The idea of better is approaching perfection or to being without fault. The original definition of perfect is to be completed finished or in Latin, perfectus. Good though, communicates more balance. So if perfect is complete then a “perfect life”would be a life that was also complete, and a “better life” would be one that is closer to completion. No wonder, there is that saying “Life get’s better with age.”
Every time I talk to my grand parents or anyone I consider wise, and we get to talking about life, I’ve found that they never qualify their life with terribly descriptive words. This could be a generational thing but given that some of these people are 50, and others are closer to 80 I would doubt it. Over and over again the same phrase rolls off their lips, “I have had a good life.” Good. Not better than any other life, not perfect, but good. This is coming from single millionaires to middle class retirees with 25 kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. Accomplishments aside, they concede that there have been ups and downs but at this point they are appreciative for it all.
This makes me think about what exactly we are all trying to achieve with our lives. Whether your goal is to own a magazine or to get married and raise a happy family, there will be major challenges along the way. I am not sure that being excellent at any, or either of those things is any more difficult than the next, regardless of how common they may seem. If you think about what it takes build and to stay in a trusting committed relationship, bring new life into the world, love, teach, and nurture that new life, all while continuing to progress in your own personal development, it quickly become a daunting task. The same could be said about anything that any one commits their life to. So in the end there aren’t really any short cuts by way of life path. The short cuts we take are in how we navigate and move along that path. It is a choice of going through the motions or committing to doing absolutely everything you can to fulfill the potential of that path.
Once you’ve made the choice you quickly see how big of a job lies in front of you. There will surely be pain ahead, and fear of that pain is an obstacle, most certainly there will be discomfort, and an aversion to that discomfort is another obstacle. In some way a commitment to being excellent is simultaneously a commitment to enduring pain, fear, and discomfort. But, we are okay with that because we know that on the other side of pain is strength, on the other side of fear is courage, and on the other side of discomfort is relief. After a living a little while our expectations change. We become certain that there will be brighter days and gloomy days and that’s fine too. Happiness becomes less about a particular status in a moment and more about a general condition that pervades for weeks, years, or longer. Waking up to find a parking ticket on your car is not usually seen as a positive occurrence so you may experience momentary sadness or frustration but is not the kind of thing that usually sends people in to prolonged depression or anger.
If we are all guaranteed some “happy days” and some “sad days” a good life starts to look more like an average of all those days and more or less of either doesn’t impact the qualification. If we commit to giving our all to each day, then we can expect at least as much resistance as the amount of effort that we are putting into moving forward.We overcome that resistance anytime we successfully do anything from getting out of bed to climbing a mountain. When we look at our lives in this way, it is hard to see any one path as better or worse, only Good or not , and only for ourself. Our lives are our artwork and the masterpiece reveals more meaning and relevance as we progress and age. So when you hear that ” Life get’s better with age.”, understand that the better we are describing is an approach to a completion, a perfection, but also to and end. So while you are still alive, seek to have a good life, a life of resistance, variety and balance.