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Living Simple: Perspective In Our Lives

Updated on December 29, 2014
Teresa, thank you for the lesson in life!
Teresa, thank you for the lesson in life!
Life is a gift!
Life is a gift!
Thank you Little Joe! Life is truly good!
Thank you Little Joe! Life is truly good!

72/58….my blood pressure reading on November 16, 2006. I was told I was lucky to be alive, that one more night of drinking and my body systems would have shut down. Instead I spent three days in a hospital bed and twenty-seven more days in rehab, and at the end of those thirty days I discovered a rather important fact: I did not want to die.

When one tiptoes through the garden of death one gains a rather interesting perspective on life. I have carried that perspective with me for a little over five years now and it is that perspective I would like to share with you now.

LITTLE JOE

I knew a wonderful man, a friend and mentor, for ten years in Alcoholics Anonymous. Every time I saw him I would ask how he was doing and he would say, “Life is good!” He would share at meetings (with forty-five years of sobriety people tended to listen to him) and not once in those ten years did I ever hear him speak about his problems or things that were troubling him. Instead he would talk about how wonderful his life was and how much he loved sobriety.

I couldn’t help but wonder how that was possible? I mean sometime during those ten years the man must have had a bad day, right? It is not humanly possible to go ten years without something bothering you. Is it? The car has to break down at some point; the dog has to die or the roof develops a leak or something. So one day I asked him what was up? How was it possible that he never had any problems? He calmly explained that compared to the living hell he had lived when he drank booze that every day was indeed a good one and compared to death life is good. Period!

Joe had a heart attack a couple years ago and was back at a meeting two weeks later and same thing, life is good! Not a word about the heart attack or his failing health, just that life was good. He died two months after that of a heart attack he could not recover from, but even though he is gone his words live on with me: life is good!

TERESA

I had a student back in the late 90’s who was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect in her case so severe that she was wheelchair bound for life. The first day she came to our school at the start of sixth grade I was enchanted by this smiling bundle of energy, so full of life and joy and a steely resolve that would put most of us to shame. Not once in the three years that I taught her did I see her feeling sorry for herself. Every single day she would wheel into the classroom, smile and say good morning and then go about her day as if nothing was wrong. Perhaps, to her, nothing was wrong!

I had the chance to see Teresa a year ago at a garage sale where she was helping out so her grandmother would have some company. She had gone on through high school and college and was at that time (and still is) a high school counselor and surely she is loved by the students at her school. She had the same smile and the same outlook on life when I saw her then and I doubt seriously if anything is going to change her view of life in the future.

DOROTHY

A friend of mine a couple years ago was the exact opposite of Teresa. Dorothy was a woman in her late forties with a chronic sore back and an unhappy marriage. Ask her how she was doing on any given day and you might as well find a comfortable chair because you were in for at least thirty minutes of describing how horrible her life was and how there was no hope and why did all of this misery have to happen to her.

I tried my best to be her friend and help her when she needed it; I hung in there for two years lending a helping hand and listening when she needed to talk, but at the end of two years nothing had changed and I found that whenever I was with Dorothy my mood would darken. I finally ended that friendship because I had made a conscious decision back in 2006 to surround myself with positive people. As I explained in an earlier article my first priority must be to myself or I will return to the darkness that Dorothy can’t seem to escape.

OLD ABE

My favorite story about Abraham Lincoln had to do with the year 1862, at arguably the low point for the North during the Civil War. In February of that year President Lincoln’s eleven year old son Willie died and Lincoln was devastated. After the funeral the President retired to his bedroom and did not come out for three days; no word from him, no instructions for his armies, not one Presidential decree. Those close to the President were obviously concerned for his emotional and dare they say mental health.

Finally after those three days Lincoln emerged from his bedroom and after his aide asked him how he was Lincoln told him….and I paraphrase….that man is the only member of the animal kingdom who can choose to be happy or choose to be sad, and that he (Lincoln) chooses to be happy.

