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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Jennifer's Gems > 06

by Jennifer Brown Banks

The Good Life:
Are You Living It?

About a month ago, I was channel surfing, and came across yet another reality T.V. show---NBC’s “Who Wants to be a Hilton?”
Because I’m one of those frugal folks who refuses to get cable, my viewing options, I admit, are a little limited!

For lack of something better, I decided to tune in for awhile just to see how the other half lives. Much to my surprise, I liked it! I really liked it. The show basically takes 14 contestants from across the country and puts them in competition for the chance to live the “good life,” as diva Kathy Hilton shows the “less fortunate” the do's and don't s of socialites. The winner receives a $200,000 trust fund, a wardrobe, a lavish apartment, and regal living for a year.

As I watched the show each week, I began to reflect on the “good life” and what it means. I think for many, the September 11th tragedy served as a wake up call, reminding us of how fragile and fleeting life can be.

Contrary to popular opinion, having a “good life” has little to do with fame and fortune, or even world travel. It has little to do with bank account balances, or beating out the Joneses. Don’t believe me? Take a look at all the rich celebrities who suffer from low self-esteem, eating disorders, suicide attempts, abusive relationships, substance addiction, and wreckless lifestyles. Proof positive that money, box office status, nor power alone serve as an elixir for happiness.

The “good life” is a mindset. It’s an appreciation of your unique blessings and station in life. It’s about living each day to the fullest. About being able to sleep soundly at night.

Admittedly, I’ve never eaten lobster on the beach. I’ve never flown to foreign places. And heck, I don’t even have cable! Still, to borrow a popular expression-- “simple pleasures are the best”.

Here's what defines "the good life" for me (not necessarily in this order):

Good Health
"The greatest wealth is health." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good Friends
My friends come from all races, religions and economic backgrounds, and have helped me weather many of life's adversities.

A Good Man
One with substance over glitter, that appreciates me.

Good Lovin

Good Food and Good Spirits

A Good Self Image
It's impossible to feel good about life if you don't feel good about yourself first!

Good Family Ties

A Good Home
At day's end, it should be your sanctuary

A Good Career and Sense of Purpose
Writing ignites me! I'm blessed to have a vocation that gives me pleasure daily and adds and meaning to my life.

Good Bargains at The Thrift Store

Good Music
My favorites are Norah Jones, Shania Twain, Prince, Patti LaBelle, Kenny G, Chicago, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Tchaikovsky.

A Good Religious Foundation

A Good and Optimistic View of the Future

A Good Handle on Problems
Being able to assess and apply options.

A Good Balance Between Professional and Personal Life

A Good Education
Not necessarily a fancy or expensive one.

A Good Supply of Herbal Teas, Scentend Candles, Bubble Bath Products, and Engaging Books

Are you living the good life? Is it within your reach? Here are a few things to consider:

» Are you generally healthy and fit? (Functional, without loads of medication).

» Do you have work that you enjoy?

» Do you have quality relationships with friends, family members, and loved ones?

» Are you free of past guilts and major regrets?

» Do you enjoy your home life?

» Do you have goals for your future?

» Are there things for which you are grateful each day?

» Do you have hobbies that give you pleasure?

» Do you like who you are (nobody's perfectly pleased with all characteristics and qualities, but are you basically satisfied?)

» Are you living in balance (without excessive debts or indulgences)?

If you answered yes to 8-10 of the above questions, congratulations, you are living the good life!

If you answered yes to 6-7 of the above questions, you are living with a fair level of satisfaction.

If you answered yes to 5 or less, you could definitely use more luster in your living!

Start defining what a quality life is for you today. It's never too late. Then go for the gusto!

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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