When my grandfather was a young man — around 23 — he returned from World War II, got a job, got married and fathered a child. He worked a blue collar job to support his family, making about $50 a week. Back then, you could live on that. He told me a few years ago that at that time in his life he thought, “Once I start making $100 a week, I’ll be on easy street.”
We’ve all been there. We think once I get this job or once I move into this house or once I get back in shape, everything will come easy for me. Relationships will follow, money will follow, success will follow. But soon, we learn our thinking is flawed.
My grandfather learned that once he started making $100 a week he had two more mouths to feed and more demands on his money. Whenever I spoke to him of my financial situation he would say, “The more you make, the more you spend.” So true, Pop. I wish he were still here to have this conversation with me now because I feel like over the past few months I’ve experienced an epiphany. Here it is:
I’m in the sweet spot of life. Just like when you swing a wooden baseball bat and you connect with a ball, hitting it perfectly on that sweet spot of the bat, driving the ball to the far reaches of the outfield, feeling the power of your wrists, hands and arms flow with an almost electric pulse through your body, I feel like I’ve reached a nadir in my life and my hope is to sustain it.
I’m the type of person who has a checklist for each aspect of his life. Marriage is strong and healthy. Kids are inquisitive, fun and happy. Job is mostly rewarding and, despite some difficulties in advancement, seems to be trending up in terms of satisfaction. I find time to consistently work out and eat well. My friendships are strong, my parents are healthy and my spiritual life is fulfilling. I’m reading and writing voraciously and feel fully plugged into my world. As the t-shirt says, “Life is good.”
For me, the difficult part of this journey to this point in my life has been finding the ability to say, “Yes. I’m happy.” I’ve spent 44 years striving for success, working hard and taking advantage of opportunities that came my way. I’ve watched my money, saved my money and spent my money on items that I hoped would bring a sense of accomplishment. By and large, with a few missteps, I’ve been successful. At 44, finally, I don’t feel like I’m constantly striving any more. That’s not to say that I’m satisfied or leveling off. My desire to crush my competitors at work and my impulse to be the fittest 44-year-old in the neighborhood remains sky high.
The change is that I don’t feel like my next job or next move will be the one that brings me true happiness. I feel like I can honestly and genuinely say that I am living in a moment of true happiness right now.
Will this always remain? Probably not. I’m not a fool. I realize that there’s trouble lurking around every corner and you must guard against it as best you can. But as we work our butts off to achieve for ourselves and family, I feel it’s just as important to sit back and take notice of the achievements in our life and the feeling that those achievements afford us.
When I was a few days away from my wedding a friend of mine dropped a beautiful piece of advice on me. He reminded me that our wedding day goes by so fast that we need to discover a few moments during the day where we turn to our betrothed and simply say, “I’m going to remember this moment right now.” That’s how I feel about life. There are moments or, if you’re lucky, years, where you can look back at and say, “I’m going to remember this time right here. This is a sweet spot in life.”