I started with the view that I was wasting the opportunity given to me by my kidney transplant. That as my good fortune came about through the death of another person, I should be living a life that was worthy of that sacrifice. And this brought me to the question of what a worthwhile life consisted of; what things would be valued and developed in a worthwhile life. Or in an ideal universe. After some thought, I came up with these:
|flourishing||Given the circumstances, mere wellness is insufficient – I flourish. I take care of my physical and mental wellbeing, and not just present myself in an authentic way, but live the authentic me.|
|household||My tiny part of the world is a safe haven. A welcoming and comfortable home, a lush abundant garden that supports me and the creatures that live within it.|
|relationships||I have close local friends and a wider circle of international and e- friends. I am an end in myself, not a means to another’s end.|
|pastimes||I have fun and go on adventures – meeting friends and taking international vacations. While I make time to relax and recharge, some might say I grow old disgracefully.|
|spirit||I challenge my thinking, living intentionally and giving back. I courageously act on my convictions in the face of opposition.|
|prosperity||I feel prosperous. My income meets my needs, I have the capacity for choice and the time to fully engage with whatever I am doing.|
These values conclusions are both goals and a decision-making framework.
Ideal universes don’t just happen, we have to decide what they look like and bring them into being. It’s reasonable to say that I am flourishing, but what does that look like. How much do I weigh? How often do I exercise? And more importantly – what am I wearing!
The values are also an excellent framework for decision making, for example:
Katy invites me to join her and some friends to watch a movie at her place. There will be wine and snacks. This event will build relationships, provide a pleasant pastime and lend a feeling of prosperity. Depending on the movie, it might provide an opportunity to develop my spirit. But it probably won’t contribute to flourishing. While flourishing is my greatest value, it doesn’t override the others, so given this single event’s contribution to the overall worthwhileness of life, it should go ahead.
Toseland asks me to join a working bee at his place to help him redevelop his garden. Bearing in mind I’m on immune suppression, doing garden work at his place would expose me to bacteria and diseases in the soil, and left by his dogs. However, there is the relationship to consider, pastimes, spirit and prosperity. So while I probably shouldn’t do the garden work, I could offer to organise a barbeque and some beers for his “workers” instead.
The irony of this is that I am sitting in bed with a cold as the result of some unwise choices… However, no adventure is without risk, and in this instance probably worth the price. So how does this sit with you? Would you sit down and rationally plan your life, or do you let it flow? Are you comfortable with the notion of systematically making personal decisions?
My next step is to try to put some meat on the values bones. I’ll be looking at each of my aspects, formulating targets and developing processes to get me there.
The story so far: