Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Quality of Life is in the Quality of Living

"Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth."
                                                                     —Mark Twain

Sometimes, if you are like me, it takes a simple thought, simply expressed to cut through the sheer speed of living.  With so many things to do, and so much information, and so much to buy and operate and watch and read and listen to, it can be pretty easy to be swept up in doing things, owning things and being active.  What's wrong with that?  Well, nothing in and of itself.  We must own some things to live, must we not?  We must do some things, and take action.  Still, it is all too easy anymore to find ones' life reduced to an endless high-speed string of activities, consumption and belongings.  We pursue the 'good life' in the form of these things, and at least some of the time we come unmoored to the simplest truths in life.  In having so much, and doing so much, and taking care of the many obligations that come from doing and having so much, we can easily begin to equate these things (consciously or otherwise) with happiness and success in life. 

When I see a sentence or two like this quote from Mark Twain, I am reminded that it is not the volume of belongings, or activities, or information that brings me satisfaction.  The happiest and most satisfying moments in my life revolve around people - family, friends.  They revolve around time - time to interact with them, share and make memories with them.  They depend on good health to enjoy, and and opportunity to be together. Often enough, the pace of life actually weakens the experience of family and friends - draws off some of the depth from the interaction.  We can become distracted and miss the moments that afford us so much of the satisfaction we find in life.  When we are distracted, self conscious, only partially engaged, though we are able to be together, we are not quite together. 

When we have the chance - time, health, companions - to really live, it is good advice indeed to value it.  And more, to be uninhibited about taking advantage of the moment and living it.  No matter how much we have, or how much we do, the quality of our lives derives far more from how we live our moments than where we live them, or what we own.  

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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