Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Good Life

I said in an earlier post that I have been pretty much off of television for awhile now, outside of a football game at the pub or random show at someone’s house. That being said I do have DVDs of good shows that are off the air or are/were on in other countries. I was recently watching a show that fell into both of those categories- The Office, the UK version. I was watching the series ending Christmas special and it came to the scene when Dawn and Tim got together finally. David begins to speak and well, I’ll just put down what he said-

“A philosopher once wrote, ‘You need three things to have a good life. One, a meaningful relationship. Two, a decent job of work. Three, to make a difference.’”
- David Brent, The Office UK

Now, I had heard his words before but they struck a particular chord with me the other night. As you can tell by the content of this blog, I have increasingly been thinking about my future and what I want with my life. I think this quote (I’m afraid I don’t know who really came up with the quote or if it was invented for the show; irregardless…) is a good basic structure to plan your life around. It doesn’t cover the whole gamut of your experiences or what you have to do or deal with but it gives you a foundation to build on. Let’s see where I am with these three simple tenets and feel free to compare your own life to it as well.

A meaningful relationship- I know that he was probably referring to a relationship between you and someone special (which I will get to later) but I think this can also apply to familial relationships and relationships with friends. I’m sure there is a study somewhere that correlates positive interactions with these two groups with your personal life but I can’t find it so I’ll just use my own circumstances. I always perform and do better in almost all aspects of my life when I am on good terms with my family and am in contact with my friends.
It seems that my low points are always around those times when I feel alone or I’m arguing with one (or a few) of the members of either group. My job performance goes down and I get even lazier about doing my writing during those times. It saps my vitality. This is all to say that I have been more productive recently because I’m returning home for awhile and have been in more contact with almost all of my friends from back home and even out here in the desert. But let’s get to what you really came here for…

I definitely think you need all of what is stated in the above paragraph but your feelings of joy or sadness is also reflected when you have or don’t have someone special in your life. That’s not to say that you NEED a person to validate you or make you happy. Hell, you can be just happy with your family and friends and I think that everyone should experience single time in their life and be cool with it.
I’m saying that if you HAVE a special person (and you are on cool terms with them at that moment) you can get through a lot more even without the full support of those other relationships. I have a weird “thing” going on right now and it’s both frustrating and great at the same time. It could be much better in my opinion but I’m glad I have someone I can talk to sometimes (when she is available) and that is sometimes what galvanizes me through the day or those tough times. Even if the other person doesn’t always see it or you don’t say it enough, they can get you over that bump in the road or even that long bad road. If you get someone like that, keep them around as long as possible and be the best for you and them.

A decent job of work- I really like my job. Okay, let me rephrase that. I MOSTLY really like my job. It's good honest work that I can get through and complain the least about as compared to other jobs. I enjoy working with kids of all ages and even can deal with their snarkiness and bad taste in music.

Really? C'mon....I weep for the future.

No matter how crap the rest of my day is or even if I complain about them later, I really like those little crumbsnatchers and hormonal teenagers. I have done this type of work for about five or six years and I like the fact that I reach kids that feel the same way generally I felt about school- I like learning but don’t want to be in class. I couldn’t stand school and if you told me when I was in high school that this is what I would be doing, I would have laughed in your face and went back to our dark hallway to not do my homework. To give a kid knowledge of something even when they take me to the edge makes me feel good.
All that being said, teaching ISN’T my passion. I figure I’ll still do it in some shape or form for the remainder of my life but, what I really want to do is write for a living. I enjoy making up stories or, I should say, bringing stories to light. Those moments when ideas click and I see the path of these characters are golden for me. I want to spread my vision of the world and other worlds to folks and, hopefully, get a little change out of the deal.
I think that’s what he meant by a decent job of work- something you enjoy and that doesn’t make you want to SNAP! A job where you aren’t just going through the motions to get to five o’clock. I mean everyone does it some or even most days but to do it day in and day out kills your soul and really, what’s the point? You pay your bills but you aren’t living if you spend most of your day being miserable. That isn’t a life. Do something you love and if you can’t do that at least do something you like. That’s my two cents worth.

To make a difference-
I think this is the noblest of the three and the hardest to explain. It’s hard to quantify strictly because it is so vague. Everyone has a different idea of making a difference just like everyone has different ideas about success and happiness.
To some, making a difference is a monumental undertaking such as engaging in a social movement or fighting for a particular group. To others, it’s creating a change in their community or correcting familial problems. That’s the beauty of making a difference- it’s unique to everyone but at the core it’s about creating interpersonal relationships and making a change to the world whether on a small, personal level or globally.
I think I want to make a difference and I do right now. I think that is the one thing on this list I always do regardless of how the other two factors are going. I’ll always educate even when it’s not for work and I’ll always help out, even if it something as simple as helping someone carry their bags, giving someone a lift, helping the elderly or staying with someone until the ambulance comes. I feel most content with this element of my life and hope to make it a bigger component the more successful I get with the other two.

So there you have it. I hope this wasn’t another rambling mess and that you actually got something out of it and that it makes you think about your own life. Maybe you have other benchmarks than these three for having a good life. If you do, good on you. Go for those. I’m going to use these and try my best. Hopefully, we meet in a good place with equally good lives.