Living life to the fullest


People love sharing quotes on social media. Recently, I came across a Keanu Reeves quote – or, perhaps it was Richard Gere quote as some people state – anyway, this quote made me think not only about the trustworthiness of the Internet, but also about life.

The first photograph illustrates my life these days, and the second one – my life’s beginning. As you see, the richness of color increases over the years, and the dark areas only mean that I finally know that I know very little.


Let’s go back to the quote. I am sure you have read it many times. I just copied and pasted it.

“My friend’s mom has eaten healthy all her life. Never ever consumed alcohol or any ‘bad’ food, exercised every day, very limber, very active, took all supplements suggested by her doctor, never went in the sun without sunscreen and when she did it was for as short a period as possible – so pretty much she protected her health with the utmost that anyone could. She is now 76 and has skin cancer, bone marrow cancer and extreme osteoporosis.

My friend’s father eats bacon on top of bacon, butter on top of butter, fat on top of fat, never and I mean never exercised, was out in the sun burnt to a crisp every summer, he basically took the approach to live life to his fullest and not as others suggest. He is 81 and the doctors say his health is that of a young person.

People you cannot hide from your poison. It’s out there and it will find you so in the words of my friend’s still living mother: ‘if I would have known my life would end this way I would have lived it more to the fullest enjoying everything I was told not to!’”

I am honest with you – I have read this piece many times, trying to attribute it to Keanu Reeves. I couldn’t. My friend had eaten healthy and lost her life to cancer, leaving behind three children. This part I understand. What I don’t understand is the definition of “living life to the fullest” in this message. Somehow I feel that the old couple have nothing to do with the idea of a ‘full life’ measured in eating, drinking and challenging the common sense. Yet, it is not the first time I hear this definition – eat what you like, drink what you like, party, do stupid things, live your life to the fullest. I have done a good couple of stupid things myself, but obviously not many enough to experience the joy of fulfillment and achievement… So, instead, I am trying to fill up my life with the things that are more meaningful. You can guess that it is not as easy as simply eat my favorite food ( I have many favorite foods). Sometimes I feel discouraged, but then I think about many terrific humans who truly live their life to the fullest, and I do my best too, spending time with my family, learning as much as I can take in, traveling as much as I can afford, doing nice things to others. I know that this list is not impressive at all, and looks pretty selfish too, but it keeps me busy, and gives me many opportunities. I love being alive.

An overused proverbial phrase “When life gives you lemons…” has many recipes to get you through the unpleasant experiences. But what if life gives you garlic? I googled and learned that I can use it to kill vampires. Be happy for everything life gives you 🙂 There are some pictures from the English Market in Cork City.


Sometimes life seems so awful. Can it get any worse?

english market

Yeah, it can!

english market

But hang in there, it will all get sorted in the end 🙂

english market

Sometimes your life is a reflection in the river.


Sometimes it leaves lasting marks.


Life is never the same, and to live it to the fullest means to embrace all the aspects and do your best to enjoy it. Your best, not only your basics 🙂 With all my sincere love for chocolate…


inesemjphotography  Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Living life to the fullest, is kind of tricky sometimes. Sometimes responsibilities or lack of funds etc can get in the way. Perhaps we should try to live life in the moment, and see where it takes us. An impromptu meal with old friends might seem like a little thing to do – but often it’s these moments that bring us the most happiness. I did just that on Saturday evening, it was lovely. My friend popped round with her daughter, who has been friends with my daughter since they were infants. They are both sixteen now, and still such close friends, how time flies.

    1. I love meals with friends 🙂 I agree with you about living in the moment. If we don’t waste our moments, it means we live our life to the fullest. What more we can do? Regardless of our health, age, funds, location we all measure our life in moments 🙂

  2. You are very wise Inese. I agree with you, one’s ‘fullest life’ could be another’s ’empty life’ depends on what ‘fullest’ means to this person. I do feel that most of us are too busy and too focus on chasing the outside world, but hardly take an inner journey to find out who we really are; what do we really want in this life. With the increase of seeing people looking at their smart phone while eating, the enjoyment of living in the moment seems to be taken.., it’s one step further from a fullest life if you ask me…

