I’m still learning something new, almost every day. For me, that’s the secret to living a happy life. Discovering something new, learning about it, learning from it, improving. I’ve known people who retired, and soon afterward took a part time job because they were bored. They had nothing to do. All throughout my life I’ve cultivated interests. Interests in almost anything. I want to know, I want to learn. I’m curious. Why, you might ask? I’m not sure I can answer that. I just simply want to know. It gives you endless things to think about, and talk about. It keeps you from being bored. And maybe that’s it. I don’t like to be bored. I don’t want to have to do something, just for something to do.
Lately I’ve been feeling depressed about our political situation, along with just about everyone else in the country. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, Independent or otherwise, it’s very depressing. I’m on Facebook, and every time I went to it, it was filled with anger and hatred. People constantly fighting about who’s right, who’s wrong and why. Hooray for my side, screw yours. So I seriously thought about pulling the plug on Facebook. It was getting too depressing.
So I announced on Facebook that I would soon be leaving. And then I started thinking about it. Facebook as with other social media, is just a tool. If you use a crescent wrench to pound in a nail, it’s not going to go well for you. You need the right tool (as my Dad always said. Jeez, I’ve become my Dad!) to get the job done right. So I discovered that I was using Facebook the wrong way. I was digesting what ever I found there, and it was affecting me badly. What I needed to do was take from it only what worked well for me, only what built me up, not tore me down. I discovered that I can still be on Facebook for the friends I have there, for the news I get, but leave the depressing stuff where it is. I don’t need to give my opinion on everything, I don’t need to read everything I see.
All this may seem elementary to a lot of you, and I do remember my Dad telling me I had a “thick skull” more than once. But this is what life is all about. Learning something new. Someone (many someone’s I’m sure) once asked, “What is the purpose of life? My answer to that is a question: What do you mean by “life”? I don’t think there’s some all encompassing, mysterious purpose out there that we’re supposed to discover and fulfill. In other words, there’s no such thing as “life”. There’s my life, and there’s your life. There’s the life of the the bird outside your window, and the ants crawling on the sidewalk. There is life, and plenty of it, and each has a purpose, but that purpose has to be decided upon by the individual. What purpose do you want to have? Find that which interests you, something that makes you feel good, feel fulfilled, and do it. Learn it. Become it. Whatever “it” is.
Your purpose in life can change from one day to the next. New interests come along, and what do you know, now you’re doing something different. It all sounds rather selfish, doesn’t it? I’m just going to do whatever I like, right? Well in a way, it is. But so is eating, and taking care of your health. In fact, everything we do is selfish. Let’s say you go to another country and build houses for the poor. Pretty altruistic, right? But why are you doing it. Because people need houses and you have the ability to help them get houses. But you’re also doing it because “you” want to. If you’re doing something because you want to, that’s a selfish reason. Selfishness it turns out, is not a bad thing if it’s done for the right reasons, like eating so you don’t starve.
So there’s my “wisdom” for today. Take what’s good into yourself, and let what’s bad flow over and away from you. Use the tools you have for the good they can provide and don’t try to pound in a nail with a crescent wrench. My Facebook friends are not done with me yet but they will see me doing things in a different way, a better way.