I’ve been reading a fabulous book called The Good Life by Hugh Mackay, and the theme is really relevant to Lifestyle Fifty which of course is all about The Art of Ageing and living the good life, offering tips about how to live life to the fullest as we get older.
Do we live life to the fullest?
But deep down I keep wondering what is the Good Life at the heart of the idea? How do we really make sure we live life to the fullest?
I’m always asking myself these questions because I know that the good life, or living life to the fullest is not all about acquiring stuff, keeping fit, looking good, and indulging ourselves, just because we can.
There has to be more to it than that.
Are Baby Boomers the lucky generation?
If we are looking for meaning about the Good Life, and how to live life to the fullest, then I think as Hugh Mackay says we need to look at the significant stimuli and pressures on our generation that have shaped our ideas about this topic.
On the surface it would appear that we baby boomers seem to have had an easier passage through life than our parents.
Some say we’ve had it too easy.
But now as we look ahead to our old age we are told that we have reached a time when we are entitled to ‘The Good Life’, and we must live life to the fullest before it’s too late.
But the good life suddenly doesn’t look that good.
To the previous generation at least, this idea probably seems a little churlish.
After all, we haven’t lived through world wars, or great depressions, and we’ve had no devastating plagues, so we’ve had a good life and need expect no more of it at retirement!
The Age of Aquarius and all that
Yet like all generations baby boomers have had challenges, most notably cultural, technological and economic, which we’ve had to adapt and adopt in equal measure.
We’ve also been led to believe that the good life is about how much money we earn, the house we live in, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, how much (great) sex we have, and travel.
Me Me Me and more Brand Me
But in reality, our generation has been all about Me Me Me, and it’s all been about how fast we can climb to the top of our self imposed hills to find our pot of gold.
Perhaps this is also because we’ve been fed the idea that perfection is possible.Personal Brand Marketing
Glitz and joy are touted as the values of the day. Status symbols and online bragging are encouraged.
During our life time, especially in the western world, we’ve developed an childlike dependency on things being sorted out for us, for governments to fix things and banks to lend us money,
Is this it? We sometimes ask.
After bringing up children or having demanding careers, we reach the 50 something years and become aware of a nagging anxiety, even a sense of being unfulfilled.
Our life is not empty by any means, and we fill it adequately enough, but somehow it’s lacking, and there feels to be something deeply unsatisfying about the future as if there’s a hollow that needs to be filled.
The next big thing
In our earlier years many of us were fortunate to always be moving onto the next big thing. Looking forward to the next stage with a sense of anticipation.
There was always something happening, or about to happen in our lives from leaving home, to getting a job, falling in love, getting married, moving into a first flat and so on and so on.
But when we get to the top of our self imposed hills, and can’t find the pot of gold, we look around and ask: “Is this it then?”
Because our generation has mostly been focussed on having fun, acquiring stuff, trying not to age, and having a good time, I wonder as we get older is this enough?
In reality I believe that the secret to the good life, and living life to the fullest is about much more than this.
What do you think?
Credit and Thanks: In writing this post I’ve put my spin on ideas and social observations made by Hugh Mackay in his thought provoking book The Good Life, What Makes A Life Worth Living. It’s definitely worth reading.
Buy The Book
Buy The Good Life here if you live in Australia
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