Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What's important?

This question smacks of the quiz OK Cupid users fill out. That part of my old online profile looked like this:

The six things I could never do without
My lovely family
My wonderful friends
A boyfriend! (which is why I'm here)
Healthy, tasty food
Exercise, which for me is hot yoga--I'm an addict

Or maybe this is more a propos:

I spend a lot of time thinking about
Personal growth and joy
My next trip overseas
How to keep my elderly mom, with whom I live, happy and healthy
How to stay happy and healthy while not living my ideal life
The book I'm writing

Or I can look at the amount of time I spend on an activity. Sleep wins, hands down--that includes afternoon naps. Love my afternoon naps! Hanging out online comes next, alas--I'm counting every kind of online activity, from Facebook to promo to writing blog posts like this one. Even following my Twitter followers back is time consuming. (Where do these people find me, anyhow? And who reads all that stuff? Not me).

Activities I really like, sleep excepted, don't take very long. I do a yoga workout of a little over an hour pretty much every day. I make love with my boyfriend, umm, maybe three or four hours weekly--we don't live together and maybe see each other once or twice a week. Heck, I read more than that. I socialize a few hours weekly--I don't have great social needs. I rarely feel lonely, and when I do, playing with my dog or hanging out at a Starbucks will take care of that, though I do enjoy my friends and family, and hope they enjoy me also.

When it comes down to it, our needs are minimal. We tell ourselves that many things are important--animal rights, the situation in Afghanistan, economic inequality. And these things are important, very important.

But I find if I take care of my little corner of the world while trying to positively affect the rest, that's enough for me. Changing the world is not on my agenda. 

Self-centered? Unambitious? Probably. 

Perhaps that's the mellowness that's come with age. At 60, I realize that while there's a lot I want to do with the rest of my life, I won't be able to do everything. I probably won't become a certified personal trainer or yoga instructor. Or a personal chef. I earned a CELTA credential in 2009, and it's a source of intense regret that I used it only in one job, teaching English to toddlers in China. I hated China but loved the kids.

Though I have regrets, perhaps what's important is treasuring accomplishments and experiences rather than harboring disappointment. I've done a lot and still have lots to look forward to, and I prefer to concentrate on the cool stuff I've done and the fun I'm going to have rather than repining about an imperfect past.

In the end, maybe self-acceptance is what's important.


  1. Actually, Suz, I think it's the non-flashy stuff that IS important. Health, for instance. When we're feeling good physically, we hardly notice, but nothing can sap the joy from life more quickly than continuous pain or discomfort.

    Your life sounds pretty good to me.

  2. What's most important is your positive attitude. That's what gives you the ease with the naps you allow yourself. If one is happy about themselves, life truly does go much easier. If we all took care of our "little corner of the world", the rest of the world would be better off.

    Dig it on the naps. Learned that while working nights behind bars. Zzzzzz...

  3. In my experience 60 is right about when, if you're lucky, self-acceptance frees you to do what you want without worrying about what anyone else thinks. Relatively, anyway.

  4. I had a birthday recently, and commented to people that I still look forward to getting older. I'm well past the point of anxiously waiting for big cultural milestone birthdays like 18 or 21, but I find myself excited about the increased self-acceptance I hear about from people older than me. I could use some of that. I like the sense of peacefulness I hear in posts like this, realism about where one is in life. I like the unapologetic self-knowledge. I agree with Lisabet that the way you describe your life sounds very nice. Enjoy! :)

  5. All of you are really sweet and encouraging. Thanks!


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