    Vivienne X

    1. Absolutely agree with you, Vivienne! The more we focus on what we do, the more we enjoy it. Eating and using your phone at the same time is a grand example 🙂
      Most of people whom I know personally, are living good and meaningful lives. ‘Full life’ is not necessarily a cool or exotic life. These are rare 🙂 While we dream or wait for one to happen, our own life is passing us by. xx

  3. Great post as always. I agree that living life to the fullest means different things to different people. the fish pic made me chuckle as well as your comments LOL 🙂

  4. I suppose everyone will interpret the phrase ‘live life to the fullest’ in very different ways. What makes life ‘full’ to one person may be the opposite to another. As for eating healthily, we can all eat what we find to be healthy fo us – but if we had no lapses, life would probably be nowhere as much fun!’ It’s certainly an interesting quote, though – whover said it.
    I love the way you use the two photos to illustrate the two periods of your life. The first one definitely has that mellow look compared to the clear brightness of life’s beginning. Lovely photos Inese.

    1. Cannot disagree with you. We are all different. The thing is, that many people simply don’t know the ways to fill their life ‘full’ with anything except parties and eating/drinking, not because they are bad people or something, but because they just don’t know! There are so many people who have no idea about the vast knowledge accumulated by humanity and about the best examples of human spirit. If they only knew. It is why I write all of this – in a very unsophisticated way, to reach out, to offer some simple food for thoughts, baby food, actually. The most crucial things are simple.

      Millie, ‘lapses’ with desserts are not foreign to me 😉 I love nice food and struggle with my diet.

      1. Your posts are absolutely excellent, Inese. You reach out to so many of us, and always give us lots to think about. As for your photos … all I can say is that they are superb! You’re right about interpretations of ‘full’. Parties and boozing may well be the only ways that some people know how to enjoy themselves. There are
        lots of reasons for that, and I’m sure we could both write an essay on the topic.
        I’m not averse to ice cream and good food, either. That’s why I spend so many hours walking and swimming each week. If I didn’t, I’d probably resemble a Christmas pudding. 😀

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Laurie! We will always make plans anyway 🙂
      It is a good practice to ask yourself in the afternoon – what made you feel good today? If the answer is ‘nothing’ then hurry up, you still have time 🙂

  5. I have read and heard similar stories. I believe living life to the fullest means different things to different people. To me, living life to the fullest is definitely not measured by how much bacon and butter I eat.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Vashti! When I finished reading that Facebook post, I opened the comments and learned that ‘eat drink and be merry’ is considered a formula to living well by majority. I only hope that all these people simply didn’t think before they commented.

  6. I am rather late to the discussion, Inese. I think living life to the fullest doesn’t mean to forget the rules, still see your doctor, eat healthy foods, indulge a little, have meaningful or spiritual life. Love and care for others: to share your time to brighten others lives. . .
    Not the same thing but I object to the words,”hopeless romantic.” I made up a more positive “spin” on it: I am a “hopeful romantic.” (Put it on a post because I believe I created a thought worth considering.) Hugs, Robin

    1. Thank you for your comment, Robin! You added a very important aspect. When do we feel the most happy and fulfilled? Exactly as you say – it is when we know that we have brightened somebody’s life 🙂 Doesn’t matter how, because we are not the same, we have different capacities, resources and circumstances. We might regret some things that happened – or never happened – in our life, but we shouldn’t discourage ourselves by thinking that we are not living our life to the fullest if we care for someone else.

  7. Well I like your points about the color of life as u age – but I tend to disagree about how much we don’t know! I mean sure – knowledge is vast and of course in philosophy we can learn and learn. But when it comes to health I have found there are serious delusions out there and ignorance – and common sense is thrown out the window.
    A site called marks daily Apple (mda) has so much truth – so I invite people who want answers to these scenarios to read read and read some more!

    Because the sun does not cause skin cancer – the sun actually helps us make vit D and has health perks – cancer comes from a failed immune system! Cancer happens when the immune system gets so burdened to where it cannot fight off the free radicals who are unstable and then steal from our healthy cells.
    Do you know they use sugar to find tumors and cancer cell movement !? Well many people argue that there is a fungal connection to cancer – I agree – and then other factors.
    And so our sweet lady who got cancer – well maybe it was lack of a good dose of sun – or the horrid chemicals in some sunscreens added to her already toxic liver or body – cos flukes are more prevalent than most know and they pull from immune function.
    And our bacon and butter eating man – well he had a kick ass immune system – that was not impaired by fungal sludge and pathogens.

