What is the really real stuff in life? Is it family and free leisure time? Is it the contribution you make to mankind? Is it the daily grind of being a productive citizen at work, contributing to the economy and enlightenment of the world? Is it self-actualization? Setting world records, or ‘personal best’ records? Is it achieving religious salvation and an eventual trip to the great reward of heaven? So, what is it?
I am very glad that all of these are possibilities, since no two humans are exactly alike. What floats my boat may sink yours, so it is rather nifty that I can choose one path to fulfillment and you can quite happily choose another. I think that the world is big enough to accommodate us both, and to be appreciative of the efforts of both of us to make things better. It is a parallel experience to choosing a life partner and getting married. There is a perfect experience out there for you, you just have to locate it, and accommodate yourself to its peculiar eccentricities. Exactly like finding your soul mate. Nobody’s perfect. Neither is any job – there will always be little things that annoy you. You have some options here: adapt, accept and move on, or freak out and blow a good thing over one or two minor annoyances, or whine and moan about it constantly and ruin the entire thing for everybody. I vote for door number one, especially since I am no piece of cake, myself!
So, it is my considered and thoughtful opinion that as long as you are contributing to the greater good by improving yourself and your corner of the world, you are an acceptable excuse for a human being. That leaves out at least half of us who are walking around on this mudball, who don’t give a rat’s butt about making themselves any better, and who could not possibly care less about making things better for anyone else but themselves. Don’t think that counts in the “improving the world category,” actually.
Plus, I sincerely doubt that ‘improving yourself’ has much to do with spiffing up the exterior package. While it was vastly entertaining watching Michael Jackson’s personal transformation(s), it was not particularly enlightening or ennobling. Plastic surgery is not really improving yourself, to anyone BUT yourself, and I think that falls into the ‘self-interest’ category, which also does not count. Even if it does make you feel better. And making yourself feel better about yourself is not an awful thing, it is just not particularly impressive as a personal accomplishment for most people! Losing weight, however, does count, even though it also makes you feel better about yourself. Losing weight takes daily commitment to a goal, and self-discipline: enormous self-discipline. I know that for a fact. And the process of getting healthy IS an ennobling process, because it is so darn much WORK. Not like liposuction, which is just money and recovery time. Not the same personal growth potential AT ALL in that process.
I think all humans have an obligation, an internal requirement, to make something of themselves and to make a contribution. We succeed or fail at that in varying degrees. Some of us devote our lives to that goal, and some achieve it as a by-product of other interests and pursuits. Some never get there, and that is sad. THEY are sad. It is an old cliché that people on their deathbeds don’t regret what they did (mostly), they instead regret what they did not do.
I suppose that is the call to action here – what sorts of things would you regret not doing? Does that mean it is time to plan and schedule some of those things into your current life? Hey – that’s why it is called a bucket list – those are the things you’d like to do or make of yourself, before it is your time to kick the bucket and depart this mortal coil. What’s on your personal list? What are you gonna do about that list?? It is never too late to begin, and today is a new day that is just perfect for a new start! Go get ’em!