THE BLOG
05/31/2016 03:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

100 Ways to Have a Love Affair With Life

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Photo courtesy of Tonya Leigh

"When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world." ― Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver's quote gets me every time.  I remember the first time I heard it was at a dinner table in the South of France when an Irishman recited it word for word.

It struck a deep nerve within me, because up until then I had ignored my deep desires and spent most of my time trying to rearrange my external world - trying to lose weight, have the perfect relationship and make more money - to offer me relief.  As a result, I was constantly overwhelmed, worried and anxious about my future.

Life felt more like an enemy to be conquered than a lover to be adored.

Something had to change, and that something was the relationship I had with life.

Having worked as a critical care nurse and being present with people on their deathbeds, I have a deep understanding of what life is truly about, and contrary to what people try to convince you, it's not about making 6 or 7 figures, being a size 2 or finding the perfect relationship.    None of these things guarantee you a full life.

Yet, if those are your desires (and there's nothing wrong with wanting what you want; I happen to love luxury, being fit and great relationships), falling in love with life, as it is right now, is the secret to attracting it all - with ease, grace and joie de vivre. 

If you want your life to change, change how you treat your life!

Because . . .

When You French Kiss Life, Life Kisses You Back!

Here are some ways I'm having a love affair with life:

  • Say thank you often
  • Eat what I want without guilt (I also lost weight with this approach)
  • Dance every day
  • Keep fresh flowers in your home
  • Flirt
  • Invest in good linens
  • Do something that scares you every day
  • Create your unique definition of success
  • Kiss a lot
  • Create beautiful spaces to enjoy
  • Wake up each morning and envision your day
  • Go to bed celebrating your successes
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Take yourself on a date - get dressed up, reserve the best table at the best restaurant and enjoy your own company
  • Dress up, even in little ways, each day (a great accessory, beautiful shoes or a stunning scarf)
  • Take a different route to work (mix things up a little to break out of the daily rut)
  • Find your signature scent
  • Throw a dinner party
  • Write love letters on beautiful stationery
  • Host a game night
  • Visit a museum
  • Stop using excuses as a way to settle
  • Mix it up and try something new in the bedroom (don't treat sex like a chore)
  • If you don't have a partner, please yourself
  • Forgive those who have hurt you (no need to continue hurting yourself)
  • Always be willing to grow and change
  • Go to Sunday brunch with your girlfriends
  • Create plans that excite you
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify
  • Spend money on things you truly value
  • Trust your instincts
  • Allow yourself to feel fully
  • Stop being so serious; be a little playful
  • Surprise someone with a small gift
  • Break the rules; make your own
  • Don't be a copycat; create from your divine heart
  • Practice living in the moment
  • Meet friends for Happy Hour
  • Volunteer
  • Pack a picnic, grab a book and head to secret spot
  • Visit the dog park
  • Plant a garden
  • Cook a 5-course meal and spend 3 hours savoring your creation
  • Learn to accept and love your body (as it is right now)
  • Leave a $5 bill stuffed in an area of the grocery store to be found
  • Place lavender drops on your pillowcase at night
  • Use your fancy china on an ordinary night
  • Pick your favorite era and spend the day pretending that you've stepped back in time
  • Go skinny dipping
  • Unplug from technology once a week
  • Spend a day doing only what you absolutely desire
  • Connect with someone new (new people mean new perspectives)
  • Stay out of everyone else's business (their opinions, beliefs and drama)
  • Cuddle...with your partner, kids, friends or pet
  • Send BIG love energy to everyone you encounter today
  • Wear something that you'd normally not wear (hat, scarves, big fancy sunglasses)
  • Through out the day, stop and wink at the sky and say merci!
  • Have a tarot reading
  • Order something from the menu you've never tasted
  • Learn a new sport (tennis, croquet, ping pong)
  • Buy decadent soaps
  • Buy the most luxurious chocolate you can find, pour yourself a cup of tea and savor every bite
  • Look for beauty in everything
  • Take 5 things off your to-do list and replace it with something  you really want to do
  • Look for miracles in everything - the unpredictable, heartbreaks, perceived failures . . . they are there if you seek them
  • Choose do go about your daily tasks with passion - from cleaning the toilet to paying bills
  • Allow yourself to cry when you need a good cry
  • Take responsibility for your own happiness and fulfillment
  • Stop complaining and gossiping
  • Paint or draw; open up the channels of creativity
  • Stop hanging out with energy drainers
  • Eat only the best of whatever you choose to eat - aka no crap
  • Each morning, choose who you want to BE first, then what you want to DO
  • Have a secret garden
  • Stop comparing.  There is only one you, and that's a pretty special place to be
  • Get outside and get some Vitamin D - one of the greatest epidemics of our time is lack of sunshine
  • For the love of God, stop the insane dieting; when you're in love, you naturally eat a little less and move a little more - focus on LOVE
  • Stop the 100% productivity mode.  I'm giving you permission to not be so productive.  You may find that taking that pressure off leads to smarter productivity
  • What did you love to do when you were little? Do that!
  • Hang out with fellow life lovers - those who curate fascinating and inspiring conversations
  • Don't follow trends; create your own
  • Always choose kindness, especially towards yourself
  • Write a love letter to life
  • Dream every day
  • Put your wishes in a bottle and release them into a river
  • Understand your triggers and patterns so you can elegantly navigate them
  • Always ask yourself: how can I make this fun?
  • Be open to the mystery of life; rigidity may lead to certain outcomes, but it will never lead to adventure and the good stuff of life
  • When in doubt, always, always follow your heart
  • And, if you're going to have a love affair with life, put on some lipstick and pucker up

Want to add to the list? I'd love to know how you are having a love affair with life in the comments below.

This article was originally published by Tonya Leigh at French Kiss Life, a destination for women who want to inject more elegance, style and joie de vivre into their daily lives. Through a vibrant online community and immersive experiences, Tonya helps women uncover their own iconic appeal. Are you classically charming like Audrey Hepburn, or is your goal to be a trendsetter at every age like Iris Apfel? Find out how you can tap into and leverage your own iconic appeal by clicking here.