“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West

Mae West

Mae West

There is an old joke that begins with a line about eating healthy foods and avoiding alcohol – the reward for this lifestyle is that you will live longer. The punchline is that you actually don’t live longer, it just seems longer. There’s a kernel of truth in that joke. Depriving yourself of life’s wonderful gifts of good food and wine is a shame.  Instead approach living as if it’s an adventure and you’re at the center…not the center of attention but the center in the sense that you’re fully aware and engaged.

Life can be challenging at times, it can throw many “curve balls” the result of which is that your goals and dreams get (temporarily, at least) derailed.  The best tonic I’ve found during these tough times is laughter…and pretty much any source will do. My favourite “go to” places include spending time with children, recalling a funny or ironic past event, watching a hilarious movie or reading a humourous book, but best of all I find joy is most reliably found in the company of good friends (including family, if you’re lucky enough to count them among your friends).  Finally, I also find that there’s nothing better than a glass of good quality sparkling white wine, Champagne if it’s in your budget, to lift your mood and begin a gathering. 

There is no point in wallowing in your troubles and avoiding others; grieving by yourself.  Face your problem, do it forthrightly, be honest with yourself and talk about it…then, try to move on.  Enjoy life because it is not forever (“you’re a long time dead!”). I have found that it’s always better to be joyful among other folks, especially those that share your grief or have experienced similar troubles. Although periodic retreats and quiet reflection are important, in the long term, the result can be circular as sad thoughts and grief will return again and again. Better to look forward. Be thankful and celebrate what you have…find your best friends. As the lovely Audrey Hepburn once said, “I love people who make me laugh. It cures a multiple of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”

On the flip side, don’t think that continual partying and merry making will lead to contentment.  It will eventually wear you down and make everything feel hollow. As with all things the answer lies in finding a balance. Moderation.  For me the quote from Mae West is a recommendation to live life to the fullest.  Experience as much beauty as possible.  Make good friends.  Avoid dour, negative people. Continually develop as a person as you grow older…in fruitful and positive ways.  Learn and share knowledge.  On your death bed you’ll hopefully feel satisfied, that your life has been a rich one… and that doing it again would seem, well, unnecessary.