Voracious Living
March 5, 2012 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Voracious living . . . how? DarlingBri's freaking awesome comment in this thread got me thinking about living voraciously. Because that's something I'm really interested in doing. How does one go about living voraciously?
posted by Sassyfras to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure what you mean. Are you asking more "what is the definition of 'voracious living' or are you asking for a how-to guide?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:26 PM on March 5, 2012

Agreed, it was an awesome comment!
For me, it seems that 'voracious living' is more of an attitude and a mindset.

It would seem to be an attitude of asking yourself "what do I want to do?" and then going right out and doing it!

Do you have a bucket list?
If so, why NOT?
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:28 PM on March 5, 2012

Response by poster: @EmpressCallipygos - I'd happily take both - definition of voracious living and a how-to guide.
posted by Sassyfras at 1:06 PM on March 5, 2012

Best answer: Take risks is the biggest thing I would advise. They don't even have to be big risks, but basically, when everyone around you hesitates and says, "Oh, gosh, I don't know if I could do that thing you want to do," DO IT.

Follow your heart, cultivate passions, ask questions, be curious. Let yourself feel fear but not be ruled by it. Try new things, talk to people you wouldn't talk to normally, make things, hack things, poke around, visit new neighborhoods, new places. Engage with the world, get your hands dirty, let yourself get excited and show your excitement, be expressive. Pursue experiences!
posted by rosa at 1:20 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ask yourself the question "What would I try if I knew I could not fail?" That's the start of your bucket list. There's no "I'm too old" or "I don't have that kind of money" or "I'm not smart enough" or "I don't have enough nerve" or "That's too hard." Just start writing the list.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:24 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yes, that was an awesome comment, and describes the way (IMO) being a grown up and being married is supposed to be!

Being grown up should NOT be, "Oh, but I'm too old to start doing [X] now. I probably wouldn't be very good at it." It SHOULD be "Yeah! I can go take surfing/skydiving/accordion lessons if I want to because I'm The Grown Up! If I don't like it I can sell my accordion and buy a tuba instead!"

I don't know how relevant the marriage part is to your question, but I don't think being married precludes living "voraciously". People have weird ideas about marriage... like it will somehow magically fix all the problems in a relationship and physically join you and your spouse at the hip. Marriage does not oblige you to put your dreams on hold to raise kids, either. (Kids or no kids is a pretty important thing to establish before you tie the knot, but it doesn't have to be the default outcome.) It drives me crazy to see couples shrug and say "Well, I guess we should have a baby now," not because they really and truly want one, but because it's expected of them.

Marriage should NOT be, "Oh, I'd like to go to that thing I saw in the paper, but my spouse isn't into that so I guess I'll stay home and watch Quincy reruns with them, because that's the only show we both actively like." it SHOULD be:
You: Hey honey, I was thinking about taking this underwater basket weaving class! Want to come?

Spouse: Nah, not my thing. What about [random household logistic]?

You: Shouldn't be a problem... the class is on Thursday nights, and only runs six weeks.

Spouse: Cool, have fun darlin'!
Anyway... married or not, I think it boils down to this: If you're interested in something and have the time and means, pursue it! Go to that lecture, go to that concert, check out books from the library, take an introductory class, take a few lessons, just do it! It doesn't have to be a long-term commitment to anything, and don't worry about "having something to show for it" afterwards. You may find that swing dancing is nowhere near as fun as you thought it would be, but you won't be wondering about it anymore. On the other hand, you might go ice-fishing with a friend on a lark, and discover you're crazy about it. You won't know if you don't try it.

If you're interested in something and don't have the means, then make a plan; buy fewer lattes or give up HBO for a while, start a dedicated savings account, and make it happen! Delayed gratification is awesome too.
posted by usonian at 1:49 PM on March 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think the idea of living voraciously has to do a lot with seeing the difference between things you want to have or do because they are comfortable/easy and things you want to have or do because they give you feeling of satisfaction, pride and independence.

On a small scale, an example of this is choosing to go for a run even though you don't feel like it because you know you will feel better about yourself afterwards. You could choose the easy/comfortable route and not "lose" anything superficial, but you aren't gaining anything either.

For me, it means pursuing music wholeheartedly, being prideful enough to demand payment for my creative work, starting a small business to fill in the money-related gaps. Not working a 9-5 job. Ever. Realizing this means no kids. Being honest about my non-standard relationship standards and ending a couple of relationships over it.

