This last week for at least the 439th time in my life, I have taken stock, rearranged priorities and set new goals. The occasion? I turned 76. Not a day for panic or euphoria but introspection. I have always found it good for the soul.
In doing so, I have to look at my world around me. It would be foolhardy to consider it anything other than pretty nice. I need to lose a few pounds but that is inherent in any of my refits. I want to shave a few shots off my handicap. I want to get more involved in outside projects. I want to try to be a better husband, father and friend. But why?
Aha! We now talk about a thing called progress. Defined as: a forward or onward movement toward destination or goal. If you get there, it is a sense of achievement. If you fail, you are miserable. Why take the chance ? Why not just chill? Interesting stuff.
Personally I would be lost without something to shoot for. If I just sit around and read at least I hope I am learning something. If I lay down, my crazy mind is still processing dozens of thoughts looking for my next insight into this or that. Can I go comatose in front of the TV? Of course, but that is just a passing fancy. I really like being on the move and dying to get absorbed into something.
Now I do believe in living in the moment. I can’t take back what happened 30 seconds ago. I have no idea what the hell tomorrow will bring but at least I have the expectation that there will be something new to learn or enjoy. And that is what keeps me motivated.
Here in Fla La Land there are some who think I am nuts. Of course several of you will quickly rejoinder that is not only the Sunshine State. But many just want to exist. Their life by their standards is perfect. Don’t know what tomorrow will bring and I don’t really care. If it is you, I would probably stop reading right now.
I can understand this happening to the mega rich. When you have a billion why do you need another one? Why do you need one more house, hot car or toy? I guess because it says you can. The hunt, the fight and the thrill of victory are intoxicating. Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett et al have found other uses for their energy and the world is a better place. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk? The jury is still out.
Our country is torn by inequality. Wealth, race, gender etc. But compared to what? In charting our progress we seem to rely on the metrics of wealth or fame. Who wouldn’t with a non stop barrage of ads saying you have to be this thin, this successful, this white or black to make the grade. It’s natural but does that make it normal?
Progress needs to be achievable but challenging. I go to the gym and someone says, I wish I could do that. Boy, Ted I wish I had your energy or your ability to write. Ted, you seem to have so much fun, how do you do that? I think you all know that I don’t have anything special. It is right there inside each one of us. Make your goals your own, not someone else’s.
Probably a goal we all share is to be happy, which of course begs the question what is that?
I have searched for that definition for a long time. Contentment? That’s not bad but it still leaves me a little restless. I think I just want to matter. I want to feel I can contribute and in some small way be recognized for that. At some point in time maybe someone would say I am nice guy. I am not holding my breath on that just yet.
When am I happiest? When I am making someone else feel good. Somehow, some way I made their life a little better. It could be at the gym or a gas station. A smile, a handshake (whoops I violated COVID protocol) and maybe even a hug. It doesn’t take much.
I was able to finally return to hospice volunteering after being shut out for one whole year. I know this sounds weird but I couldn’t wait to walk through those doors. The nurses and staff are some of my best friends. In an instant I met a large family whose patriarch was dying. We clicked and became close in a matter of minutes. There was an openness and honesty that was palpable. There wasn’t time to be wary and calculating. Maybe it’s life as it should be?
I felt I was moving forward. I was so much luckier than before I walked in there. I was a fuller person if that makes any sense. I think I figured it out. Forget about my weight or my golf game or glass of fine wine. Look at yourself as the benchmark,TTG. Tell your friends. Maybe a snippet here or there will help them. Not a bad goal to have. Progress? You bet!
Ted The Great
Reimagining happiness is almost hard-wired into Americans’ DNA, said Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside. “Human beings are remarkably resilient. There’s lots and lots of evidence that we adapt to everything. We move forward,” Here’s hoping!
When people are down they are less giving. When they give a lot they are more up. Go figure!
Less than 14% of the people in the United States say they are happy. That is down from 31% in 2018. Only 31% before all this mess?
7 Steps to Make Progress Towards Life Goals
- Determine Why You Want to Move Forward in Life. …
- Be Okay with Where and Who You Currently are in Life. …
- Strive Within Your Circle of Influence. …
- Stay Reflective During the Process. …
- Accept the Possible Setbacks. …
- Celebrate Your Successes. …
- Take Time to Enjoy the Amazing Result of Your Journey
Sounds like a plan.