From a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this thought provoking quote, which begs the question that is today’s headline. “To be able to look back upon one’s past life with satisfaction is to live twice.” (Lord Acton)
The obvious question is to assess what you will see when you look back over your life and whether you will be satisfied with what you see. One must start with an understanding of the term satisfaction. The dictionary defines it as a noun that means – fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this. You can easily substitute words like hopes, goals or dreams into the definition. There will always be things that you might wish had gone differently in your life and maybe a few things (let’s hope just a few) for which you have regrets; however, if you can look back over your life and be pleased with what you see, then it was a life well lived.
If you ask older people what they are most proud of or satisfied with in their lives you most often might get a reply that points to having successfully raised their children. A long and loving marriage is also a very common answer. Some might point to success and achievement in the business world, but that is seldom the measure that the common man holds his life up to, in order to measure his satisfaction with his life. Some might recall the satisfaction of having given service to help others and some might point to their relationship with God and its impact on their lives.
I believe that the search for satisfying moments in your life will yield many more instances of things that involved other people than occasions when you acquired some object of your desire – a new car or a boat or a house. True satisfaction come from sharing moments and events and achievements with others. It is not necessarily a moment of personal recognition but more one of shared joy, of shared accomplishment and of shared satisfaction.
You really don’t have to wait until you are old to look back over your life so far and seek out those moments of satisfaction in your life. Relive those moments and let them help you set your priorities for the future. Let those moments help you realize that it is seldom the “me” things in life that are truly satisfying; it is the “we” times that make you the happiest. Whether they are the intimate moments shared with a loved one or the group happiness of a shared effort, they will help you realize that it’s not “all about me”, it’s about working with and serving the needs of others that creates memorable and satisfying events in our lives.
So, I ask the question that makes up the headline above – “Will you be satisfied when you look back at your life?” The good news is that there is still time to change the ending, still time to refocus your life on the really important things – the people in it – and still time to make memories that you can look back on with satisfaction.
I’ll end today’s post with a little song that talks about the alternative – I can’t get no satisfaction by the Rolling Stones. Don’t be dissatisfied with your life when you look back.