    In closing – all Health is connected to immune function and that is why some get cancer and some do not- and so saying she ate all the right things is unsound in the argument because we need healthy fats and less sugars snd some sun.

    Anyhow – in closing – I feel as if there is a delusion about what the human body needs and big mistake people make is to avoid the sun – avoid all fats and then eat way too much sugar.

    1. We are all different, and we simply cannot live the same life as someone else. Like, yesterday I read a blog about a woman in Dublin who dedicated her life to helping children from war-ridden countries. Her life is amazing, and I utterly admire her, but my own circumstances wouldn’t allow me to live such life. I know many people who are doing amazing things and I wish I could do more myself, but my resources are limited. I do my best from where I stand.

  8. I like your assessment of “living life to the fullest” except for the favorite foods. I may be missing something but I have no favorite food just as I have no favorite brand of gasoline to put into the car. I hear people often extolling the experience of one type of meal over another and sometimes feel left out because for me, oatmeal or oysters Rockefeller, it’s pretty much the same.

  9. Beautiful images. Nobody’s perfect life would be perfect for anybody else. Each one of us has to find the way, although we can share and see what makes sense to us, if any. What one person loves, another one would hate… So we can try and enjoy what we enjoy and be inspired as best we can. Thanks for making us think, Irene

    1. Thank you so much Olga! So agree with you about being inspired in the best possible way. Yes, we are not perfect, we are not the same and we don’t want to be the same 🙂 In our own circumstances, we can grow and bloom beautifully, doing the best of what we can think about. Each of us can experience the joy of the work well done, of meeting a good person, overcoming a challenge, capturing a perfect moment, being a parent, coming to a rescue, learning something useful, reading a great book, seeing the beauty of the world. So many opportunities for joy! 🙂

  10. I love eating garlic but I also hope that not only does it keep the vampires away but also that terrifying fish! Ingenious and charming post. 🌌 🌠 🎇

    1. Hehe, it is already a year since I took the pictures of that fish, and have been waiting for a chance to share them in my post. The most terrible thing ever 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

  11. As always, I really like your photos. Quotes are funny things and often the persons they’re attributed to weren’t the ones who said those things.

  12. I agree with you that living a full life has little to do with gluttony and lack of control. Nor do I think it necessarily equates to living as long as possible. There are many, many people who seemed to have crammed a lot of living into a relatively short time and died at a young age, such as Alexander the Great (32), Mozart (35), Cleopatra (39). It really isn’t difficult to find examples.

    As a side note, I’ve had conversations before with people who point to a relative or friend’s smoking and drinking into his nineties and then say that proves this lifestyle choices make no difference. That’s not really how things work. It’s all about probabilities. We start with different genetic makeups and then our behavior increases or decreases the chances of particular problems developing.

    In other words, smoking or alcohol abuse is something akin to putting on a blindfold and then walking across a busy highway. It doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely be hit by a truck, but it does nothing to improve your odds.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Bun! Agree with everything you say, and thank you for sharing your insight. In my youth, I have heard many people speak about their life shortly before their death. I don’t remember anyone who would regret that they didn’t drink enough, or even eat enough. Even that gypsy woman, who asked me to lit a cigarette for her and put it in her dying lips, in the hospital room… People are usually honest before they die, and they don’t say anything that would sound like a quote from the internet. Unless they are scared and try to hide their fear.
      You are so right about the quantity and quality of years, and the discipline and control it takes to achieve something. I admire people who start early, and know what they want. Some people never recognizes their gift and purpose. I am uncertain about mine, but I don’t want to encourage anyone to go for a cheaper ‘eat, drink and be merry’ alternative of living life.

      1. It is impressive when some someone starts a successful company or become a famous performer by the age of 25. I don’t grudge such people their achievements and I admire their focus and dedication.

