There are a few things I could have done when I was younger that I don’t think I could do now, like drive across the country by myself or squat down to retrieve something from the bottom shelf at the grocery store without using my cart or the shelf to help pull myself back up. But there are things I can do now that I could not do when I was younger, like keep my mouth shut when I really felt like blurting, “You’re wrong!” or like getting the chores done before diving into something pleasurable. Wait, did you hear me say I can now delay gratification? You’re wrong! (oops) The way I eat proves that assumption incorrect.
But I can now sit at a stoplight, a long stoplight, and not drum my fingers on the steering wheel or pick up my cell phone to check everyone’s status, which is not only stupid, but illegal in California. Now I can think of helping someone else before helping myself. I can even be the last one in the buffet line.
The five ways to determine if you are better now than before, well, they really don’t exist. Everything that might be used to determine that question is SO subjective and cannot be determined quantitatively. I do, however, have some guidelines that I use in measuring my better-ness or my happiness today compared to my days as a younger person. They are:
– How much time can I spend alone and enjoy every moment of it?
– How much fun can I have on the least amount of money?
– How large is my friend base? The kind of friends who will not only
party with me but who will accompany me to my colonoscopy and
settle me in at home when it is done? Yes, you may use a different
– How connected do I feel to a strong spiritual community that engages,
supports and educates me?
– How often do I think about giving back, either materially or emotionally?
See what I mean about the subjective nature of trying to determine precisely how better you might be now compared to 20, 30 or 40 years ago? For myself, I can tell even without having to answer each of the above questions. It’s a feeling for me, an overall sense of well-being that permeates every part of my life. This doesn’t mean my life is perfect, without hassles or mistakes or upsets. It just means those mistakes and upsets don’t define my happiness or my ability to be the person I want to be anymore. And that is yet another way I know I’m better now than before.
Do you ever stop to think of what you can do now that you couldn’t do before and vice versa? Based on your experience, is there specific advice you might share with younger people about improving their lives now?