Posted by: Hannah | 05/11/2013

in which i live life to the fullest

Both Nan and Nicole responded to a recent Daily Mail article that listed “50 Ways to Live Life to the Full” – a ridiculous list that set my teeth on edge right off the bat, because shouldn’t it be “fullest”, not “full”? Or am I just pasting my own colloquial English onto proper grammar?

Anyway, I miss the good old days when we all used to do blog memes at least once a week, so without further ado, here’s how my own life stacks up against what the Daily Mail’s seemingly pretty damn shallow and stupid readership thinks of a life well lived.

1. Stop worrying about money

I actually am trying not to worry about money, but as Gene Kelly says “An American in Paris”: “I ain’t got [money]. And when you ain’t got any, it takes on a curious significance“. That’s my problem. We are comfortable, but we don’t have so much that we can’t make any frivolous purchases without discussing them first.

2. Stop worrying about what other people think

Up to a point, I agree with this – I spend entirely too much time worrying about what people might be thinking about me. However, the social contract falls apart pretty quickly if you never consider how other people are reacting to you.

3. Take two holidays a year

We always take one. Two is outside of our budget (see point # 1).

4. Enjoy little comforts in life

I have wooly slippers and a fuzzy bathrobe. I buy the good coffee and brew it every morning in a good coffeemaker. I like to keep a bar of good chocolate on hand, and when I have time to enjoy it I drink my tea out of antique bone china cups. I got this one In. The. Bag.

5. Experience different cultures

When I get the opportunity, I do this. Particularly the food. Man, do I love exotic food.

6. Work to live rather than live to work

I say this all the time. Both Michael and I work so that we can be secure enough to enjoy our not-work time.

7. Pay off all debts

You know, we’re very close to this one! We just paid off one of our two vehicles last week, using our tax return. We have no credit card debt anymore. We do still have a mortgage, and a monthly payment on our minivan, but otherwise, I’m going to give me a half-point.

8. Be true to yourself

This sounds like something you’d see on a T-shirt or a damn coffee mug, or something. What the hell? Sure. True to myself. I don’t lie to myself, really.

9. Concentrate on what you have instead of what you don’t have

This is excellent advice and I practice this all the time, plus I’m teaching the same idea to my kids.

10. Use money on experiences rather than saving for a rainy day

Oh gods, no. Save for a rainy day. You can still have experiences without flinging money around like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

11. Make time for family and friends

All of my time goes to my family and friends. I think a better challenge would be “make time for yourself”.

12. Try all types of food

I will try anything once.

13. Find true love

I certainly love Michael very much. Plus one point.

14. Travel to at least 25 different foreign countries

I’ve been to the United States, Germany, and the U.K. (for all of 24 hours). Michael and I have big plans to do lots of traveling once the kids are older and the mortgage is put to bed.

15. Go outside more

I go outside all the time! I play with the kids, I garden, I walk the dog – this one is silly. SILLY, I tell you.

16. Learn a new language

No time. NO TIME. I understand French if people speak slowly, but I can’t speak it well at all. I took Spanish 1000 in university to satisfy the language credit requirement, and that was actually a lot of fun, but without an opportunity to practice I’ve lost most of it. I can still sing “La Bamba” in Spanish, though. How many people can say that?

17. Be well thought of by family and friends

Goodness, I hope I am. I think so.

18. Help a member of your family out when they really need it

I have done this, many times. I think I should get five bonus points.

19. Lose a stone in weight

A stone is 14 pounds. I’ve lost that much before. I gained it back, though. Half-point.

20. Treat each day like it’s your last

NO NO NO NO. This is the kind of thinking that leads to binge drinking, overeating, profligate spending, and generalized dick-smackery.

21. Visit all of Britain’s historical landmarks

Because I’m Canadian, I’d like to change this to “visit every province and territory in Canada”.  I have always wanted to do this.

22. Book an impulsive last minute holiday

I’m hyperventilating at the very thought. Nope. I need time to plan.

23. Volunteer for a good cause

I’ve done this, back in my pre-kid days. Currently I’m co-chair of the school advisory committee, and I’m coaching Ron’s Little League t-ball team this summer.

24. Take up a challenge

I’ve done this. Point!

25. Go on safari

This would be cool, actually. I’d like to do this. Especially if there are elephants. I am fascinated by elephants. I’ve seen them up close twice, at two different zoos, and I get all teary-eyed every time.

26. Blow a load of money in one shopping trip, just because you can

Not without saving up first!

27. Learn a new instrument

I already know how to play the flute and saxophone. I can play piano a very little bit, and I would like to take it up again now that I’m older and would actually put the work in.

28. Be married for longer than 20 years

Not there yet. Michael and I have been together since 1999, and married since 2004.

29. Have enough money left for the grandchildren to enjoy

Um… no. I want to enjoy my money, thanks. I’ll share what I have with my grandkids, if I have any, while I’m alive to enjoy it with them.