        On the other hand, I do sometimes worry that our culture tends to laud the acquisition of fame, wealth and power to the exclusion of all else. It seems to be me there are many other, quieter ways of being successful, such as working in a job that we find fulfilling or that makes some sort of contribution to society, no matter how modest.

        The theme of eating and drinking made me think back to school dinner lady I knew in my childhood. Making sure small children got at least one decent meal a day was her driving purpose. She never became famous or rich, but I think she lived a successful and worthwhile life.

        1. Most of people are just people, and they are the ones who keep this Earth spinning. Very bright people are not always famous ( most of great scientists, for example), and famous people are not always bright ( you know…). Your Dinner Lady was a very successful human being, and it is wonderful that you appreciated her work even as a child. I too have a long list of inspiring people, and only some of them are famous. Success doesn’t always come with trumpets and parades. I imagine how delighted your Dinner Lady was when everything went smoothly, and everyone was fed.
          Our culture is a market. All the existing trends manipulate people into consuming. It is a success when we stay away from the trends and value the things that are not for sale 🙂

          1. I think you’re spot on here, especially about the our culture promoting consumption above all else. It also has a ridiculous cult of celebrity and a skewed sense of priorities that means someone who kicks a ball around a field is lauded far, far above someone who saves lives.

            I completely agree about my dinner lady having had a truly successful life. It’s just that success means something different from what most people in our culture have been conditioned to think it means. 🙂

            1. Oh yes, the cults. Another marketing tool. A good number of companies profit from the ‘ball kicker’ and vice versa.
              People usually think about possible deathbed regrets. I would rather ask what could possibly give me a sense of contentment – and just do these things 🙂

            2. Focus on living, then 😉
              Here is an idea for you. You have two teenagers at home. Write a manual for handling teenagers. I guess you won’t be the only one writing about this topic, but the demand is greater than supply 😉 It will be a bestseller – enough to make you a contented person. Best of luck!

  13. Beautiful photos Inese – it strikes me that quote just tries to explain what can’t be explained – why some people seem to live long healthy lives and others don’t, no matter what they do. I think trying to live a meaningful life – whatever that meaning is to you – is the only thing we can do as we can’t be sure of anything else 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Andrea! That is true. We just have to do our best, whatever it is for us and our circumstances. Because of my past experiences, I value my life and appreciate being alive. I don’t have an exemplary meaningful life at all, but I know people who do, which means it is possible 🙂 The friend I mentioned in the post, the one who died from cancer, was a great example both in her life and her death. She passed a somewhat bitter remark once, saying that all her healthy eating didn’t help much, but I know that if she had a second chance, she would live the same way, because our life is bigger than simple ‘eat, drink, and be merry’. 🙂

  14. I couldn’t agree more on what you have written: I am trying to fill up my life with the things that are more meaningful… and if your words and photos are a reflection of your way of living, it must be meaningful for sure. Thanks for this 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Montserrat! I feel like my time is running out. I mean, not my biological life, exactly, but something more. This ‘filling up my life’ is not efficient anymore 😉

      1. Sometimes I would love to invite you to a cup of tea and talk with you for hours. I wish you all the best ❤

    1. Thank you so much! I was watching that grass all the winter, but never got a sunny day for a picture – we don’t have much sun here. Still, missed some half and hour 🙂 Photography in Ireland can be complicated 🙂

  15. Magnificent pictures, Inese – as usual;) And I absolutely agree with you on the subject about making more of life than just eating, drinking and partying through it. Of course, excellent food and feasting on chocolate are great (and believe me, I really do feast on it;) but it would be really sad, if that were all we would do. Maybe the quote just wants to emphasize a bit the uselessness of chastising oneself too harshly…? I know lots of people who concentrate so much on avoiding every last bit of sugar, carbohydrates etc, that they forget to live in the moment. Living healthy is of course just the thing if you want to get older, but there are so many unpredictabilities in life. Control is just an illusion, I think.
    Oh, my! I really didn´t intend to write all this! I seem to be in a rather philosophical mood today;) Hope you don´t mind and wish you a wonderful sunday!! Sarah xo

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Sarah! Living my life to the fullest means a lot more to me than just food 🙂 I think it is because I had to fight for my life twice in my twenties. I never took it for granted. Hope you are having a happy day! xx

