None of us perfectly fit someone else’s template for living. We are unique, and here in the Unuted States we love to claim that. Each person is unique; it’s our folk wisdom National Anthem.

Maybe each person is unique, and each country is unique, but none of us should ignore a wise template for living. The good life looks surprisingly similar here in the US, and we who are older should tell younger people this. We should show them this, with our lives.

Look now, this is child’s play; no it isn’t, but we shouldn’t ignore life smart.

Those who marry when between the ages of 20 to 24 are nearly twice as likely to get divorced as those who get married between the ages of 25 to 29 years old.

Personal maturity matters when it comes to marriage. When it comes to being single too!

In our culture, people with more education tend to make more money. There are exceptions. Not that many.

  • High school drop outs: $18,734
  • High school graduates: $27,915
  • College grads (with a bachelor’s degree): $51,206
  • Advanced degree holders: $74,602

Does this matter? Well, people with higher incomes tend to live substantially longer than those without.

What doesn’t work?

Heavy drinking and drug use doesn’t work.

Research has identified subtle but important brain changes occurring among adolescents with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), resulting in a decreased ability in problem solving, verbal and non-verbal retrieval, visuospatial skills, and working memory.

Men who get divorced, and stay divorced, that doesn’t work so well either. They are at really high risk for premature mortality. It would have been better for their health had they not married at all.

Conscientious people tend to stay healthier and live longer. Striving to accomplish your goals, setting new aims when milestones are reached, and staying engaged and productive generally prolongs life.

There isn’t a need to go on and on here. Point made; some ways to live are better than others.

Solomon wrote:

Nothing is better for a man
than that he should eat and
drink, and that his soul should
enjoy good in his labor.

This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

It matters that we make decisions that move us toward maturity, toward stability, toward lasting relationships, toward meaningful work, toward being responsible, toward enjoying the life God intended for us to enjoy.

The good life has always looked pretty much the same. It is responsible, it isn’t drug and alcohol dependent, it involves having been trained in something, it is not too rushed. It takes work, it involves loving, close relationships, (whether married or single) and it includes God!

College isn’t for everyone, marriage isn’t always the good life, money isn’t a panacea, some can’t work in regular jobs. I’m not trying to promote a middle-class, materialistic ethic, but maturity, training, hard work and having enough to take care of yourself and others matters.

Here is the deal. Unique is often not that unique; noncomformity and irresponsibility may be kind of fun for a time, kicking back can be a kick, falling in love young is an awesome feeling, but ignoring a smart, responsible, proven template for living — it can be a disaster.

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