Ten things that make for Joyful Living are:
Enough time to love, laugh, and create something brand new.
- When I was young I was working overtime, and trying to get a college education at night. The little joy in my life came from work and learning. By the time I got home I was too tired to enjoy my family. Now that I am retired there is a danger of having too much time, and I must be diligent to fill the time with meaningful activities. For me, that means travel, photography and cuddling with my Lady Love.
A past that I don’t regret and a future that I don’t fear.
- Decisions have consequences, and fortunately, I made mostly good ones. Even with several divorces behind me. The first marriage produced children that make me proud, the second produced financial independence from a business that we built and sold. The third was heavily invested in rescuing a lady who was into personal growth, a goal that we shared for a decade. While all those divorces were expensive there was little animosity and I am still friends with Barbara with whom I shared a quarter century. Death must be near now that I am past 80, but I have been extremely fortunate in this life and have few regrets. I can feel everything wearing out and shutting down, yet I have more joy in my life than ever before.
A healthy body with only mild aches and pains at age eighty.
- Growing old is not for sissies! Losing sight, hearing, strength, stamina, and gaining a new ache or pain every year could make joy elusive. I have been very fortunate so far and the time may come when I will welcome death, but for now this is as good as it gets despite losing much of my health and wealth. People are as happy as they decide to be, and the time comes when being alive and still active is enough!
Just enough finance to be free from worry with any excess being used to help others.
- I started married life in a rented chicken coop behind someone’s home. The coop had been remodeled with a tiny kitchen and bath. It is safe to say that we were poor. Thirty years later I was a millionaire, and shortly after that a multi-millionaire. That was NOT a joyful time in my life! Now multiple divorces have made me an ex-millionaire and I am happier than ever. Be very careful what you wish for. The money will buy lots of trouble.
Friends to share the journey.
- The real value in life comes from successful relationships, continual learning, and personal growth. I have not ever been the type of person to have hundreds of “friends”. Being a bit of weird genius type it is not easy for me to make close relationships, but when I do they are solid.
Travel has always been important to me and I have visited nearly 100 countries.
- If I was asked to choose between what I learned in a University and what I learned through travel, I would quickly reply that travel was more valuable. Schools try to mold everyone into the same pattern. Travel teaches that there many “right” ways to do things, which encourages thinking out of the box.
A good partner that accepts me as I am, and needs me as much as I need her.
- This may be the most important point, for the wrong partner can suck all the joy out of your life. Relationships are complex and difficult, and true compatibility is rare. People often rush into relationships for many of the wrong reasons, often with dire consequences.
Giving back to my community
- in the form of offering my management skills to trade organizations, Chamber of Commerce, Photography Clubs, and Home Owner’s Associations has given me a great deal of satisfaction despite the time demand and frequent problems.
Beauty in the works of man and nature, to enjoy and contemplate
- Photography has taught me to see beauty where others do not, and my passion for photography has led me to visit places that I otherwise would never visit. Many of my photographs are more creations than captures, and that adds greatly to the joy in my life.
Dogs, more joy per pound than any other.
Enough is enough. Too much only creates new problems.
Happiness is not getting what you want. It is wanting what you have.
About the Author
Jack Harwick is an 80-year-old, former aerospace engineer who helped put planes in the sky, satellites in space, and men on the moon. He left aerospace to start his own electronic security business, which is now a division of Honeywell Corp. He is very creative and has been issued a US patent for the PanoFix photo accessory. Jack has had many interests that have come and gone, like magic, cars, and architecture, but photography has been a constant passion for over sixty years. Relationships have always been a struggle with four failed marriages. Because of those failures, self-improvement has been actively studied for the last two decades, with varying results, but general improvement.