Closing in as I am on a certain milestone birthday — I’ll be 60, or as I like to put it, in my extremely late 40s — I’ve been thinking about ways my life could be improved. You know, the old “If only I had (fill in the blank), then everything would be just right” fantasy.
And speaking of blanks, that’s what I keep drawing.
Really. I’ve thought and thought and I can’t really come up with anything.
Oh, sure, there are things that would make life better. A new truck, for instance. I’d like one. I even have the model picked out and if pressed could specify color and interior options.
I could see where a new truck might fool me into thinking it’s the thing I need to make life perfect. They’re tricky like that, those new trucks. And the diesel engine models are downright devious.
But would it make things just right? Nah. I’d worry about that first spill of a ginger ale (the strongest thing I drink anymore) or that first ding from a wayward grocery cart set loose by some buffoon in a parking lot. It would keep me up nights.
And when I put it that way it seems like more aggravation than it’s worth. I’m no philosopher but I am pretty sure aggravation is not the path to just-rightness.
A new motorcycle pops into my head from time to time. I miss my old one and I certainly miss the feeling of rolling down the road with the wind in my teeth and the bugs in my hair.
But I am nothing if not observant and what I notice, drivers are no better at sharing the road with motorcycles than they were a couple of years back. If anything, they’re worse. They’re more distracted than ever thanks to the widespread belief that it is possible to drive down the street and communicate by text message.
Smart phones. What an odd name for devices that make people do such stupid things.
Once again, who needs the aggravation? Not to mention the serious personal injury than can be the other outcome of someone in the middle of a conversation drifting into the lane where you and your motorcycle happen to be.
Speaking of smart phones, mine’s outdated by at least two generations. Maybe a new one would bring to me the just-rightitude of which I speak. Then again, a new one would just have a gazillion more features for me to sort through while trying to figure out how to call for a carry-out pizza. Forget it.
You see where this is going, don’t you?
It’s actually pointing me toward knowledge — the knowledge that there’s no thing that can make my life just right. That’s a job for a human being, specifically me. And acceptance is the key.
Heck, I have a truck, and it runs, and I don’t worry too much about it. I loved my motorcycles but I’m OK without them. I don’t need a new phone if my old one still does the job. I accept all that.
Besides, I have a good family, a warm home, lots of books, two interesting cats and a goofy dog. That goes a long way toward making my life as just right as it’s ever going to be.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on speaking fees and availability, visit www.spotlightwww.com