Thursday, September 06, 2007

Life is Good

Sometimes I feel a little guilty. Not to the extent that I would allow it to ruin my day or even part of it, but I still face skepticism and that in turn fuels a little bit of guilt. I have this extremely positive outlook on life. It is a new outlook - a new perspective - and I would contend that I came by it the hard way, but it can be summed up in one word - positive. Some people either don’t believe it is real - for some reason I am making it up, or that I am somehow deluded - I only think that I am happy… or perhaps they are, to some degree, envious. I don’t know, but one of the many reasons I write about it is to share that it is possible - there is hope.

It seems that human nature drives us toward the negative. Indeed, Rush Limbaugh, of all people, makes a good point (he actually has made several if one can wade through the conservative rhetoric). There are no books on the market that give instruction on how to be miserable. Why? Because we already know how to do that. There are, however, literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of self-help books, guides to meditation and enlightenment, holistic paths to wellness and other well-meaning guides to inner peace. I have read a few and they all have some virtue.

But there were no magic words. There is no quick fix - and those who knew me not too long ago know that I was into finding the shortest path from A to C… just as long as it didn’t pass through B. The problem with instant gratification is that it only lasts for an instant. Then it’s back to reality and seeking that utopian sense of peace and harmony through some kind of osmosis. It has taken me many painful years to realize that there are many ways to get “there,” and that the path we take is what it’s all about… it’s always and forever the same “there.”

Someone once told me I can’t think my way into right living, I must live my way into right thinking. In other words, I can know as much as humanly possible, but until I put what I know into action, nothing changes. And if nothing changes, then nothing changes. Time takes time, and it comes in these convenient little 24-hour chunks. The progress I have experienced over the past five years of my life is unprecedented, yet not once was there a moment where I thought, “I’ll sure be glad when I get to…” I have been trying very hard to stay in the moment and now as I look back, I can see the progress - but that is not the reward.

The prize is realized every day. The peace I experience even through adversity is all I ever wanted. I just wanted to be happy - that’s all. I thought that would come when I got certain “things” in my life, yet I acquired a great many of those things and my inner peace was still just as random as a pinball. I thought it might be achieved through status, but again that was only window dressing and my happiness proved to be fleeting. It was not until I finally found acceptance and came to grips with living life as it comes that I was able to gain a new perspective on life.

It has not gone unnoticed by those close to me. Happiness begets happiness and I attract into my life those who are happy or are struggling to be happy. Recently my father sent me a T-shirt that he picked up while shopping at REI. He wasn’t shopping for me, but he ran across this T-shirt that he felt epitomized what my life resembles today. It is probably safe to say that it is an unarticulated value he had tried to instill in me years before. For a variety of reasons that are no longer important, it took me 40 years to get it. I had not heard of this particular line of clothing - this business - prior, but I recently looked it up. It is a story that sings to me.

The founders have a strikingly similar attitude towards life as I do. They have this positive spin on life that is apparently infectious. Their business has grown into an $80 million company with virtually no advertising. Perhaps the founders, Bert and John Jacobs are lying. Maybe they are somehow deluded. Perhaps other not-so-successful companies are envious. But for them and me and many others who strive for it, three little words, the name of their company, says it all:

Life is Good.

19 comments:

Moogie said...

I agree. Life is so very, very good. And don't you think that we bring about our OWN happiness, and contentment. We work hard on our goals, and we strive to do the best that we can. When we move ahead in life, we can choose to leave the negatives behind. I'm not particularly proud of my past, but it's part of who I am. What I am proud of is who I am today, and what I want to become. THIS is what I can pass along to my children. Good stuff Mike. You keep writing and I keep coming back to read. I really don't think this comment made a lot of sense, but I hope I didn't sound too foolish.

Michele sent me but I always visit anyway.

Carmi said...

The more words of yours that I read, Mike, the more I realize how very much like you I hope to be when I finally grow up.

We must have been related in a past life or something. Seriously.

Good to see you again, my friend.

Michele says tag, you're it.

Theo said...

nicely said. some good 'program' in this. :)

i have more of those t-shirts than i will admit in public. they are a good word, for sure!

