Ingredients for a Good Life
These posts often start with a quote from a Greek philosopher, a mention of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and end with the fact a perfect life is in your control.
Most of this is true. The Greeks knew universal truths that still exist today. Maslow is correct that we need food and shelter before aiming for other, higher pursuits. Indeed, only you can read about history, secure your basic needs, and master your own destiny.
No person can learn all of life’s answers. Partly life is too complicated. Partly after seemingly cracking it, our situations change. Again and again. So it’s good to acknowledge it’s a moving target. Not to feel despondent when we feel out of control.
Also our basic needs of home, food and shelter are generally satisfied in 2016. But in a fast moving consumerism culture we do feel left behind our peers. So maybe our basic needs have become getting a good job, a model partner, and being happy everyday like a Disney movie.
Our unrealistic expectations result in dissatisfaction and often unhappiness. At least this can happen if we’re not mindful and aware.
Having hit my goals in the past — educational, career, entrepreneurial, travels, love, and so on — I realised you either keep aiming higher or you redefine your happiness.
Don’t get me wrong. The above did and do make me happy. But in a smaller, measured and controllable way. Now happiness comes from different goals.
I like my days to include good things, but not be manic. I like time to read and write. I like to catch up with interesting colleagues, new people and loved ones. I like to eat and drink fresh food. I like exercise and fresh air. I like to sleep 8 hours. I like to practice mindfullness. I like to listen to good music and sometimes dance. I like to be grateful of the little moments. I like to appreciate my carers, disability equipment, adapted car and house. I like to experience new things. I like to help people. I love my Kasia and everything we do together.
I’ve noticed the travels, enterprises, and grand ideas still are there. Still present. Still inside me.
With a realisation of new priorities and new expectations — these bigger things come more easily and enjoyably. The simple moments are definitely the most powerful ones!
Martyn Sibley writes about living life with a disability, he is a life/career coach, and advises organisations on inclusion. He’s Co Founder of Disability Horizons/United/Academy. In 2016 he published his travel memoirs and is now trying his arm at some fiction writing. You can read more about his adventures on his blog.