Tonya Lampley, Author
A Quick Guide to a Good Life
Updated: Feb 5, 2020
There’s wisdom in this post for us more seasoned veterans of life but today’s thought is directed toward the younger crowd. Those in the prime of life. In the period of moving and shaking…the growth period. Those just beginning the journey with rosy cheeks and a bright eye toward the future.
Here are some words of love:
Keep your eyes bright. View life through the lens of awe and wonder. Know you’ll never understand it all. There will always be questions you have no answer to. Even though you’ll come across people, especially in my age group who try to make you think they know everything…they don’t.
Trust in the wisdom of the elders and take all advice, but it doesn’t mean you have to act on it. Sometimes a gracious nod is all that is required to show respect. In other words be the captain of your own ship and trust me, you’ll have plenty of people who’ll try to guide your ship for you, but the only thing you’ll ever need to help you figure things out is your own inner voice…the still place inside, the feelings, the hunches. Follow those. Learn to cultivate that voice so that it speaks louder than all the others…including the voice of the ‘in’ crowd…even well meaning moms and dads.
Live your life authentically. Be open to new people and experiences but don’t be afraid to say when something is not for you. Constantly sift through your life and shed anything that is not completely in alignment with who you are in the moment. The second something no longer feels right, trust that you’ve outgrown it and move on. Even if he has a good job, even if he’s F-I-N-E. Listen to the messages that come from your heart. As you do, you create a life that you love, that feeds you from the inside out. How can it not if it’s a reflection of who you truly are?
Live in and enjoy the now but think about and prepare for your future. Lots of well intended people will tell you that in the end, money doesn’t matter. BS. As Kanye West said…having money isn’t everything but being broke is. Start planning for your future now. Find what it is you’re good at and use that gift to serve humanity. Think of how it will grow and change over the years as you and the world change…AND…put money away. Start now. So won’t have to worry about things like will you be a burden to your children as you age? What if something happens to Medicare and Social Security? That cup of coffee you just had could be put toward your future. And peace of mind will taste far better than a 10.00 cup of caffeine. Make sure you don't fret over it, but put yourself on a plan to put a little (or a lot) away. There’s a sense of joy and freedom that comes along with being a saver. And don’t forget to reward yourself every now and then. It's okay to enjoy the present while you still keep an eye on your future.
Take care of your health. It’s the farthest thing from your mind right now. You think, as long as you look good, in your mind, you’re okay. But as you age, your body will have a more difficult time hanging on to nutrients which will show up as brittle bones, thinning hair, loss of sleep, wrinkles. If you commit to a life of health now, you won’t struggle later. Healthy people age well. They look good for their age, get around without assistance and don’t spend all their time at the doctor or in the pharmacy swallowing pills.
Know that life is full of challenges. And it always will be. I think when I was younger I always believed that I’d get to a place in life…financially secure, smarter, wiser, that things would be easy. But even when you get older life will still be hard…just in a different way. You won’t care as much about the horrible boss you have or finding the perfect partner. Instead, you’ll wonder if you turned off the stove while you’re sitting in the movie theater, you’ll pray at night your son’s drinking isn’t getting out of hand because he’s a new father, you’ll wonder should you get a new car or put the money in your retirement fund, will your parents have to live with you and what is the ‘shadow ‘on the mammogram? As the people around you start to get sick or worse, you’ll start thinking about your own mortality. Life is just that…Life. And it will always be full of challenges. But, there is a silver lining in the cloud. Age brings a sense of acceptance. So, you’ll still worry a bit but you’ll also know how futile it is because experience will have shown you as it’s shown me that if you live long enough, eventually you will have seen it all. And that things have a way of working themselves out. Even the difficult things. And that all the times you thought you wouldn’t make it, you did. And to appreciate when it’s good and have faith when it’s not. I wish I would have had the proper mental attitude toward life when I was younger…would have saved me a lot of sleepless nights.
In summary, here’s my advice on living a good life.
✔Envision what you want your future to look like. Have a plan and develop a strategy to get there. If you want to be financially secure put money away. If you want to age well, start adopting a healthy lifestyle. Small steps now pay huge dividends in the future.
✔Trust your own inner voice, allow it to lead you down the right path and help you make good decisions.
✔Have the courage to live authentically. Get rid of things that don’t serve you. Everything around you should be a reflection of who you truly are.
✔When the inevitable ebbs and flows of life come, adopt the right mental attitude. Know that nothing lasts forever and this too shall pass.
✔Enjoy it. Life is a precious gift. Be creative. Have fun. A little forethought provides a safety net in the not so good times allowing us to live better. When life is good, we enjoy it more.
You only get one trip around but with it a little focus and dedication to making this trip the best it can possibly be…you’ll look back with no regrets.
To your future,