What is your idea of a life well-lived?
I am sure that it is not the same as mine.
Although there will be areas where our interests, goals or even dreams overlap, or believe it or not are the same. Yet, even with the dramatic polarization in today’s world, the differences between us are not usually as great as some would have us believe.
What we think of as important in our lives depends on many factors. I have listed a few below:
- How old you are and gender
- Who our parents are/were
- Where you grew up
- How many years of schooling you have
- What race you are
- The religion you practice or not
- What you do to earn money
You can add whatever ones you are thinking of into this list as well, there are many, many more.
Based on where we are on our life’s journey, listening or reading about stories from other people’s lives (including mine) doesn’t affect everyone the same. Comparing our lives to those in the news, on television or other venues is doing ourselves a disservice and adds unnecessary stress into our lives.
We can only live the lives that we have and no amount of fantasizing will make it real. There is a huge difference between fantasizing and doing the work needed to make a dream — reality.
My Well-Lived Life
When I share my stories or what others do, I attempt to inspire you with strategies used to get through the tough times (which we all go through), to learn more or enjoy and remember the good times.
My often naive and optimistic view of a life well-lived includes:
- Doing the right things for the right reasons
- A simpler life that includes loved ones, family, and friends
- Letting go of the stuff that is beyond my ability to control
- Where being healthy is a priority both physically and mentally
- Doesn’t have the drama that dominates so many lives
- It is okay to have and use my imagination
- Help others when I can
- Be surrounded by nature
- One where I don’t live by someone else’s schedule
- Have time to be bored (which is lacking in most people’s lives)
- Not being an asshole too often — we all manage this without trying sometimes, I just want to be one less often without meaning to be one. Sometimes it is necessary.
In other words the pretty much the life that I am now living.
However, I know for more than a few of you reading this, my current life would be a horrible one for you. It lacks excitement, travel, going to shows, entertaining, shopping till you drop, or a multitude of other activities that many consider to be important parts of their lives. I am not here to tell you how to live your life, but simply share some of what is going on in mine.
If I am happy with my life as it is, is there still room for improvement?
Even at 63, I am far from perfect and have things that I want to be able to do better, feel better about and hell maybe even lose that last 10 pounds that I have been yakking about for the last 5 years, so I can run a little better.
It is when we stop looking for ways to improve our lives that something is really wrong with our lives — at least that has been my experience. Then we need to take a close look at what we are doing and where we seem to be going. If we dislike what we see then changes need to be made to get back to a life well-lived.
That will be the primary part of the story that I will be telling of Harold being Harold, the stuff I do to keep improving my life and along the way the people I meet and the even the stuff that doesn’t work for me, but might work for you.
What have I learned?
The secret to a well-lived life is:
there is no secret.
While I write a lot about what is a well-lived life for me, it is not the same as everyone else’s idea of what one will look like. However, I am not and do not want anyone to think I am telling others how to live. What you do with your life is your business. I am giving you a glimpse of how I live mine and sharing ideas that someone might find useful in their life.
The only one that can say if their life is/was well lived is the person in the mirror. Only you can make the choices to make it a well-lived one. If you continually play the “I need to find my life game”, you will be searching for a long time and may never find the life that will allow you to have a life well-lived or even one that you will enjoy.
Have you looked at your life lately, what did you see?
Life isn’t about finding yourself — Life is about creating yourself — George Bernard Shaw