      1. To be honest: I can only imagine how that must feel like – to fight for one´s life that is. I never really had to and I´m very grateful for this.
        May I ask, what happened? Of course, I won´t mind if you´d prefer to keep this information for yourself – please don´t think me nosy! Whatever it was – I am truly glad you survived! Sarah xo

  16. Oh how I love this, wise and wonderful lady. I’m a great believer in that quote about climbing that god damn mountain cos you won’t remember the days you just sat at your desk. Your photographs are stunning as always. xxxxxxxxxxx

  17. Lovely images and words, Inese. Love the last bit about life giving you garlic :). Moderation in all things seems the sensible approach and dare I say it – even with chocolate. 😮

    1. Thank you Jean! Sometimes I am struggling with what you call ‘moderation’, because I love desserts and good food in general 🙂 What I eat doesn’t define me though. Basic physical needs are almost the same for everyone. But if I make a choice to eat a smaller chocolate bar, or skip a dessert for my health sake, it defines me as a woman with a strong character 🙂 As to the living life to the fullest – if eating and partying were my only joys, I would feel very sorry for myself.

  18. Great post and pictures, Inese…we all need to choose our ways of living life to the full, as someone said, this is not a rehearsal…

    1. Exactly! We are all guilty in wasting our time now and then, but as you say we have to always keep in mind that it is our grand performance.

  19. Good Morning Inese, I read “I do my best too, spending time with my family, learning as much as I can take in, traveling as much as I can afford, doing nice things to others. I know that this list is not impressive at all, and looks pretty selfish too, but it keeps me busy, and gives me many opportunities. I love being alive.” that doesn’t sound selfish to me at all and how can it be when it mentions doing nice things for others. That to me is living life to it’s fullest, each individual putting into life as much as they can and getting as much out as they can.You won’t get much more out than the satisfaction of having helped others in some way, and surely that’s what life is about?
    xxx Gigantic Hugs. As usual I love your pictures xxx

    1. David, thank you so much for your comment! “Putting into life as much as they can and getting as much out as they can” is the most perfect definition! Putting into life our best efforts and getting out of life joy and satisfaction – what else? That’s a life well lived. Many hugs!!!xxxxxx

  20. Wonderful post Inese ~ I like the contrast you have of the first two photos, it is so appropriate. A good life is one where we add color as we age, but at some point realize that we still know very little ~ but it doesn’t keep us from trying to learn a lot 🙂

    Your photographs are amazing, and with your words as well as these photos of a life being well lived, I can see your “trying to fill up my life with the things that are more meaningful…” and succeeding.

    As for internet quotes, I agree with you. The best one I ever found is my a man I admire greatly: “The problem with internet quotes is that you cant always depend on their accuracy” -Abraham Lincoln, 1864

    1. Randall, you probably won’t believe me, but this Abraham Lincoln quote is one of my favorites, and I wanted to used it too, but it didn’t seem right for this post, so I left it for my other project 🙂 What can I tell? Bless your heart, an unknown author 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words! My life is rather dull at times, but it is all I have, and I am doing my best to keep going and have joy.

  21. I saw that, people in social networks likes to post phrases said (allegedly) by famous people. I prefer to post my own thoughts instead in those social networks.
    ¨LIve to the fullest¨is regularly a horrible phrase misattributed to Borges. As you show it can take any shape… I prefer to think that every person has to learn to live his/her life in his/her own way, without damaging to others of course.
    I love the words that explain your feelings in your photographs. : )

    1. Allegedly, exactly 🙂 I don’t believe that the actor who hasn’t had an easy life is so shallow to reduce the purpose of life to only eating and drinking.
      You are right, this is a very misleading phrase, and I really wanted to tell that there is much more to life, and we have to do our best to feel that our life was well lived.

  22. A lovely post, Inese. The interesting thing to me about those quotes is that they gravitate toward extremes on a continuum, when perhaps it’s not a continuum at all, but a web. Or perhaps it’s all random and impossible to make sense of. I tend to think along your lines, that meaning-making is the secret, embracing all the disparate pieces, and doing our best to enjoy every moment. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! When I first read the quote in Facebook, I said to myself – no way Keanu Reeves has said that! He is an actor, he has such a life! He wouldn’t be that shallow to reduce all the life’s experiences to eating and drinking. Then I read the comments to that Facebook post and was surprised to find out that actually every commenter agreed with the statement. Unbelievable. There is so much to do in this life to live it to the fullest.

