What makes a good life written by from someone who’s barely lived life is absurd. I know this. You know this. Thus, I am drawing on what the expert, namely Robert Waldinger has to say from the longest running research study ever in the history of research by Harvard Univesity. You can watch the video here or have a quick read right where you are.
But first, let’s be clear that you don’t have to wait until you’re 80 years old to figure out what makes a good life. A good life can start right now if we take the advice of 80-year-olds to heart. A good life can start today if we finally make the cut to set our priorities straight and stick to them with verve and grit.
Us oldies, you know, the 30-45-year-olds like to make fun of the millennials or use them as a scapegoat at times for our own guilty habits and pleasures. Those millennials who find complete and utter value in things superficial things like looks, body weight, body image, popularity on social media, likes, followers, and other such things. Those millennials who are just so darn sensitive to everything and looking for a quick fix to feel better. Those millennials, those millennials. Yet, many of us who are far away from that age from being considered millennial are in fact worried about the same things and having anxiety about the same things they are, albeit us older folks are dealing with much more (sometimes, real things) than they are, too.
It’s time to cut that sh*t out and before we waste our lives away then ending up with regret, let’s see what makes a good life from the people who’ve really lived it. These people have lived through *way* harder times than us, World Wars, famine, plagues, and are still alive today to tell us exactly what to live for. It’s definitely not what you think it is based on today’s standards and it might even shock you.
This day and age, some of us are focused on quantity when the answer all along has been quality. Quantity makes us look cool, but quality could help us live happily into our 80’s. In the Harvard study, those who had great relationships lived healthier, happier, and longer. It’s the strong bond you feel and knowing with great certainty that person is going to be there for you that makes for a high-quality relationship (simplified but you get the gist).
Being Married/Having a Life Partner
We all know the statistic here, 50% of all marriages end in divorce. But, those who stay [happily] married report again, feeling happier, healthier, and live much longer. Even if you bicker with your spouse, having the security in knowing they love you no matter what and will be there for you no matter what is what the participants report time and time again for making a good life. Of course, you have to be married to the right person and that’s a whole new topic for another day. Marriage isn’t for everyone, some people like to go against the institution, others don’t believe in it, while others are scared of it. So, for the sake of 2017, let’s just say that having that 1 person in life who will always support you through good and bad and good again is pivotal for a good life.
Since we are all about defining out own lives on our own terms, define what these two things mean to you very carefully. While it can change as people change at any time, figure out the fundamentals of it and try to live it out as ferociously as possible to the end of your days. This is so open-ended and that’s because we can’t define what a good relationship or marriage will mean to you. We have no right to do create this basis of what’s good for you. Only you know in your hearts of hearts. However, these are the two secrets to a good life: being married-ish (ish because 2017 marriage isn’t what it used to be 80 years ago) and high-quality relationships. Isn’t that amazing that it’s not a long, huge, fancy to-do list? Amazing that it’s not a 15-step process that doesn’t even involve any of the things you are ‘thinking’ makes for a good life today. In the end of it all, it’s being with really good people and sharing your life with someone who really treasures you.