The Good Life…


Good-LifeThere’s something out there that all humans are after. It’s something often talked about but rarely found. It’s the inner heart desire of every person that draws breath. It’s a goal, an experience, a journey and a destination. It is the pursuit of all pursuits, the good life!

If you’ve lived any amount of time, you know there are as many theories on the way to get there as there are people. One man’s good life is a nightmare for another. One woman’s unacceptable is another’s acceptable, and even more, a victory. For some it’s money. For others it’s family. For some it’s solitude and quiet space. For others it’s opportunities for learning. Truth is, you have the privilege to decide your good life yourself. But, there is one consistent thing that underlies all variations of the good life. It is  the most glorious and delicate balance in life. It’s called self-control…

If you’re like me, you tend to bristle up when that “control” word shows up. Nobody likes to be controlled. And, sometimes it’s tough to control yourself, especially when that controls involves the things you love. But, and you cannot find a larger but, self-control is truly the essence of life; the good life. Here’s the paradox, the more control you exercise, the more free you become. Now, before you get besieged with sadness, self control doesn’t mean refusing happiness or good feelings or good things.  Self control is more about enjoying your happiness and producing good feelings and maintaining your good things.

Have you ever had the experience of finally deciding to control some aspect of your life? If you were successful, i.e. lost the weight, stopped a behavior, brought some ‘out of control’ aspect under control, how did you feel when the job was done? Conversely, those areas that are out of control; those aspects of you that drive “you” nuts, the things you do over and over and over again and despise yourself when you do them, how do they leave you? You see, your feelings, though not 100% reliable, are trying to tell you something. They’re telling you that you need to get a grip on you! And, sadly, you know it’s true.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Fun is always fun, but there is a ‘too much’ fun. Wine, the great mood enhancer, has an end point where it changes from a sparkle to a sedative. Tasty food is delightful but the Thanksgiving gorge is over the top. Discomfort is the tell-tale indicator. Bad feelings are the barometer. If you really think it through, there should be no down side to a good thing. But the downside sometimes applies not to the thing itself but the quantity of the thing.

In every realm of life, there’s an expectation of control. Control keeps you healthy. Control protects your finances. Control enhances your experiences. Control makes your highs higher and mitigates your lows. Your life depends upon your willingness to control it. I would surmise that whenever you observe someone who seems to be living the good life, behind that life is some element of control; decisions you maybe never see.

Life is always about staying in balance. Work is good unless you work too much or too little. If you work too much, you allow it to compensate for other areas it was never designed to cover. It becomes a consuming force and begs for remedy. If you work too little, the penalty is found in dissatisfaction and angst. Even a day at work where your focus is not on work but quitting time, makes for the longest day ever. If you’ve ever lost your job, you know that time off is not really time off when your responsibilities aren’t handled. But, how sweet is your vacation when the work preceded it?

Life requires both the things you have to do and the things you get to do. If all you have is things you have to do, you’ll live your life in misery. Likewise, if all you do is things you get to do, you’ll soon be found wanting. A lawn must be mowed before you can enjoy the patio. The bed must be made to make the night’s sleep that much nicer. Food is eaten on clean dishes. Work comes before play and play is made possible by work. The weekend comes at the end of the work week, not before it. The balance is the beauty of it all.

I think you may discover one day that the good life you were after was right there for you all along. But instead of being found in fame and riches, it is found in a thousand little choices; choices you make in defense of yourself. Choices that don’t always feel good, but always feel good if you know what I mean. The ability to sometimes say no, to yourself… The sublime, inherent ability to finally take command of yourself; your elusive self! That, my friends is the sure steadfast definition of the good life – getting and then staying in control of yourself…

You don’t know where to start, you say? Begin the next time you start to do something you really wish you wouldn’t do. Listen to the gentle urging inside you when there’s a decision to be made. Pay attention to that thought back there telling you something you have been trying to ignore. You already know where the control needs to be, you just need to make up your mind to do it. And when you do, notice how that feels and see if you cannot get a glimpse of the good life yourself…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

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