  23. Chocolate makes it all worth while. A great piece. It is true you can find pleasure is small things and Terrific pictures in the worst situations.

  24. Inese, you’re far too humble!
    As for living life to the fullest, I think it comes down to savouring the little moments and recognising that we only have one chance at life and that it may be a hulluva lot shorter than ‘the average.’

    1. Oh, you are so right. I know many people who died before the average age.
      People have different circumstances, and not everyone can live a life of a movie star 🙂 Sometimes the most humble life can be the most strikingly full of events, adventure and purpose.

      1. I don’t think you quite got my point that ‘YOU ARE TOO HUMBLE’ about your wonderful self!!

        I’m not sure all that many people would like to live the life of a movie star. I certainly wouldn’t!

        1. No, I got it, but I think you are too good 🙂
          My reply is just a separate thought, nothing to do with the ‘humble’ from your comment 🙂 It was about the ‘small things’ part of your comment. Some people think that the life is not full if nothing big happen, but we can give a big meaning to a small thing 🙂

  25. Indeed, life is also full of uncertainty. I wish we could know more about it. I think living life moderately might be a good balance. There are many things in life that you cannot know for certain or can prevent even when you do the best you can to avoid any bad things. Certain thing we know if we do, there is going to be a good chance that certain thing will happen. Of course there also chance that it might not happen.

    You have lovely pictures here. I love the picture of the small creek under the bridge especially.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! Your words are wise. You know, living the life moderately might be the most fulfilling. Moderately doesn’t necessarily mean halfheartedly. Doing our best is the most important, and living in balance is a good example of ‘doing our best’ 🙂

  26. A powerful piece. There’s no accounting for fate or chocolate…I mean choices. Actually, I’m not sure what I mean because it’s late and I’m tired!. Carpe Diem, I say, and eat lots of garlic.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂 I love chocolate, and food in general, but it saddens me that for so many people living life to the fullest means perpetual partying and eating without measure. Is that all? Really?
      Sleep tight 😉

  27. I’ve been on both sides of the fence
    I’ve lived my life to the fullest
    I say all that I’ve experienced
    Has taught me life’s pleasure and it’s sorrows
    I would do it all again
    Only grandeur
    Great post Inese

  28. To eat an orange, fully….to sing a song, fully….to savor the wine, fully….to love a friend, fully…..if only we could always do everything, body and spirit, in the moment, to the fullest.
    Those photos are wonderful…..I can’t get that fish out of my mind! 🙂

    1. Thank you Cynthia! I was waiting for the opportunity to share the fish 🙂
      I agree with you. Halfhearted manner of doing things is not my favorite.

  29. Inese, I loved your reflections and photos.

    “But what if life gives you garlic?”
    ~ Great question. So much better than the overused lemon 🙂 Life throws all kinds of good and bad experiences at us. Like you said, we have “to embrace all the aspects and do your best to enjoy it.”

  30. This all depends on how you define life to the fullest. Here is another quote: “What good will it be for a man if gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”
    Great post and pictures.

    1. Absolutely agree. We cannot overlook any aspect of our life. It is exactly what I want to say 🙂 Eating and drinking is not enough to fill up the everlasting life 🙂

  31. This is a wonderful post. Words of wisdom are always welcome, especially when there are great pics to go with them.. LOL When you said “what if life gives you garlic?” I immediately thought… you make garlic-ade!

    1. Thank you Resa! It is exactly what I always say – there is no single recipe for all. We have to think by ourselves, and your garlic-ade is a great solution. Punk intended 😉

    2. Sorry for the typo, Resa! I just scrolled down the comments and found two typos! I wonder if I can edit the comments? Hate the autocorrect! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Teagan!
      My friends story is too bad to discuss in comments… The only good thing is that Bob can walk and take care of himself, and lets hope his mind comes back.
      I have read your new post. Getting ready for the party 😉
      Many hugs!!!

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