30. Start a family


31. Earn more than your age

Oh, I am so not there. I used to be! Then I started having kids and, well, providing childcare doesn’t pay very well.

32. Have a pet

I have two! My yellow lab Salty and my Sad Cat Diary writer Max.

33. Drive a really fast car

I have never done this. I’ve driven average-speed cars very fast, though. Again, before I had kids. Now I am a law-abiding citizen.

34. Travel alone

I used to travel alone for work, sometimes. The best part was coming back to an empty hotel room, sacking out with ALL the pillows, and watching Law & Order marathons.

35. Be able to keep the kids on the straight and narrow

So far, YES.

36. Meet strangers

I do it, and I’m told you can’t tell that I’m terrified, but I always am. Meeting new people is hard for me.

37. Move away from home to an unfamiliar place

Nope. I live one hour away from where I grew up. I can’t see myself moving away from Nova Scotia, not for any length of time, anyway.

38. Have a one night stand

Never have. Don’t foresee a situation where I ever would.

39. Pass your driving test

Done! First try! Although I’m still absolute balls at parallel parking.

40. Get a degree

I have a B.A., major in English, minor in History. I use it ALL THE TIME in the dayhome.

41. Rescue someone so that you’re a hero for a little while

I… how in the name of god could you plan this? This is just weird. If I saw someone who needed rescuing, I would help them. But I don’t know that you can really put it on a to-do list.

42. Date someone exciting but completely wrong for you

Did this in high school. It was not a notable success.

43. Get a promotion

‘Fraid not. In my work-outside-the-home life I had a tendency to take on more and more responsibility without getting more money or improved working benefits, because I am a sucker and I hate leaving work undone.

44. Reach the desired career peak by age 40

Whatever. I don’t have a ‘desired career peak’. NEXT.

45. Have an all-night drinking session

Yes. I have done this. I was a lot younger. And the thought of it now makes me want to lie down and die.

46. Perform something on stage in front of others

DONE! I was in school bands for six years, I was in Fame in high school, I participated in speech competitions and in elementary school I even competed as a vocal soloist. I was petrified every time, but man, do I love the applause.

47. Snog a stranger

Well… pre-Michael, I *did* snog a guy I barely knew, once. Alcohol was a factor. I don’t feel that my life has been enhanced by that particular experience.

48. Plan a surprise party

I would love to do this, for the right person.

49. Embark on adrenaline packed activities such as sky diving or bungee jumping

I would try sky-diving, once the children are grown. I would never put my boys’ mother at risk while they’re young. Oh! And I’d love to do the Edgewalk at the CN Tower.

50. Spend time with children even if they aren’t yours

Just LOOK at what I do for a living. I am hereby giving myself one million bonus points.


If you play along, link in the comments!



  1. GREAT last line. I love your comments on the suggestions, too.

    I miss doing memes on my blog. Maybe I will blog again this summer.

    • Bring back memes! I think they’re a riot. Such fun.

  2. YES! FULLEST. Not full. FULLEST!!

    I like your list & I’m so glad you did this, too! I miss memes.


  3. “pretty damn shallow and stupid” is probably a fairly accurate description of the Daily Mail’s target audience. We like to call it “the Daily Fail”, which is of course highly witty and thought-provoking.

    • Heh, The Daily Fail. Love it.

  4. Re #36: Really? I couldn’t tell.

    • Really. I spend days obsessing when I know I have to meet new people. And then I spend days afterwards obsessing about whether or not I made a good impression, if I was too friendly or not friendly enough, if I came across as stupid or juvenile or vacuous or disinterested.

      And while I’m *actually* meeting people, my palms and sweaty and my stomach is in knots.

      I’m just really, really good at hiding it.

  5. Yay! We really should do memes more often because they are FUN. I love them, actually.

    Elephants are my favourite! Such amazing animals. One of the elephants at the Calgary Zoo, Kamala, likes painting. She paints with a paintbrush in her trunk and the zoo auctions the paintings off as fundraisers. Isn’t that cool?

    • It’s beyond cool. Added to my “live life to the fullest” list – buying one of Kamala’s paintings.

  6. Ug. Just lost my comment … #15 isn’t silly for the average North American. It’s amazing how little time people get outside and how beneficial it is to us.

    Also, memes are awesome. I’m all for them. I started doing this list, like you have, but it morphed into something slightly different. I should finish it soon.

    • Yes, you’re probably right about the lack of outside time. It just struck me as so odd, for me and my life.

  7. […] love Hannah’s quote on this one. It’s easier not to worry about the stuff when you’ve got lots. While I […]

  8. I say “living life to the full”. My family’s English (from England English), so it’s probably idiomatic depending on where you live. Dunno which is ‘correct’. Likely neither — or rather, both. I’ll see if Bill Bryson has anything to say about it!

    I loved some of your answers, just loved them, and was inspired to do the meme myself. Thanks for this!

    • Now I’m curious – fullest or full? Might call up my old boss – very British is he – and see what he has to say about it.

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