By John Roy
May 8, 2018
Have you seen the good life? I’ve been told it’s out there somewhere.
Miller beer once urged us to seek the “high life.” As of yet, I haven’t found anyone advertising the “good life.” On the other hand, we all hear about the “good life,” so maybe word-of-mouth is the only advertising it needs. Rarely have I found someone admitting they are living the good life — most are still looking for it. Like the Loch Ness monster, we have a few sightings but nothing definitive.
The most deceptive part of this whole search is, while no one confesses to the good life, many of us do pretend to have it. I realize this sentence does not make sense but then, neither does our masquerade. We travel here, and then there; purchase that, drive this, and make sure that our outward appearance is impressive, but we don’t call our life the good life. It might be because our health is failing, or our relationships are breaking down, or we are addicted to something that robs us of joy. Of course, it could be because we always want something more than what we have — to live over there, not over here; or drive that not this.
Maybe the good life, like the Loch Ness monster, is more of a myth than a reality? A myth can be defined and retold, but it cannot be touched or experienced firsthand. We perceive others as having the good life, but maybe it is only a different life. Two cars pull up to the traffic light; one person is driving a new Hummer while the other is driving a 1984 Chevy Silverado truck. The driver of the old truck envies the man who owns the shiny Hummer, wishing he had the money to drive a flashy, new car. The driver of the Hummer envies the truck driver’s lack of car payments and wishes the Hummer could make him happy instead of being a giant prop. What both drivers do have in common is life, and how they see life can make it bad, good, meaningful, tragic, or satisfying.
The irony is we are probably already living the good life and don’t take full advantage of it. Like the husband in an old Kenny Chesney song, we are searching for what we already have.
Well, me and my lady had our first big fight
So I drove around ’till I saw the neon lights
Of a corner bar, It just seemed right, So I pulled up
Not a soul around but the old barkeep
Down at the end and looking half asleep
But he walked up and said what’ll it be?
I said the good stuff
We struggle with our idea of what the “good stuff” is. At least we’ve been told it’s “Southern Comfort” whiskey on a steamy Saturday night or a Margarita at the beach. Yet, we have an idea that maybe what we’ve been told is wrong. Like the good stuff, maybe the “good life” is found in the place we least expect it.
He didn’t reach around for the whiskey
He didn’t pour me a beer
His blue eyes kinda went misty
He said, you can’t find that here
‘Cause it’s the first long kiss on a second date
Momma’s all worried when you get home late
And droppin’ the ring in the spaghetti plate ’cause your hands are shakin’ so much
And it’s the way that she looks with the rice in her hair
Eatin’ burnt supper the whole first year
And askin’ for seconds to keep her from tearin’ up
Yeah man, that’s the good stuff
He grabbed a carton of milk and he poured a glass
And I smiled and said I’ll have some of that
If the good stuff can be found in your first long kiss, maybe the good life is easier to find than we expected. Could the good life, like the good stuff, be found right under our nose, in our photo albums or bed next to us? In addition to this, what makes the good life good is not merely what we have, or who is in our lives. The good life is more than a noun — something we are — it is an action verb. It’s something we do, a way we think. In short, the good life is in the way we share ourselves.
Living the good life has more to do with what we are willing to share and less to do with what we have. The good life is not reserved for a specific age bracket, economic group, or educational level. The good life is being lived by those who can keep their eyes on their own lives while reaching out to help others.