Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Live your best life

 The likely grandchild of "Have a nice day" and "Don't worry, be happy," the current T-shirt, coffee mug and bumper sticker adage of "Live your best life!" can either make me pause, gag, or smile, depending on my mood. 

Currently, I have friends who are traveling in Southeast Asia and in Qatar, others who are snow-birding here in the States. A couple of friends go out dancing two or three times a week, while others are active in their grandchildren's lives. Some of my friends live near the sea and others are in big cities, hundreds of miles from where they were raised. Some are happy, some are so-so, and what I realize as I think of how others are living their lives, is that comparison is the enemy of serenity. Sometimes, my best life means getting on an airplane or behind the wheel, and sometimes it means staying up to watch a silly sitcom with my working man who got home late. Sometimes sitting on my couch with a cuppa on a cold, rainy day is heaven, and sometimes it's not. And as I'm forever reminded, "This too, shall pass," whether that is joy or sorrow, boredom or excitement. 

Speaking of de-cluttering (ha!), my spouse and I are getting ready for a big sale at the end of March - one of those events where one buys space, then crosses our fingers that we at least make back the investment. Hard to say at this point, and all dependent on who shows up wanting what. I think of all my mother's tchotchkes and Avon stuff (she was the neighborhood Avon Lady for decades). She, and we, thought we were sitting on a gold mine, and had we tried to sell ten years earlier, that might've been true. It will be what it will be - some books, some music, some t-shirts and miscellany, hauling it in and hopefully hauling less back home.

I keep seeing articles that our generation's kids don't want the fine china, or the heavy dining room table, being more of the Ikea mind-set of light weight and easy to move. I get it, kind of, but do feel an attachment to "stuff," like my mom's carved hope chest, my grandmother's desk and a couple of wicker-seated chairs. I understand that much of what I value is no longer in fashion, which leads me to keep what I like (and actually use it) and dispose of the rest (whether sales, donations or to family and friends). It is definitely a process.

And while it can seem that many intangibles have also gone out of style (greeting those one passes on the street, general kindness to strangers, truth vs opinion), I hang on to the universal truths of the program - strive for honesty with self and others, amend when I screw up, remember that I'm not in charge. Sometimes I feel unmoored "nowadays" with just enough technological know-how to get by, watching my generation of musicians and other icons die. Why, I remember seeing that band when I was 15, or 20, or even 35, and now we're all old people, gratefully, as that is a gift denied to many, though the ticking clock can be disconcerting.

And so, with March being the month for Step 3 focus, how will I get out of the driver's seat? How do I remember to go ahead and make plans, then let go of the wheel of expectation?  How will I "live my best life," knowing that I'm the only one who can define that?

What does Step 3 mean in your daily life? How to you move away from comparison to contentment? What universal truths make up your worldview? How does "live your best life" shift from day to day?

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Ready for an inventory or small group discussion? Check out my workbook "I've Been Sober a Long Time - Now What?" with 78 pages of topics, member's views, and processing questions. (See the Jan 13, 2023 post for a sample.) Available in PDF format ($12.95) for those of you outside the US (or who prefer that format) or hardcopy ($19.95 mailed to you). Email me at with questions.  You can order from the WEB VERSION of this page, payment link on top right. Note that the workbook is also available at Portland Area Intergroup at 825 NE 20th 

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