real walking around world”. Has anyone else found this?

Published in: on August 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm  Comments (37)  
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  1. Balance. It’s what we all strive for in life. So true that we need to be careful we don’t neglect the person sitting next to us over technology.

    As for blogging, I’ve found I was devoting way too much time to it. When I realized it was taking time away from my experiencing real life, I knew I had to cut back.

    This summer I’d much rather spend it being present with my kids as I know they won’t be this little for long. But I also really love the blogging world and the interaction and connections. So I’ve made a choice to not visit as many blogs as I was before (I am subscribed to over 100!) and only comment when I have something meaningful to say.

    • I came to a similar conclusion–there are blogs (yours being one) that I always read–but I am being more selective now only because of the time factor–and almost use the blog world as a reward.

      I think when we first find so many friendly people on the blogs we cannot get enough of it.

      • That’s just it, if we are selective we can appreciate these connections more and really cultivate them. I think there is quality to online relationships. I suppose I just need to focus more on the positives about blogging and at the same time, knowing when to let things go in order to embrace real life more fully in the present moment. It’s a hard balance to strike, but can be done. I always enjoy reading your blog, so I often treat myself to taking the time to do that.

      • Your blog is always rewarding- you are funny and philosophical–two things I admire!

      • Thank you, that made my day!

      • 🙂

  2. Well said. My blogging friends have added a new dimension in my life. Balance is important as well as knowing what’s real.

    • not that the blogging world is not real–it is just that we cannot escape there

      • No that’s not what I was implying. Sometimes the connections can be a bit gray.

      • I was talking about me and my tendency at one time to escape to the blog world–I think I have a healthier balance now. You, my friend, are perfect 🙂

      • I understood. I sorta went on my own stupid cloudy ramble- ha. And I am far from perfect.

      • cloudy rambles are good sometimes–many of my posts consist of cloudy rambles (lol)

  3. For the most part, I find the blog world to be a kinder, gentler world. But I’ve also slowed down on my blogging, wondering if I’ve written most of everything I need to say already. I add a few things here and there as they pop up, but it’s getting more sporadic.

    • I really enjoy your blog–I look forward to every post–even if I do not comment (which is unlikely) I love your slice of life posts and recipes and suggestions–
      I too find the blog world kind–though I have run into a few crazies — I just back away slowly and quietly

  4. There are so many wonderful bloggers that I could literally spend all day online reading and commenting. For a while I was subscribed to so many blogs, I couldn’t give the ones I really enjoyed the time I would have liked to spend there. I have cut back, I now only spend an hour to an hour and a half online per day and have been shutting down the computer on the weekends, and getting away from it all. There is so much to do in daily life there has to be a limit to the computer time.

  5. Lou Ann .. I have found the same thing. I started blogging to maybe find one or two people that I could relate to… But I have found those who I believe to be friends in the truest sense. We do become involved somewhat in each others’ lives… but yes we have to maintain our relationships outside of blogging. The best of both worlds is what is needed … and as you indicate with perspective in mind… Diane

    • we do become involved in each other’s lives and it is something I really do cherish–I have found some true friends

  6. ” It is a world that adds to my experience—but it does not take precedence over the people that are right here beside me.” –> With this sentence alone, I think you’ve achieved some serious blogging enlightenment. I was also rather imbalanced when I was first starting out and it was difficult to pull myself away from the blogging world, fearing that I would miss something if I did. Now, it’s really about the quality of time I spend on the blogosphere and like you, I’ve become very picky about how and where I spend that time. I also unplug from blogging over the weekends and use that time to spend it with family and friends. We’re still real people and we need real interactions.

    • everything you say is true–it sounds like you and I went through the same growing pains and have come out the other side a little wiser

  7. This blog world has opened my life to more than what I could afford in a way of visiting around the world & getting to know more people. I embrace life on the WP 🙂

    • I do too–I could never have friends around the world without the blog world

  8. An excellent post. I have learned so much from my blogging friends, most importantly how kind people can be.

  9. Ahhhhh LouAnn. Thank you so much for the kind words. I too love your blog and look forward to your posts each day.

  10. I also enjoy David’s inspirational posts. He is one of the very real people in the blog world. I love the Anais Nin quote. It’s very thought provoking indeed.

  11. Lovely and thought provoking article Lou. It is about making choices isn’t?
    Anais Nin’s writing helped liberate me in so many ways as I read her words into my young married self in the 70’s. She liberated me again today thanks to your reminder to why I do this blog thing.
    Interesting I find I just read two posts side by side on blogging this my morning,

    Fabulous as always ~

  12. I have found so much more in the blog world than I ever anticipated. I have met bloggers from other parts of the world, I have seen how others live and how their families interact. I have experienced beautiful photography and have discovered new musicians that have brought joy to my life.
    I don’t blog every day, but I explore my WordPress Reader every day and almost always find something new… New ideas, new friends, new things to ponder.

  13. Still working on balance – but I feel more complete when I write.

    • me too Patty

    • Me too. If I’m not writing here I’m writing lists and letters! 🙂

      • 🙂

  14. Excellent long quotation and excellent post, both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
    It seems we all have done the same thing – being too devoted to the blog and then drawing back and finding a better balance. It is brilliant to meet so many people from so many different worlds and lives but we can’t be everywhere, we can’t read them all and we need to be with, really with, the people with us. We really don’t know if we or they will be here tomorrow.
    Mu Mum once told me, “Always say goodbye properly every time you leave each other, even if you are only going to the shop. You just don’t know what is going to happen next.”
    All the best to you 🙂

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