This I Believe

Jack - Riverdale, Utah
Entered on January 20, 2008
Age Group: 65+

I’m 74 and I love life more now that any other time of my life. This has been a long time coming, but now that it’s here for me I’m ready to face the rest of my waning years knowing that joy is everywhere around me and in everything I do.

I grew up in a religious environment that put demands on me that I should believe in the religious dogma that was part of everyone’s lives with whom I associated and lived. So not knowing any better, I adopted those beliefs in trust and hoped that someday I would have that “burning in my bosom” knowing those principles were true. However, it never happened. Then one day about 20 years ago a friend of mine asked me what I believed in. I began to stammer out a pat answer, but as I talked and tried to answer this question, I suddenly realized I didn’t know what I believed.

I never forgot what my friend asked and knew that this was something I had to resolve sometime in my life. That revelation began to take me on a journey that has not stopped but brings me closer each day to what I truly believe. The key to it lies in a number of things I have adopted as ways I run my life. First, that I am responsible for everything that happens in my life. That means that I have no one to blame but myself for all the things I do or what happens to me. When things happen that I don’t like, I simply ask these two questions of myself: How did I create that? And, do I want this to happen again? If I am willing to pay the price of not having it happen again, it won’t.

Second, I have come to know that everything that occurs in my life, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant has a lesson in it for me. I can look at that lesson and learn from it or I can ignore it knowing full well that I will continue to get the lesson over and over again until I learn it. Then I can go on to another lesson.

Third, wherever I go I approach everyone I meet with a pleasant smile and very often a nod or verbal greeting. Speaking to or greeting someone I don’t know surprises many people, but almost always solicits a return that is positive by way of a greeting back, a nod or a smile from them. Being in this attitude all the time seems also to be infectious, as many strangers with whom I come in contact, even before I can do my thing, nod and greet me. In many places I have been this is very unusual and when I have mentioned it to my family or friends, they are astounded and wonder how this can be.

By these three principles now I live my life.