Other general ideas I associate with this idea of voracious living:
Actively being on the look out for cop-out habits.
Not living by ANYONE'S rules or expectations.
Being completely honest with your desires, and actually acting on them.
Avoiding that "This is just OK" feeling of staleness like the plague, whether its in love, work or life situations.
posted by supernaturelle at 2:15 PM on March 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

Be fearless and honest and prioritize really good sex.
posted by Sublimity at 2:19 PM on March 5, 2012

Might I suggest sometimes living vicariously, if voracious is not always an option. :)

I think the most healthy way to go about it would be to do things that you take pride and satisfaction in rather than things you don't. Sometimes it'll require a sacrifice or trade-off, but I'm generally happier (mostly, a work in progress) living my life in a proactive rather than reactive way.

My number one life rule has become "Don't do something you don't want to do." which isn't about being selfish since I generally love helping people, but about not putting myself in situations or through things that I think I "need" or "should want" to do to fit in.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:24 PM on March 5, 2012

Not a how-to guide, but personal experience (which might suggest some templates)...

As an adult (early-30s):

* procrastinate less, mostly do to much less perfectionism
* when things don't get done, that's mostly okay! They just don't get done
* best shape / health in my life. I realize I can be good at it, even if I am not as good as the other kids were in high school. Stretching is awesome. Running is doable (for me!), and sucking at things is normal the first few times! I can listen to my body and actually hear it.
* enjoy stupider things more brazenly. Yes, I like RPG history.
* pick up new habits / projects *whenever*. Try making your own mozzarella, or pasta sauce, or tortillas or jam
* some hobbies are great, but they just aren't for me. It's okay to accept that too. Buying crochet hooks isn't a suicide pact with crocheting
* be the center of the social life you want to have. Host things. Start and run groups. Everyone else social is faking the small-talk too :) If there is food / drink, and people are nice, people will have a good time!
* negative and cynical is easy. Enthusiasm and liking is scary and hard, but worth doing.
* on Friday nights, I am a hermit, and that's okay too! I want one night a week where I can watch whatever I want, wear pjs, and in general, not have to entertain / be accountable to anyone.

Good luck!
posted by gregglind at 2:36 PM on March 5, 2012 [21 favorites]

Your question puts me in mind of these books a friend of mine was telling me about recently - Succulent Wild Woman and The Bodacious Book of Succulence: Daring to Live Your Succulent Wild Life, both by SARK.
posted by flex at 2:41 PM on March 5, 2012

Ask yourself the question "What would I try if I knew I could not fail?"

I have always hated that meme, because I think failure is an incredibly important part of life. I have learned tremendous things from failures, sometimes more than from successes.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:55 PM on March 5, 2012

In addition to working on creating & crossing things off your bucket list, do/organize fun things with other people that you can do regularly - after work, on the weekend.

Just a little bit more exercise (walking, biking, sailing, curling, bowling, skipping rope) and a little bit of helping others can go a long way towards making life more excellent.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 3:05 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: To me, it's not just dreaming up wacky adventures--parasailing! Hang gliding!--it's throwing myself whole-heartedly into whatever it is I'm doing. Giving a friend a surprise party, planting a garden, training or attempting to train my terrier--if I'm going to do something, I'm going to try with all my might.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:37 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'm with Ideefixe on this one. It doesn't have to be parasailing or hang gliding to be voracious. Living each day to its fullest extent is voracious enough for me. If that includes nothing but reading a book I've always wanted to read, so be it. However, it can also include moving across country to a city with no job, no acquaintances and a couple thousand dollars in the bank (I've done this a couple of times as well, and people tell me I'm crazy). To me, living voraciously is about doing what you want to do, or as someone recently put it -- "living, not surviving, there's a subtle difference." I'd rather live from day today than survive each day.
posted by patheral at 3:48 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The "if I knew I could not fail" part is to eliminate putting up road blocks before you've even started. It's not about not experiencing failure.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:34 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you! The past few days I've done more. I tend to endure and survive, not live. And it's getting tiresome. I can talk myself out of doing anything. But these last few days I didn't give myself the chance to talk myself out of stuff. I've gone running . . . because I felt the desire to - even though it was dark out! I've been wanting to get some clay for making pinch pots but have put it off because spending $12 measly bucks seemed like too much to spend. But I shut that up and bought the damn stuff. I have always loved yoga but talked myself out of that too - $4 for a class plus the money for gas. Yup, SHUT IT UP. I was the youngest in yoga class by like 30 years and by far the worst but I had a great time. And I think I made some elderly people really happy.

Here's to living!
posted by Sassyfras at 12:31 PM on March 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Realize the seriousness of only having one life. This is literally the only time you get. If there's something you dream of, wonder about, are curious about, respect or want, remind yourself that this is it, you either do it in this life, or never. Ever.

Compared with that fact, little else in your own mind should be serious enough to stop you.
posted by ead at 5:08 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

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