Jack Nicholson said that in the movie “As Good as it Gets” and even though it was said to be jerky, it’s stuck with me over the years. Yes, it’s a cynical statement if it’s said that way. However, it also happens to be a very good philosophical question.
Think about your life right this second. What if it really is as good as it gets, right this second? Is that even possible to know? I guess it probably isn’t. But it is possible that your life is at it’s best right now. That’s right… have you ever really considered that thought? It can be scary, or it can be sobering.
The fact of the matter is, your life IS as good as it’s going to get unless you do something to better your lot in life. This past Sunday, Pastor Timmy (who looks like Ty Pennington) spoke on a similar topic. He wasn’t talking about it in a cynical way, he was speaking about goals and dreams. He asked us to write down the three things we wanted most and the three things about ourselves that we wanted to change. Then he told us that those things were all achievable.
Now, I’m sure some smarty-pants wrote down “I want to grow wings and have superhuman strength” but we’re not talking about them. I’ll tell you what 3 things I wrote down… what I want: Health & long life, financial security, health and safety for my family (current and future). Now, as I thought about those things, I wondered what he meant about them all being achievable.
My personal health and long life – well, there’s already a blueprint for that: Eat healthy, exercise, honor your father and mother. I know… you people are saying “ok, I get the eating and exercising thing… but what gives on the father and mother thing?” Very simple. Proverbs (in the Bible, you athiests!) says that if you honor your father and mother, you will enjoy long life. That’s like pushing the Staples “Easy” button. Sure, eating healthy and exercising isn’t always the most fun thing on Earth, but I wrote down that I wanted health and long life, not that I wanted to enjoy being lazy and satisfying my daily grease cravings. If you wrote down that you wanted to be lazy and eat grease, you can make that happen, too… so long as you don’t mind being dead soon.
Financial security – there’s really no such thing as financial security. The economy could drop out from under us, and if that happens you’d better own some gold. But still, this goal is totally achievable, no matter how much I’m currently making. I started working on this goal a long time ago when I went to college, and have continued with the goal by getting my Master’s. This goal is about buckling down, working hard, and living within your means. That last part is the hard part for me. I like to own cool stuff, and I like to have it NOW. I struggle with sticking to my budget, but if I want to achieve this goal, I MUST stick with it. Financial security is about persistence and self control (which incidentally is one of the “fruit of the spirit” i.e. “a quality that if you’re a Christian you should basically be oozing”).
The last thing I wrote down was health and safety for my family – There’s only so much you can do on this one without becoming a control freak. But what I can do is cook healthy meals, make sure I take intelligent precautions (like having a AAA membership and spare tires in all the cars), and try to help my family members to make decisions that are safe. For example, I might encourage them NOT to go to East St. Louis at 3 AM even if there is a really great deal on a car there.
What am I getting at? Simple; if I do nothing, then right now is as good as it gets. If I do something, my short-term happiness might actually go DOWN in order to increase my long-term happiness. This is especially true of the eating/exercising/financial security things. I’d much rather eat crap, sit on my couch and order expensive stuff on my laptop. That’s the perfect way to assure I get none of the things I want from life.
So, are you happy with where you’re at right now? If this IS as good as it gets, is it good enough that you can be happy for the rest of your life? If so, congratulations on either accomplishing whatever you wanted to accomplish or on being a very contented person. I’ve noticed that people with naturally contented personalities are basically happy all the time. Lucky!
If you don’t like the idea that you have peaked, what are you doing to make sure you keep heading up?
Peace out, honkies!