With the holidays comes our natural impulse to review the previous year and, especially for us Thanksgiving-observant Americans, what we are grateful for. The big one we often overlook is that we are alive. That is not guaranteed and at any point in time it could change. Perhaps because of my age, I’ll be 64 next week, the concept of radical aliveness has entered my thinking. If this were the last year of your life, and you knew it, how would you be living today? Would you be doing the things you love to do with the people most important to you?
It struck me earlier this week as I was skiing up on the mountain on a glorious sunny day with almost no one there, what a wonderful moment this was. My body flying down the hill in this incredibly beautiful place, how remarkable this moment was and how fully alive I felt. Then I reflected on how I could have done this last year, and the year before, but I chose not to, and how this year something seems to have shifted — my trajectory has veered from omnipresent-work-focused to one of being as happy as I can be as often as I can. This flies directly in the face of my somewhat Calvinist upbringing. Maybe it was about time to re-examine what is actually of value. The work I did not do that morning got done later in the day, probably with more speed and sparkle than it would have otherwise.
My Thanksgiving day advice is to tell someone you love in detail how much you appreciate them, to go buy tickets to a show that would make you happy (Taylor Swift tickets will get resolved soon for all of you ageless superfans), and start prioritizing doing the things that make you smile, that make you grin in a way that you did as a kid. Happiness is a positive epigenetic signal; science says you will live longer because of it.
Onward and upward,