Up High

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

airplane shadow on freeway

We all want to be up high. As young children at a parade, we tell our parents to lift us up high. As adults, we strive to climb the social or corporate ladder to raise ourselves up high.

What’s the big deal with being so high? Does it make us happier or more content? The race to the top is fraught with victims trying and failing to claw and scratch their way to the apex of the mountain.  We are competitive beings.  We grow up with emphasis on besting another no matter who that other might be: friend, acquaintance, co-worker, parent, sibling, even our own offspring.  And, the besting portion comes in any form that stratifies folks–someone always higher by some arbitrary measurement than someone else.

Everyone seems to want to surround themselves with the good life which so many identify as material possessions.  However, according to the Hedonic Treadmill, it never satisfies, it only makes its practitioners crave ever more of that same stuff.

Is it possible to just be satisfied?  Can we be okay with where we are in life, even though that guy over there has more money, a bigger house, more successful children, or a later model car?  It’s hard because that’s not what we were taught in our families, at school, and in our society.  However, that constant dissatisfaction and competition grows tiresome.  Manifesting in the form of jealousy, anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness and similar outcomes, it takes a huge toll on our physical and mental well-being.

How do you walk away from always wanting to be up high, up higher, up highest?  First, you have to recognize you have that affliction.  It may be so ingrained that it’s hard to spot.  Then, you have to want to cut it free–really, really want to.  You will have to formulate a plan of action on how to go about it–steps to take.  This is different for everyone, but with some honest thought, you can arrive at your own customized list.

It could involve minor changes such as volunteering to help those less fortunate or giving away certain possessions.  It could be as drastic as quitting a job, moving away from a neighborhood, or even cutting certain family members and friends loose.

Finally, you must work at it daily as you must for any change of long-term habits.  It may take the same length of time to defeat as it took to become entrenched–years probably.  Yet, if you want it badly enough…

Buddha was thought to have been born into a privileged life which he renounced to become an ascetic and pauper.  Hey, if Buddha can give it all up in pursuit of enlightenment, maybe there’s a chance for us.


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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, successful aging

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