IT’S ALL ABOUT CHOICE FOLKS

This is the greatest lesson I learned during my thirty-day stay in the treatment center. Compared to death life looks pretty damn good to me, but I found out over the past five years that there is so much more than life just being okay. With each day that passes I gain a greater appreciation for life. With each day that passes my senses are more aware: colors seem more vivid, sounds more detailed and smells much more aromatic.

I read once that we come into this world kickin’ and screamin’ and we leave it the same way. Most of us, the high percentage of us, hold onto those last breaths with a fierce determination. Why do we do that? I believe it is simply a matter of not wanting to die, that we value life so much that we don’t want it to end. Which of course raises a question: if we value our lives so much that we fight to the bitter end to breathe one last breath, then why don’t we value the times when we are just living life on a daily basis?

If someone were to tell you….guarantee you….that you would be dead in two years how would you live those two years? Would you live them depressed or would you squeeze every last second of happiness and love out of them? Well guess what? Comparatively speaking, considering the whole picture of existence, you really don’t have much longer to live. Are you going to be miserable, upset by everything that goes wrong in your life, floundering in a sea of self-pity, or are you going to be like Lincoln and choose happiness and by extension life as it was meant to be?

Allow me a little leniency because I am going to combine two of my favorite farewells, part from the Irish and part from Mr. Spock. May the wind always be at your back and may you live long and prosper. It’s all about perspective, folks, and the choice is yours. The choice is always yours!

To order my new Kindle book about Lifestyle Choices go to: http://www.amazon.com/Lifestyle-Choices-ebook/dp/B007ZV9G2U/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336064586&sr=1-3

For more Lifestyle Choices articles see below:

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Saying-Goodbye-To-A-Life-That-Wasnt-Working

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Lifestyle-Choices-What-Will-Your-Legacy-Be

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Moonlake, thank you for the visit. Yes, I eliminate the Dorothy's from my life now; it just isn't worth it to me any longer.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      There are lots of people like DOROTHY. They drive you crazy crying over their life not once ask how you are doing. I stay away from them I try but I just have to not be friends I get to depressed. Sometimes life can be hard but it can also always get worse.

      Interesting hub enjoyed reading.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dr. Phyllis, that had me laughing. I agree, Lincoln was a living monument of strength and character. Have a great weekend and thank you always.

    • Tams R profile image

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      I had a long comment for this, but I will suffice it to say.... I need to work on this. My friends call me Dr. Phyllis, but I need a chair across from myself.

      Lincoln was a strong man!

      Great hub Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sunita, I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read my hub AND comment. I wish you well on your own journey.

    • Sunita-Sharma profile image

      Sunita-Sharma 5 years ago from Los Angeles,California,US

      This so true and close to reality....Wonderful hub!Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mljdgulley, each day is filled with unlimited possibilities. The question is, are we going to limit them or attain them? Thank you for your support.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Kelly thank you; I hope the message is heard loud and clear. I appreciate your support and best of luck to you.

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 5 years ago

      What an inspirational hub Billy. Near death experiences definitely put a different outlook on a person's life. We live in a world that worries more about tomorrow than living today and letting tomorrow take care of itself. Being unhappy is a choice and such a wasteful way to try to live. For me each day is a new day and I wake up wondering what great things I will be shown and who will be there to share them. Voted up and awesome

    • KellyPittman profile image

      Kelly Pittman 5 years ago from Walker, LA

      Loved it and have lots of friends to share it with!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, those are very kind words. I get a little bashful when faced with that kind of praise but I do appreciate it greatly. Thank you!

    • Eric Newland profile image

      Eric Newland 5 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

      This is the single most important hub I've read yet during my tenure at HP. What a powerful and inspirational message! Sharing this all over the place, and with a few of the people I love in particular.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donnaisabella, forgive the typo....obviously I meant to write "when" instead of wne...and thank you again for your comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, you have no idea how much that means to me. I have a big goofy grin on my face right now. I am so happy that this hub touched you in some way. Thank you for making my day with your lovely comment.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      This is the best hub I have ever read! I am serious. Because of the health problems I have had. After on of my worst seizures, when they took me off all of my medications before surgery to see how bad they were, I stopped breathing for over two minutes and then they had to start to breath for me, with a bag for another minute . I used to feel horrible about that. Now, I am thinking differently. wow, thank you so much for this hub

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Windclimber, for some reason I like the last quote the best. Thank you for sharing those quotes and for following me on this journey of mine.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      donnaisabella, you are very welcome and I love the way you put it....what will have been its worth wne we get to the end? Nicely stated! Thank you so much for dropping by.

