Living The Good Life
“Life might not be all it’s cracked up to be, but it sure beats the alternative”. People say that, like it’s some kind of consolation. But the truth is life naturally comes with a host of lows. They are part of the package, and though we might wish it were otherwise, there is no tick in the box option to avoid struggles and disappointments. Doing life well means handling what you’ve got.
That’s pretty disappointing for some who would rather chase Nirvana with the hope that they can get Heaven on Earth by finding the “perfect” way. But nobody’s life unfolds like that. We need to make the best of what we’ve got and turn the raw material of our days into something worthwhile; something lovely enough that it brings a blessing to others.
“Life’s a b–ch and then you die”, according to some. If they believe it, guess what? Unwittingly, they make their dystopian dream come true. We each are free to decide how we interpret what we encounter. We can do it with blaming and hatred (for surely there is so much to condemn). Or, we can deicide to rise above our hurts and hardships.
That might sound extremely naïve, but I tend to believe it’s a practical decision. Life is hard, unfair, and painfully cruel at times. But that doesn’t mean we need to perpetuate the same. What if, in seeing hostility, we remind ourselves why peace is so precious? When we encounter the sting of indifference, what if we decide to make our life a reflection of care?
Like an unwashed fleece still filled with burrs and dirt, life requires refining. If you want to make something beautiful it’s going to take not only plenty of effort but a vision you can believe in.
The solution to so much sorrow is not stock phrases, consolations, or whining, but a deliberate civilizing to weave something worthwhile from all the messes we’ve been in.
When added pressures come and fears creep in, it’s easy to fall into thinking we haven’t any power at all. But that’s not how we’ve been made. Living well means developing methods to deal with day-to-day pressures and still distill the essential essence of gratitude and joy. It doesn’t always work but it does enough to make life a lot more pleasurable than our problems might imply.
Is this the only way to live? No, but it’s one way that lets us do more than merely survive when life gets especially harsh.
Putting your own mark on life means consciously choosing how we respond to our problems. That’s what a good life requires, as opposed to carping and complaining about everything that’s wrong and feeling incapable of doing anything worthwhile. You being here is all the qualification you need to convert hostility into kindness, and self-centeredness into giving. The way I see it, they’re part of the reason we are here and why you don’t need to live problem free to live the good life.
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