… satisfaction not based on who you are or have done – but on where you’re headed next
Saturday May 10, 2014
“I am easily satisfied with the very best.” - Winston Churchill
Who could disagree?
Now, take the first portion, “I am easily satisfied …
Which rings truest:
Our struggles are punctuated by moments of joy, glory, success and prosperity.
Or, our joy, glory, success and prosperity are punctuated by struggles.
There is magic in this life.
We all seek, to find our version of joy.
If we are 80 or 90 when we find it, I suppose we could coast, live out life with smiles emblazoned on our dodgy old carcasses.
But, discovery of magic earlier?
Sipping secret sauce at younger ages must come with responsibility to share, spread it around, don’t you think?
If we give it away, share our tricks and inside-scoop, do we lose or gain?
Do we have less or more – and does it matter?
What stimulates our daring-do, what gives us courage to try experiments untried, leap from un-leapt cliffs– when fears of failures no longer keep us tethered?
Large parts of our lives may have been wasted. I don’t mean sleeping, vacations, family fun, learning or working hard. I mean following paths that, in hindsight, appear to have been long wasteful wanderings, misguided side-trips of careers, lifestyles, relationships and choices sadly in need of a make-over or a do-over.
But we didn’t do-over, did we? We did next. We did different. Sometimes we repeated things we weren’t quite done with yet, but in each shift or change we took some lessons with us, used them to advantage (or not) in our next escapades. We didn’t succeed immediately, or at all. We failed. We failed better. We failed forward. We went from puddle to puddle, pain to pain, person to person, battle to battle without looking back so much as we looked forward to something.
We use language like looking forward to better times, to retirement, to enjoying fruits of our labour. That’s interesting, but in my experience the behaviour is more like staying one step ahead of trouble, two steps ahead of some bill falling due, or averting some apparently imminent catastrophe.
What now, intrepid traveler, you’ve reached this nirvana moment – what’s next?
James Joyce, quintessential self-destructive self-mirror said, “A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.”
After you’ve given birth to, raised, nurtured and launched children – after you’ve schooled and retooled your skills to reach the pique-point of your talents, after you became who you worked all your life to become, what now?
Vegetation? Feet up? Retiring? Expiring?
Or doing, creating, starting, starting again, starting new – advancing ideas, projects and spurring others to do bigger, better, newer – to find if we can be satisfied, stimulated and empowered by less-than-best results, provided we are doing our best.
We may never be satisfied like Churchill. Just remember, he’s dead, and we aren’t. He can’t do anything more with his life, can’t taste anything new or do anything differently. We, each of us, can.
Warnings notice: you’ve not yet reached your best-before date. And, when you do, don’t despair – that doesn’t mean you are spoiled, or rotten – but that you aren’t as fresh as you used to be, not ready for the trash heap, but in need of heat/cooking real soon.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: 2C/35F, light cloud, everything damp from last night’s rain – so Gusta needed to drag her belly in the dew – ghostly quiet, so serene – a perfect morning for opening windows wide, playing some Pavarotti and turning the volume up very high!