    • Windclimber profile image

      Windclimber 5 years ago from my boat somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay

      Well done, billybuc! Your tone is very genuine and sincere, and that adds weight to your message. Excellent! I'm bookmarking this and sending it to a few people I know.

      Also, a few related quotes:

      Mark Twain - "Generally speaking, people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

      M. Scott Peck - "Life is difficult. Accept that, and it becomes easier."

      And your buddy Abe Lincoln, during one of his pre-presidency depressions, once said something like, "If you could take the despair I feel and spread it evenly among all the people of Earth, there would not be one smiling face among us." And yet, he moved on and accomplished things. Life IS good.

      Oh, one more: Oscar Wilde - "Seriousness is the last refuge of the shallow."

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      An insightful and provocative perspective. A hub worth reading from beginning to end. You have given us a lot of food for thought and that is truly humbling because sometimes we forget that we actually just living and it will not be forever. Sometimes it amazes me how we hold on, complain, grumble and refuse to be satisfied when in fact it will just be a day and it will be over. What will have been its worth when we get to the end? I choose to live today and enjoy every moment after the blues of realization have settled down. Thanks for writing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tenkay, that is exciting and that makes this article worth writing. I love to read things like that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      King I agree completely and I appreciate you dropping by; I'll take a look at your article shortly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lucid, you are very welcome. We should note that nowhere in the hub did I say it was easy...because it isn't. If I can just make little strides each day then I'm improving and moving in the right direction. Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well shoot, Tammy, now you have me misty-eyed. You know, of course, how much I think of you and how much I appreciate you believing in me when I first started out...so thank you my dear!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ziyena, thank you so much. It's nice to have new followers who take the time to read my stuff and comment. I appreciate you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ImKarn, I understand completely. I often tell people I didn't quit drinking because I was afraid to die...I quit because I was tired of being unhappy...thank you for following along on my journey.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lorne, I appreciate you dropping by and taking the time to comment. May we both make good choices tomorrow and all our days.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, Sandy, thank you! I'm sure glad you are back in my life. Love you!

    • TENKAY profile image

      TENKAY 5 years ago from Philippines

      I forgot, almost. Thank you for reminding me. I choose to live. I choose to be happy.

    • profile image

      theking2020 5 years ago

      What a great hub positivity is the key in any given moment throughout our lives no matter the circumstances we must make the most we can out of them after all we only get one life and we must live it to the fullest. Would love the feedback on my article.

      http://theking2020.hubpages.com/hub/Be-your-own-po...

    • LucidDreams profile image

      LucidDreams 5 years ago from St Petersburg, Florida

      Awesome hub! I have always tried to be an optimist in life myself. This can be a challenge sometimes. Sometimes just getting up and facing the difficulties of each day can be a real bummer! In reality, I look forward to the possibilities and tone out the negativity as much as possible.

      This was a reminder to me that being thankful for each day is important. Thanks Billy!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill, I just wanted to say I KNOW how wonderful you are. I smile every time you publish a hub because I know I get a warm fuzzy feeling. You are a positive person who has mastered positivity. So many of us are so lucky you joined hubpages. I thank you for every thing.

    • ziyena profile image

      ziyena 5 years ago from ... Somewhere Out There ...

      A "good" choice Billy ... :)

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      Excellent hub! I am one that tries to appreciate what i have - while i have it! I have had 2 near death experiences and while i will live life to the fullest - i am not afraid to die. It's all one big cycle. My fear lies in not living fully and with honor..voted up and awesome!

    • Lorne Hemmerling profile image

      Lorne Hemmerling 5 years ago from Oshawa

      You are so right, my friend. IT IS A CHOICE!. Great hub!!!

