Posts Tagged ‘wise living’

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.

The disparity between what I want and what I get can be uncomfortable for me.

I have this, I want that — ah.

This morning, another option occurs to me.

This morning, I open my bag of steel-cut oatmeal and put my nose down to top and, ah — a fresh, oaty, grain-kissed aroma rises to greet me.

My wife pushes the button on my coffee maker and ah —  a roasted, nutty, rich java fragrance wafts through the kitchen and surrounds me.

I go out to my backyard patio, which this summer is dressed in green lawn and yellow flowers and silver pond water and sit with my coffee and read the proverbs of King Solomon and, ah — an emotionally-energizing and rationally-enriching concept passes through my frontal lobe.

Wisdom has the sweet smell of contentment in it.

To reach for my cup, to walk to my gardern, to read my wisdom literature, to sit quietly in my garden and reflect —  this is a present-tense good that quashes that ubiquitous, unrelenting universal push for more.

It is enough for me in this moment to be able to walk, to be able to reach, to be able to taste and smell, to be able to sit quietly. It is enough and more than enough in the morning to have someone else in the kitchen to start my coffee for me.

There will be time, in the push and shove of time, for the working out of my good dreams and passionate visions.

But for now, the simple, gentle movements of the morning,  with someone who loves me, far removed from the bluster and press of my daily ambition — so frequently fraught with stress and anxiety — these are most beautiful, refreshing and precious.

Trash collects in known places  — at the base of walls that barrier its movements and in corners that corral it. Unwanted stuff —  dirt, litter, grime, dead leaves, dust, cat hair and lost insect parts — are commonly harbored underneath raised furniture, hidden in dark nooks under car seats, smothered below couch cushions and sanctuaried in small  crannies and  crevices throughout the earth.

This morning I swept the sidewalk along the east side my house. It always needs sweeping. Dead leaves congregate there, and dirt and bits of paper hold daily convocations there too. That side of my house is a trash convention.

Live anywhere long enough and in the same body for any length of time and you’ll know where to find rogue detritus — under the fingernails and hidden in the epidermal creases of all your lesser and minor planetoids, discrete entities and bio-creaveses.

And what about that which is not that? Where might one find something that doesn’t begged to be cleaned up, something that is fresh and new and bright-eyed and full of verve and laced with the gold vein of  future hope and direction.

Where might one find wisdom, that shifting, blowing, migrating essence of smart living?

One might find it, like one finds trash, in common places.

Wisdom shines from every fissure, riff,  nook, platform, roadway, open shelf and wide roof top of the earth.

Wisdom, says one ancient proverb, cries out from every corner.

I believe that. I see wisdom lurking in every experience, hiding within every challenge,  residing inside of the lining of every problem and taking wing within the potential musings of every person. But there is one place, I have noticed, that wise stuff tends to collect most. Within a breathing, heart pounding, dialoguing relationship with the source of all knowledge and wisdom.

Wisdom, the gold of smart living, is found first, second, third, fourth and every other number in the universal catalogue of  numbers —  natural, whole, interger, rational, irrational or imaginary — in God.

Want wisdom? Then ask God for it; go further, cry out to God for it!

Really want it? Then do not let up in this single, beautiful and too seldom actioned request: “God, will you waft wise bits of  smart thought and way down my mental sidewalks and into the tiny creases and crannies of my small brain?

Mind blowingly, He will.