Living can be a much better experience with a few positive changes.
| The living of life is one of the greatest mysteries of life itself. We must always remember that life is not chosen by us who live it, but rather, the manner or method of living is chosen. We should never consider that our life has been lived to the fullest measure while there remains life to be lived and enjoyed. Nor should we reckon that our life has been lived to the extent that there was no need for the thought of improvement. Never should we see ourselves as having reached that sacred plateau where there exists a quasi-perfection. We should all seriously consider the improvement of our lives in any way we can.
No one would seriously consider setting out on a journey without first setting aside a time for preparation. It will be no different when we determine to improve our lives. It would be wise if our preparation began with the understanding that our attempt to improve our state of being will be a difficult one. The central reason for this difficulty is that improvement requires the one thing most of us lack in copious supply: discipline. Discipline is a word that evokes a negative reaction from most people. However, discipline doesn't have to be a negative experience. There are several definitions for discipline. The one I believe most closely meets our present context, states, "a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity." When you look at discipline in that way you should easily recognize how discipline undergirds the whole of life. Without some level of discipline, nothing will be lastingly achieved. Whether we are speaking of love, family, friendship, or career, discipline is the sure foundation of all.
We have all been to the bookstore and noticed how many volumes there were under the heading of self-help, or, books on improving our quality of life. Many of these books are sold to people who know they need to make a change and would like to do so. There is, however, very often a short circuit between the realization and the will. We so often want to change our lives but continue to have those nagging doubts as to whether the time and effort it will take to succeed is worth it, not to mention the fear that we may fail. These fears and foreseen difficulties are the reason why so many determine to settle for a sort of mediocrity. We, at least, know how to live the life we have while embarking into unknown territory is a somewhat scary prospect. We, therefore, stay where we are and put those changes off until we are more prepared. The problem is, we are usually never going to be prepared.
I don't wish to get too far ahead before I mention a particular group. These individuals will offhandedly dismiss any consideration of change or improvement for the simple fact that they see themselves as needing no improvement. They might use the old cliche "if it ain't broke don't fix it." The only problem with that attitude is that it is usually broken and people refuse to see it. Ask those around you if they think you need to change some things. They may be teething at the bit to tell you.
Without assuming to pronounce judgment upon anyone, we could ask why young men very often become fat old men? While it is true that youth cannot keep the sands of time from slipping through the smooth fingers that attempt to hold it, it is not true that the battle of the bulge is an equally foregone conclusion. The fact is, keeping one's self in a reasonably healthy state is very much a choice founded to a great extent on discipline. We often hear people say of others that, "they let themselves go." Meaning that their body has gone to shot. Such is often the case. You may notice this factor most personified in Hollywood. You often see those articles that bait us with seeing what the heartthrob or beauty of the past looks like today. Of course, some have aged terribly, while others have kept themselves up and simply taken on an appearance of distinction. Whether it has to do with the indifference of some or the genetic makeup of others, who can say. One thing we can say is that the ravages of time can be a painful result to witness. Another thing you hear people say is that they are "sick and tired" This can just be a figure of speech, or, it can be true. If it is physically true, there is a definite reason for it. There are countless people in our society who feel this way because they have done nothing to keep themselves from feeling that way. They smoke, drink - maybe too much - and burn the candle at both ends. If they don't take care of themselves, it is not in any way a surprise if they feel run down and out-of-sorts And yet, despite trudging through each day, feeling as though it will be their last, they do nothing to change their condition.
They could change even little things that would make a difference, both psychologically and physically. Take a walk around the block, cut back on the fried food and sweets, and do the best they can to quit smoking if that is a problem. They could start reading and try developing a taste for classical music. Don't give me that look. These are suggestions that can make a world of difference, and it may only cost you a few dollars for that new book.
Allow me to close on a personal note. Several years ago, I allowed myself to gain weight. Before I knew it, I weighed in at 225 lbs. That is a big gain, considering that I was usually around 175 to 180. One day the proverbial light came on and I set out to lose the weight. I was able to lose 45 lbs. through watching my diet and a running regimen which I continue to this day. That was around five years ago, and I can say that I have been able to keep most of that weight from returning. It isn't easy. I must work at it, and some days are easier than others - especially during the holidays. Another thing I did was learn to read again. I had never liked reading in school. When I entered the ministry in my early twenties I didn't have much of a choice. By and by I developed a love of reading, and now I couldn't live without my books and my writing. All I am saying is that changes and improvement can be done, and they can change your life more than you can presently realize. Don't wait another year, start today. But remember the saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day" Start small and end big. I remember one day when I was out running. I would regularly pass this very heavyset young man who was walking. We would exchange hellos and bits of encouragement. One day when I saw him I noticed that he wasn't walking anymore, he was running. You see how it starts.