    • profile image

      Sandy 5 years ago

      Love, Love, Love this article Bill. I have been contemplating all of this for all long time and trying to convince myself to just enjoy life and be happy. Each time something would happen and it would knock me back to square one. I have often asked myself how do you do it? What I needed was an instruction sheet. And now I have it thanks to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, it's always nice to see your smiling face attached to a comment. Thank you once again for visiting with me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell; I for one am glad you continued on and didn't crash and burn. I appreciate you as always.

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Food for thought, another great article!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, this is oh so true, over the years I have had so really horrible things going on, but you have two choices, get on with it and be happy, or go down, so I chose the first one, really inspiring, thanks, cheers nell

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cyndi, any old thing I can do to help you out you just name it. :) Glad you liked it and it gave you an idea; that's what this gig is all about, a community of people sharing and helping. Thank you my dear!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      urmilashukla, thank you and best of luck to you with your lung condition. I appreciate your following and wish you happiness.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Wow. This was a touching, moving hub. You gave me a hub idea, too. I love it when you do that. :) You also are helping me to adopt a "happier" philosophy. :D

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      I totally agree with you. We all have only one life to live so why not live with joy and happiness. This article reminds me of my situation, living with severe lung condition since last 10 years.

      Voted up and inspirational.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      savanahl, I love that...there are no problems in life! How true is that? Thank you for bringing your beauty and wisdom to my site once again; I greatly appreciate you.

    • savanahl profile image

      savanahl 5 years ago

      Very beautiful reflections.

      I read once that there are no problems in life. There are only situations and circumstances. It's how you view them that either makes them a problem or not.

      Life is a precious thing and it's great that you have had people in your life to influence you and help you through the tough times but what's greater than that is that you were able to recognize these people and the lessons they bring. voted up and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      annart, I am thankful that you haven't had any huge problems. Some out there learn much quicker than I did and that's a great thing for sure. :) Have a great day and thank you so much for always taking the time to read my ramblings and comment so nicely.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Great philosophy! I fortunately haven't had any huge problems, though some felt like it at the time, and I have loads of things to be happy about, thank goodness. I greatly admire anyone who has overcome huge difficulties or who lives with huge difficulties and still remains cheerful. It's a lesson to all of us to look at life optimistically. Thank you. Voted up, interesting and beautiful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shimmering, I wish the same to you....I can tell from your beautiful poetry that you understand this lesson very well. Thank you for visiting and peace and love to you always.

    • shimmering Dawn profile image

      shimmering Dawn 5 years ago

      Oh! Life IS good. It is such a blessing to be alive.. even though you walk through the valley of death... I chose life and life in all its fullness... (sorry for having borrowed heavily and put all that into one sentence, but it makes sense to me) Have a blessed day! Peace and love!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well yes, Jacy, death would have been pretty lousy indeed...would have pissed me off as a matter of fact...and you..and the stroke...yep, I'm pretty grateful that we are friends from 3000 miles away...thank you my dear.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jlava73, it can be difficult to remember at times as we get wrapped up in life and all the things that happen to us daily...but bottom line is it is our choice to be happy and I'm glad you realize this as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MosLadder, thanks for dropping by and I'm glad you understand about a positive outlook. Have a great day and best of luck to you.

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      Jacy 5 years ago

      Wow, good hub for me to read, today especially. And thanks for including my link! You've reminded me of all the good that has happened to me, despite my situation. (which you...oh yeah, and I had a stroke. Lol) All the good people who I have been touched by. One of them being YOU, Buddy. My goodness, I'm damn glad you chose life, had you not, I'd feel pretty losy. : ) As usual; excellent reminder.

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 5 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      So True. It is a choice - it can be hard to remember that. Thanks for the reminder.

    • MosLadder profile image

      Chris Montgomery 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Absolutely, you can choose to be happy. I learned that once, and forgot it for a long time. But one day you realize nothing can make you happier than changing and reinforcing your own positive outlook. Thanks for this!