Pursuing The Elusive Good Life

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autumn-leaves2Growing up in the 80s, “the good life” was pretty much a national motivation. We drank it like Kool Aid. You weren’t living unless you were living good. Who didn’t dream of Dynasty homes and believe that getting our Gordon Gekko on was the means to our Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous end? We were conditioned to amass the good things – degrees, careers, homes, kids, cars, stocks, etc., to quantify the quality of our lives. Yet the good life is an ever slippery goal that seems always within reach but never quite attainable.

It’s 2010. Are we still doing the good life thing or are we, as Jay Z asserts, “off that?”

Have you ever looked for something, tearing up the house, over and under tables, in and through cabinets and drawers only to forget what you were looking for? I’m beginning to think looking for the good life is the same thing. I, for one, can tell you where it isn’t: Hiding with all of these bills? Nope. Could it be under this mortgage? Uh-uh, not there either. Maybe it slipped away like our youth. Perhaps it was stolen in the night like our 401k! Maybe we’re overlooking it by over-looking for it. The quest has become bigger than what we initially set out to find and now we don’t know what we’re looking for.

Times have been tough, so finding the good life might seem as unlikely as uncovering a needle in a haystack. In trying to get to the good life I’ve realized how much one can miss, so busy going from A to B, back and forth, never noticing the points in between.

I remember taking an autumn walk with my daughter who was then three years old. She had no concern but to singularly crunch each and every leaf in her path, making u-turns for ones she’d miss, no matter that there were millions ahead of her. I reached to rescue what I thought to be a perfect image of the season, a lone spectrum of orange, red, brown, and yellow. “Not this one. This is a good one.” I said. She brushed a bundle of curls from her brow, took my “perfect” leaf and returned to the ground with the rest. They look better together Mommy. That day, where I’d admired that one “perfect” leaf she had noticed them collectively and to her, pretty was only as pretty when in contrast to something ugly.

I sometimes have to remind myself to walk as a three year old does and enjoy my journey step by step, each step a destination. On our way to the good life, even though the route may not be all that we’d imagined, we have to consider it all, enjoy the roads ahead, paying no mind to the detours along the way. Perhaps this is where it is, the good life, nestled among the points in between.

Join me for a new series on Hello Beautiful, “The Good Life,” as you and I look for the happiest, healthiest and most prosperous way to live our lives as women and mothers.

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