Today is Father’s Day. My daughter is taking me out to lunch. All I can think of is how blessed I am. For me everyday is Father’s Day. I am aware of the love of my family on a daily basis and that contributes to my life satisfaction and contentment. It is never easy to be the perfect parent. There are always areas which a child can point to as not being perfect. But as parents we can only do what we can to the best of our ability. Well, I was a single parent to three children and I did my best given the circumstances. I would be the first to acknowledge that I could have done better. Yet the proof lies in the way my adult children treat me. I am grateful I have lived to see that because in my later years their love and the fact that I can see I have done a tolerable job in bringing up good and responsible citizens is what gives me wild pleasure.
In life, especially later in life when we look back, we wonder if we have achieved what we set out to do all those years ago when we were dream-filled teenagers. Have we reached contentment? Have we reached happiness of sorts? In my children I see my greatest achievement and creativity. I am well aware that they would say they reached where they are by their own efforts. But I think even they will acknowledge I had some part in what they have turned out to become.
All this preamble about Father’s Day and in fact most of my blog posts would try to answer the question of what am I about, what have I achieved, how satisfied am I with my life, is happiness per se worth perusing for its own sake. I have luckily reached the age in my life where I do not have to strive to prove myself on a daily basis, whether it be at work or pleasure. I can now look back and assess my life and if I am allowed, to make small corrections in the way my life is heading. I cannot correct the past but I can make amends and change the future.
Here I am coming to why it is essential we should all try and achieve a long and healthy life. This is the best part when you can smile at your successes and try and tie up loose ends. Also the longer you are healthy the more time you have to reap your rewards.
There is a story I tell about a yoga student who went to his teacher and asked why the old yogis in India try for a long lives. “They seem to live in miserable conditions in their caves”, the student said. The teacher on hearing this laughed. He said “They are not miserable. That is your perception. And anyway, they put in a lot of time and effort to achieve a certain state of mind and body. If they died of a heart attack at 35 all that effort would be worthless”.
I would use the same argument to those who say “live well and die young”. It is like switching off a film in the middle of an exciting episode. You need to see life to the end, if you have the courage to do so.