Each culture, each generation, each family and each person has a view on what living right means. Whether it is about the traditions you uphold, your religious beliefs, your code of honour, or just how you treat your fellow human beings and yourself.
Living right is never easy. There are many expressed and unexpressed expectations within your own family alone. When you venture out of the comfort of your home, it gets even worse.
Not only is it hard to live up to expectations at home as well as in school, among friends, at the workplace, on social media, or wherever you are active, it is practically impossible.
What got me started on this blog on living right? A newspaper article that explained how today’s business leaders are expected to sleep right. Not just well, but right.
Gone are the heroic nights of business or trade union negotiations, the sleepless days of preparation for a merger, sale or acquisition.
Today head hunters look for tireless business leaders, who sleep right, eat right, exercise right, and balance their work and family time perfectly. Ideally they look good, smell good and make you feel good too.
You might think that making the right decisions would be the most important criterion. Yes and no.
The more people are encouraged to be their own media, their own life coach, and the captain of their own vessel when navigating the workplace, the more conflicting their expectations regarding their leaders will become.
Future business leaders may need to “inspire followers” in addition to having a clear business vision and solid management know how. At least if they are to succeed in anything that requires innovative thinking.
All this living right that leaders are expected to do may well qualify them as inspiring modern superheroes. Or not.
The risk is, of course, that you end up with a compelling package with little or no substance. Or just a boring testimonial to the latest way that head hunters got it all wrong.
What else is there to living right? It seems that most of us are coping, rather than living, if my newspaper is to be believed.
It sounds profound. It is all about taking your time. To be there for yourself, and thereby to be a better you for everyone else. In addition to sleeping and eating right, of course.
Looking back, it is safe to say that not only did I work too much and sleep too little by today´s standards, I sometimes juggled too many balls in the air, and some of them fell down in the process. There was little time to create a better me.
I did have some moments of personal enlightenment though.
One was the day I realised that my culture and code of honour may not be the only absolutely right one; that life is several shades of gray rather than black and white.
Another was the day I realised that my work as a parent was basically done before I fully understood what I was doing.
Not to mention the day I realised that loving my spouse is a work always in progress. Each year has its own ups and downs.
Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the day we met. A lucky day for me, dear life partner of mine.
I was startled when my newspaper proclaimed that men are to be pitied these days. Their role in decision-making at home is all but nonexistent, it seems.
This got me so worried, I actually did a relationship test on the newspaper site. It’s official now, I live in a balanced relationship.
What is our secret you may wonder? Surprise,surprise. It is the fact that my husband lords over the living room TV and decides what music we play when he is home. I know this because I played around with the answers to see what triggered the result.
I won’t bore you with other examples of things that the test found significant, such as our furniture buying process. It suffices to say that the process is painful to watch, but the end result is usually good, when we finally agree.
Who knew these things could be so crucial to our relationship? Without my trusted newspaper I might one day have staged a music mutiny, and totally driven my marriage on the rocks. Now its back to Spotify on my headphones for me.
Living right may be more about feeling that you are living right than about what you are actually doing. So be sure you have the facts of your life straight, before you start making changes. If you start making changes, that is.
You may tell yourself that you don’t want to be responsible for the day-to-day managing of everything related to your home, your child, or your job, even if you have taken on that responsibility. But heaven forbid that someone else tries to decide something on “your turf”.
Or you may tell yourself that you resent someone else managing it all. But again, heaven forbid that you yourself actually would take full responsibility.
Whether you’re the manager or the one being managed, you probably ended up there because it suited you.
And if you live in between, you have to be prepared to take the heat and defend your turf, be it the music played, or the living room TV.
Retirement is a life phase that seems to trigger the need to live right in many. Not a day passes without my newspapers offering advice on how to live longer and have a more fulfilling life. Everything from perky stories about retirees hired by banks to handle their more mature customers to glowing reports on heroic, age-defying athletic feats by seniors.
Self-betterment aside, I would be happy to just be recognised as my ordinary self these days. When you are young, you have to prove that you are mature enough. When you get older, you have to prove, once again, that you know what you are doing.
Which brings me to my final question today.
How do you live right, when you have this eternal 17-year-old mind, somewhat seasoned by later learning and experience, but still looking for new ideas and experiences, in the body of a senior citizen with the personality of a nastyoldlady?
When your body once again determines how you are treated, rather than your mind and personality.
I will tell you when I find out. I am still working on that one.
Maybe I will make a career out of being the ultimate “Age right” guru yet – and maybe both cows and pigs will fly.