As a young person growing up in a small town, it was imperative for me (as with many of my peers) to create the kind of future right for myself. There was little to offer in the way of career and at best, one could only aspire to lead a good life involving traditional ‘Town ways’ and yokel paradigms.
Playing sport opened doors to community life, introducing some of the perils faced by young people such as alcohol and drugs yet these never seemed to be anything but a social lubricant. In fact, sport presented at least the equivalent number of opportunities as traditional schooling. Were you to be good at your chosen sport, usually a ‘Normal’ sport, then as a local champion you would be set for life as a local legend.
Other pursuits such as the arts, were greeted with skepticism at best and at worst, with outright discrimination by the standards of today. One was best advised to be part of the team and play by the rules or consider oneself as an outsider and forever find little respect from others.
Whichever course one decided upon, made for either a comfortable social status or that of a burr in the saddles of local yokels. It was part of development to establish oneself as strong, smart and capable so as to make it through this pressure-cooker small town living. The need to be effective with time, prudent with money and setting goals beyond small horizons, was paramount for me.
My own personal development, has been counter to what I was scribed as becoming through being a local.I have had a good education and made a good living in a field which allows for creativity and inter-personal contact with many people. My ‘Local’ early years have taught me to get along well with everybody and even with a difference of opinion, make a friend of a combatant. I happen to now think, the early years of my local life, provided for a resilient nature which gives me courage and strength to continue taking on tasks.
Now as an older person (not that old), I find the smelling of roses both energising and desired. There is still plenty to do and many mountains to climb, but to a point things are pretty damn good. I see all of the decisions of the past for what they were,ie; the past. Some decisions were bad and took me on un-chartered and undesired courses, however they have proven to be pieces of my own jigsaw puzzle and I am now grateful for them. Other decisions were splendiferous and shone throughout. They were truly the roses of time.
In my own personal development, I have come to understand that working too hard (purely relative) can have a negative effect on outlook. With no time to enjoy the fruits of one’s labour, there seems little reason to be wealthy and dead. So a balance is required and I confess to being a strong advocate for working smarter rather than harder. If a job needs doing then find a way to get it done -by some other person. I also understand the desire for a rose garden retirement whereby a person having spent a working career rising early and finishing late, can smell those roses at will.
Which brings me to a point of concern.
It is with great delight I see many young people of today, good people, wanting more than the 9-5 trudge to and from an un-fulfilling job with no prospects. I believe we have reached a tipping point now where people have developed a more balanced view of work and working hours. With family, holidays and a good life in mind, many now are opting to accept for themselves and their families, a kind of utopian approach to living that doesn’t require a giant income to support it. For this insight, we must all be grateful and understanding.
Just having the choice to scale-down working hours and income, to take rose smelling time, is a reflection on the times we are currently enjoying. When I ask myself : When in history was a time of so much stability, freedom and general wealth as today? I find it difficult to answer.
We now live in the best of times. Yes we have wars and we have the poor, the sick, the dis-placed; but in general we have come a long way to get where we are today. It is quite troubling to think that the steps we have taken in getting to this platform , could be jeopardised by a generation of well meaning, well educated rose smellers.
Today’s wealth entitles us to care for ourselves and for all others we share this world with. The platform of riches gives us power to make decisions and to set in motion great plans for our populations future. To blow all the generations of getting us to this point by self indulgent, un-willingness to get out and get going; amounts to carelessness in the first degree.
Whilst I admire the breakthroughs we have made in our development and understanding of ourselves, it is important we utilise this new-found knowledge in the betterment of our world as a whole. Should we go down the path of just living for a good life, and all of us follow this course, then we are doomed to fail.The engine-room of any economy and therefore the general well being of a society, is the will and desire to take that difficult decision and make that extra move in the hope of generating change. Change in circumstances, change in attitude and change in finances.
So the question is: “If we all want to smell the roses, should we just hope the root-stock continues or should we develop a plan to grow and sell that root-stock”?
Living a good life is not only a utopian idea it also makes perfect sense and is something we should all aspire. It doesn’t mean we need to forego the inner-desires to make money, work smart and change the world. As I have said to my son many times : ‘Someone has to do it, so it may as well be you.’ This now means more than it ever has.