10 Ways to Live Well in this Season


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By: Amy Young | Twitter: @amyinbj

I have a friend battling cancer. I think of him and his wife, with their second child graduating from high school and two more at home. Life has taken a major sharp right-turn. What does it mean to live well when you are young and needing to contemplate possible death?

Another friend recently birthed a long-awaited child and is in the early days of motherhood delight. Living well seems to be a given when all is going well.

The summer influx of kids and moms and the conversations I overhear at the library, reminds me there is plenty of living going on between the extremes of the highs and lows. The idea of living well can be overlooked in light of the daily-ness of life, can’t it?

Is it possible to live well in ways that don’t sound trite to those in crisis or cynical to those who are in the throes of delight and actually works in the middle of real life?

It is.

  1. Breathe—It seems so underwhelming to live well by taking a breath, doesn’t it? But taking a breath slows you down and gives the rational part of your brain a chance to kick in when life seems chaotic and out of control. Pausing to breathe in the midst of the mundane can remind us of the beauty in the ordinary and the gifts we have been given in those seasons when all seems to be going our way.
  1. Feed—Yes, feed your body. Blood sugar level is real. Also, feed your senses. What beauty can you feed your eyes with? What sounds feed your ears? Is there a smell that transports you? When you feed your senses, you are feeding your soul and leaning into what it means to be made in the Image of God.
  1. Notice—Whether you are in a stressful season, a joyous one, or somewhere in between, take a moment and notice what is going on around you. Notice tension in your body. Notice who is near you. Notice the weather. Later, when you reflect on this time, it is often the small details that help us remember.
  1. Document—You do not need to share, but you will want a way to remember this season. I took pictures of my dad’s last week in the hospital knowing they would never be seen beyond our family. But it was such a surreal season, I needed a way to document what was happening. A milestone coming up? Document. Nothing interesting happening? Document.
  1. Stop—What do you need to stop doing in the season? Maybe you need to stop checking social media as much. Maybe you need to stop insisting on doing your own grocery shopping. Could it be that you need to stop feeling guilty over the blessings you have? When you read the word “stop,” what came to mind? Instead of thinking of all the reasons why you can’t stop doing that, find a way to stop doing it.
  1. Go outside—Autopilot living is easy. Isn’t that the whole point of having an autopilot? While I’m certain scientific studies back me up on this one, I’ve noticed that when I go outside, it shifts something in me. Going outside can be a small way to fight autopilot living and help you to be present in your life.
  1. Try Something Different—It could be a small thing, like brushing your teeth with the opposite hand you normally use. It could be something you have been meaning to do for ages. Been planning to drink more water? Or organize your pictures? It could involve a new habit or attitude. Whatever it is, living well involves small adjustments.
  1. Celebrate—Was the news good? Did your darling pass her swimming test? Did you get to the hospital with no red lights? Was the sunset especially beautiful? Did your team win? Was your idea listened to? Did you hold your tongue? Is the project finally completed? Do not simply move on. Say a prayer, have a party, send a text, give a gold star, go out for ice cream. Celebrate.
  1. Dream—Living well is infused with hope. My friends with cancer are hoping for 30 more years. The new mother has dreams for her daughter. Do you dream of a good night’s sleep? Your book being published? Visiting Europe? Dreams don’t have to be big or exotic.
  1. Remember—Depending on the translation, the word “remember” appears in the Bible between 148 and 168 times. Part of living well involves remembering your life. By remembering the hard, painful, and unjust parts of your story, you honor what happened. By remembering the good, exciting, and lifegiving parts, you remember the blessings too.

Breathe, feed, notice, document, stop, go outside, try something different, celebrate, dream, and remember. You can live well in this season.



What does it mean to YOU to live in this season of your life, Lovely?


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Amy Young

When I first moved to China I knew three Chinese words: hello, thank you and watermelon. Often the only words needed in life, right?! I am known to jump in without all the facts and blog regularly at The Messy Middle. This year my book Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service was birthed with much joy and more than a little chocolate.