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Can't Life Be Better Than It Is?

April 22nd, 2012 8:57 AM by Lehel S.

Can't Life Be Better Than It Is?

 

In High School, I read Henry Thoreau's book, "Walden," for

the first time and even then I was haunted by his complaint

that "Most men live lives of quiet desperation." While he's

famous for that quote, most people don't know the chapter it

comes from.

 

He has a long essay on the pain he sees in most people's

lives. He isn't talking about the illness or trauma or

disasters that can strike any of us, but the fact that so

many good people, doing the best they can, are stuck in a

sort of limbo where they aren't terribly miserable, but they

aren't very happy, either. He talks about people working all

month to pay the bills, with nothing to show for it. He

talks about people doing work that doesn't suit them, or

with lifestyles that are bereft of beauty, humor, art or

joy.

 

He talks about people "settling" for less than life could be.

 

He talks about people who are bored, always looking for some

temporary pleasure to distract or humor them. He talks about

people who are so busy with the ordinary tasks of life that

they have no time or energy or passion to explore the

unlimited potential of being fully human and fully alive.

And he says this is a kind of "desperation."

 

This week, our culture's fascination with the Casey Anthony

trial made me think about these things again. Too often, we

fall prey to the media's desire to dazzle us with the

bizarre that we forget to make the most of our own lives,

here and now.

 

It is true, of course, that we are all fascinated by the

unusual and the extraordinary. Of course we are! There's no

shame or problem with that, so long as it is only a brief

distraction from our primary focus of living a great life.

 

We live in a time when anything that happens, anywhere on

earth, comes into our homes and shows up on our smart phones

instantly. In many ways, and used appropriately, our access

to instant communication is a wonderful thing! No one can

deny that.

 

But for some of us, the daily news plus our daily routine

have become a substitute for expressing the highest and

best that is in us. We focus on the government deficit, or

the threat of war, or the Casey Anthony trial, along with

our daily work, and these things become a substitute for

truly living the best life we can, according to our highest

ideals.

 

Don't let that happen to you!

 

Every single day, we are faced with the choice of how we

will live. We can worry about the news, or we can build the

life we want. We can expend enormous energy on big, exciting

problems "out there" (about which we can individually do

little) or we can address the challenges of living the life

we choose. It's up to each of us how we use our time and

talents, every day.

 

In the days of summer, we can build sand castles (and

memories) with our children, or we can focus on a tragedy in

Florida. We can read the best books ever written, or we can

watch more television. We can build our businesses and

develop our skills, or we can fret about the economy. We can

move and dance and make our own music, or we download more

iTunes.

 

Throughout history, most people have been hard pressed to do

more than survive, but that is not us! We have the best

education and resources any generation has ever had. We can

enjoy fine wine for a few dollars a glass. We can enjoy

great music, or great conversation, or listen to the

smartest people on earth any time we wish, often in person

and anytime via recordings. The world is our oyster! And

yet, too often, we let it pass us by.

 

This week, determine that you will live your own life, in

your own way, to the very best of your ability. Be as

eccentric and unique and joyful as you truly are! Do even

one new thing or one thing differently. Spend one hour

exploring the highest and best that is in you. I think

you'll like the results.
 

Published by:

The Philip E. Humbert Group, Inc

Posted in:General
Posted by Lehel S. on April 22nd, 2012 8:57 AM

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