I didn’t become a contented 67-year-old in good health and great spirits by accident. No, my journey to this destination started a number of years ago when I finally had the courage to really embrace my personal wisdom. Armed with my newly accepted mature focus, I slowly began to organize and then re-organize my priorities. And guess what! Almost magically, the work of my creation was well on its way. And, though a work-in-progress, it was no longer work. 🙂
I know this seems like a contradiction in terms, but it really just boiled down to me knowing my own simple truths and giving them the place they deserved. This meant rejecting the truths I had been fooled into accepting, and adopting a personal compass calibrated for me. Only then did I allow myself the freedom to buck the system and do my own thing — the thing that worked for me. Only then did I really begin to enjoy life on my terms.
With a fair bit of reflection I have come to the conclusion that, rather than adopting a long list of rules, I can probably sum up my simple truths in three relatively simple statements:
- I make learning my life-long quest.
- I never let others do my thinking for me.
- To the very best of my abilities, I am kind and honest with myself and others.
I Make Learning My Life-long Quest
I’ve learned to consume less. I have especially decided to eschew the products that are marketed to make me feel that I need them to live a full, healthy, happy life. As in fashion marketing, the goal of these ads is to get my money and loyalty by convincing me that I cannot achieve my personal goals without them. And fashion in all products is a moving target — just when you think you’ve figured it out and filled your closet/cupboards with “the latest” trend, it has moved on.
I’ve concluded that I shouldn’t buy/use/accept toothpaste, shampoo, hair dye, fancy skin creams, sun-block, vitamin-supplements, soy products, vegetable oils, whole grains, wheat, fancy yogurts, fruit juice, mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.
I’ve learned that I should buy and use organic, local and natural products, including eggs, fatty meats and fish, fatty yogurt, fatty ice cream, high-fat cream and cheeses, vitamin D 3, nutritious fermented products, good quality olive oil, coconut oil, home-made soup stock, etc.
I’ve learned that I can learn and cross-reference almost anything on the web, and feel confident enough to draw the right conclusions. I’ve learned that Ted Talks are a fabulous source of information.
I’ve learned that we can learn, not just by interacting with others, but also by being a fly on the wall: what do people do and not do, and how do their choices work for them. I’ve learned that it can be destructive to spend too much time with negative people, whining people, gossipy people, and boastful people. I’ve learned to avoid their unhealthy impact by avoiding them.
As an ex-runner/marathoner/athlete, I agree this is a strange one for me, but I’ve also learned that I don’t need to run, or join a gym, or work out three times a week to be fit and slim. Walking or biking or snowshoeing in an outdoor, pleasant environment with my camera does the trick quite nicely. And it’s free. The bonus is my photos.
I use them to make greeting cards, some of which I post here:
You can see my growing collection in my store here:
I Never Let Others Do My Thinking For Me.
Yes, I have an open mind so that I can learn. But that doesn’t mean that I believe everything I hear and read. When I hear something controversial, I usually start out politely skeptical, but I do listen to be sure I understand what the person is saying. Then I think about it critically, and I consider the source and take the time to reflect. I need to be sure I’m not making rash judgements or decisions, and that I’m not being hoodwinked by masterful persuasion. And then I follow it up with research, further analysis and questioning.
My judgement of another’s opinions is informed, and not influenced by her physique or dress or accent or ethnicity.
I resist the temptation of fake group loyalty, and refuse to renounce critical thinking because I’m too lazy, or find it easier to go with the flow. I find it’s better to postpone taking my position until I can welcome it confidently. I try to always keep a reflective, mature perspective to avoid rash commitment or rejection. I must admit that this is rather easy because impulsiveness is not in my nature.
To The Very Best Of My Abilities, I Am Kind And Honest With Myself And Others.
To the best of my ability I never compromise on myself. I don’t cheat or charm or otherwise try to get something for nothing. I don’t find it worth it — I will always know what I’ve done. And stress eventually follows. This doesn’t mean I am not enthralled by bargains or deals, especially if they are the result of my wits, intelligence, hard work or kindness/generosity. Then I can truly congratulate myself.
Even if I have chosen to pick a battle over something someone has said or done, I prefer to keep eye contact as I listen to her. I choose to treat her with respect even though I may disagree with her “flawed logic.” I courageously avoid sarcasm and cruelty in my responses. Disagreement does not preclude civility. The bottom line is that I choose to live and let live. It is not my job to interfere in the choices others make. I don’t have to like them or agree with them.
As I begin to embrace 2013, fully aware that I have more life behind me than in front of me, I reflect on these simple truths. I only have a few precious decades left to put them to the test. Am I still on track? Only time will tell.
What are your simple truths and how do they work for you?