BreadBox said...

Life is good. Sometimes it can be hard to see it, sometimes it is easy. But always, I think, it is better than the alternatives.

Michele sent me, it being a wm&g, of course,
N.

kenju said...

I agree too, Mike. Life is good. I am going through a small blip on the radar right now, but it too, shall pass eventually.

".....I must live my way into right thinking"

I LIKE THAT!!

flleenie said...

I agree!

Right now, my work is not the best economically, but life is good.

BTW, loved this post & I concur!

Reflekshins said...

bravo my man

couldn't have said it better myself.

peace

MissMeliss said...

Oh, life IS good, we just have to choose to see it that way.

I've never needed a book on being happy...I would like a book on being confident, but most are so cheesy I fling them down in frustration.

-E said...

I wandered over from Michele's and I'm glad I did. Even when I'm really down I hold on to some optimism. But it is always good to be reminded that there's hope and that life is good.

Have a great weekend.

Melody said...

Yay Mr. Althouse! What a great post. Yes, Life is Good. It is. Sometimes I have to take a step back and think that to myself. Yep -life certainly is good. How glad I am to be happy, breathe fresh air, enjoy the good things in life and share my life with some wonderful people.

I'm here via Michele today... Oh ain't life grand? (I live by the motto, Sunshine makes me Happy!)

gautami tripathy said...

Life is indeed good. We with our pessimistic attitude make it look bad. We tend to focus on the negative aspects ignoring the positive ones.

Glad MIchele sent me here today to think more about that.

Karen said...

Great philosophy and I'll bet that people love being around you! I wish there were more people like you in this world!

Michele sent me today and I'm very glad. I hope you have a great day!!

Becky68 said...

Michele sent me to see what you've been writing- I have to say- in my case you're preaching to the choir. I hold nearly the same life outlook as you- I'm comforted by the fact that you state it took you nearly 40 years to come by it because it's been only about 6 years (I'm 38) since I've become more positive.
You're right though- people do think I'm either faking or foolish in a lot of cases!

texasblu said...

Hi Michele sent me.

Funny, I have been reading quite a lot about this of late. I find your practical application of lofty ideas refreshing. Thank you for posting this. :)

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

'But there were no magic words. There is no quick fix - and those who knew me not too long ago know that I was into finding the shortest path from A to C… just as long as it didn’t pass through B. The problem with instant gratification is that it only lasts for an instant. Then it’s back to reality and seeking that utopian sense of peace and harmony through some kind of osmosis. It has taken me many painful years to realize that there are many ways to get “there,” and that the path we take is what it’s all about… it’s always and forever the same “there.”'

mike this is some of the finest writing i have come across for a while.

someone once told me that we are not as near to each other as we would like to imagine, but that words create the bridges between us. Without them we would be lost islands.

i like that because it means that affection, recognition and understanding (empathy) travel across these fragile bridges and enable us to discover each other and awaken friendship....i guess what i'm trying to say is that your writing does that

KT Did said...

Damn! Life IS GOOD!
Everyone goes through some kind of crud in their lives... but knowing we are alive and LIVING makes me want to drink life up and LIVE it.
Loved the post Mike!

Belizegial said...

Hi Mike,

With all that's been happening over here in the tropics (2 hurricanes and a mid-week flooding), I am thankful to be back in the blogosphere today and catching up with everyone.

Good luck with the final leg of your undergraduate degree journey. In a few short months, you will have successfully gained your undergrad degree.

Life is indeed Good,
Enid in Belize City

K said...

It's funny how the rollercoaster of life works. I'm usually positive, but have been a little negative/lonely lately. It's just about focusing on the good things, and as you said, it's human nature to not. I'd like to think that it is because we constantly want to improve ourselves, but I think in reality it's that we want to complain. Haha. It's been a while! I hope all is well! :)

Awareness said...

Hey there Mike. This is such an upbeat post.....have read it a few times and always end it with a smile because yours blends in with your words.

Looking forward, forgiving ourselves, choosing to live and breath optimism....understanding all the parts of who we are.

Great messages here, as always.

Enjoy your busy week. Thinking of you.