Best Lives

It’s just us here, so I’m going to be radically honest for a moment. This “live your best life” stuff vexes me.

Perhaps I am overly sensitive, but I can’t help but hear something judgmental in this trope. Like somehow the broken garbage disposal, or the kid puking on the couch, the endless conference calls, and the ridiculously aggressive Bermuda grass in the yard are all manifestations of a lack of will. I don’t seem to realize that all these troubles would disappear with a better attitude and some glitter bombs. 

 But what if this IS our best life? What if this life is the best one, because it’s the one we actually have? This is our “one wild and precious life,” to quote the poet Mary Oliver, and are you really trying to tell me that if only I traveled more, or drank the right super juice, wore the right brand of shirts, or hummed a mantra day in and day out I could find a better one?

 I believe that everybody is already doing the best they can. Over and over, day in and day out, we all make the best decisions that we can in the short moment we are given to do it using what information that we have at the time. And from where I sit, you're doing a great job. I'm doing a great job. With all the cacophany and the rushing around, we're all doing one helluva job, thankyouverymuch. I don't think that any of us are somehow standing between our lives and their greatest potential no matter what all the gurus on the tee vee and in the magazines might say. Rather than let them convince us to buy whatever they're selling, might it be more useful instead to try to focus in on those moments when we are asked to make a call, to choose heads or tails, and try to stretch them out a bit? 

 Here’s what I mean. Take a deep breath in. And now let it out. Go ahead, do it again, we’ll wait. 

 Did you notice that moment at the top of breath, when you weren’t inhaling anymore but weren’t quite exhaling yet either? You’re like a child on a swing, reaching her toes toward the sky and reaching the point of suspension when she is truly airborne; feeling the slip from gravity itself, right before pumping her feet behind her to plunge back down toward earth. That’s the moment, right there, when you are already living your best life. That’s the pause in which you make your call, you choose your path, you answer the question. And if, say, that choice wasn’t ideal—you didn’t listen to the voice asking if there was a spoon in that disposal, or you thought you didn’t really need to get that trash can in front of the kid who ate a whole sleeve of Oreos—so what? Just observe it. You’ll hit the peak back behind the swing set any second now, and during that pause you can apply what you learned to another choice. And then another one, and another, each one applying just a little bit more hardearned wisdom.

 The best life is the one we have been given. It may come with weeds, but also with blossoms. There may be the occasional bout of puke, but so many more moments of laughter. Every seemingly interminable meeting brings, too, chances to learn patience and calm. 

 Welcome to your best life. Take a deep breath in and go ahead and live it. You're still doing a great job, and when you come to the studio to practice alongside all the rest of us, we'll be sure to remind ourselves of that.