I walked by the copy of Veranda on my desk and saw the cover. “The Good Life,” it said in bold letters. It really got me thinking.
I used to work for the Good Life. I worked my you-know-what off, and so did my husband. We chased it together, trading off 20-hour days. There were many days I saw my children only when they slept.
I took on projects that were less than ideal. I worked with people that I didn’t resonate with. I moved too fast and thought too little about the journey I was experiencing every moment of every day. I thought only about what it would look like once I got there – wherever “there” was.
To me, The Good Life meant finally having that moment in the sun with my kids when I could be at peace. In my imagination there was a beautiful house, not too big, but not too small. There were rolling hills of grass with a pond nearby, sparkling in the sun. Gorgeous summers, cozy winters. But above all, there was an abundance of time. Time to spend with my kids, time to read, time to paint. Time to write, time to think. What a luxury time is!
It took me until I was in my 40’s (with a fair amount of therapy, some major life changes and a journal I filled with really bad poetry) to figure out that the “good life” I was chasing would never come. And if I actually succeeded in working hard enough for long enough to get that beautiful house in those rolling hills with a pond nearby, sparkling in the sun, I would probably be too old, or too worn out to enjoy it.
At that pivotal moment, I realized two important things:
- I want the good life now.
- My definition of the good life needed to change.
I decided that I want to savor the days I have right now. I want to dance, sip champagne, take the moments I have NOW with my family to enjoy them. I want that peace and easy-going lifestyle today. I want to feel the knot in my chest relaxing as I lean into the precious moment at hand. I want to realize that everything is going to be OK.
But that meant that my definition of “The Good Life” had to change. Instead of a picture-perfect house on rolling hills, what about the house I have? The same sun still shines on it. There is indeed a pond nearby, sparkling in the sun. Who cares if I share it with my neighbors? It is still blindingly beautiful, reflecting the moonlight.
But most importantly, I started to take the time. I gave myself permission. I take the time to spend in my sanctuary. Time to spend with the people I love, time to read, time to paint. Time to write, time to think. Yes, time, that most exquisite luxury.
This is The Good Life. I have it already. You have it already. We all do.
To be honest, I still have to remind myself of this fact some days. I am, as always, a work in progress. But I will tell you for sure that I have never experienced the kind of lasting peace and contentment that I have found with this shift of perspective.
So what about you? What is YOUR definition of the Good Life? How do you live it? I would truly love to hear about it – leave me a comment below.