According to the public website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (also commonly known as the CDC), the average life expectancy of Americans at birth is 76.4 years. Females generally outlive the men at 79.3 years versus 73.5 years. The stats fluctuate further when things such as race, ethnicity, and location are taken into consideration.
If one were to run with the premise that, for better or worse, three-quarters of a century is about what one can reasonably expect (assuming that they did their part to not overtly do anything to prematurely hasten their demise), the question that could be asked is what can be done to make the most use of whatever remaining time available?
What does “a life well lived” potentially look like?
There are examples abound of individuals who were born into poverty and despair, but rose from their challenges to become highly respected people who positively influenced the lives of thousands if not millions. There are similar stories of citizens who came into the world surrounded by wealth, resources, and status that took their personal advantages to further make the world a better place for the less fortunate.
And then there is the mirrored side of men and women of varied backgrounds who took the darker journeys of self-absorption and disregard for anyone or anything that did not directly contribute to their own personal happiness or desires. Such souls are self-centered, sometimes cruel, and often oblivious to the negative impact their actions have on the environment immediately around them.
Interestingly enough, both those groups of humans are outliers.
The vast majority of humanity enters into this world with little fanfare, and modest resources, and are mightily affected by the gravitational pull of the stronger personalities immediately within their vicinity. Their ability to maximize the quality of their own lives is based upon such considerations as health, education, adaptability to the environments in which they find themselves, communication and coping skills, etc.
These are the souls that keep the fabric of human civilization intact. They are the ones doing the seemingly thankless job of maintaining and enhancing the infrastructure that facilitates the societies we inhabit.
Not everyone craves widespread praise and validation. Many are perfectly happy just to have lives that allow them to be reasonably comfortable, create the best possible versions of themselves, and set up the conditions to make life easier and more prosperous for future generations.
Sadly, this reality isn’t the case for segments of the population that are already too high to bear, but for those who are fortunate to have genuine opportunities, options, and the agency in which to explore them, the sincere desire to help others achieve similar success are both present and exercised upon.
How is this manifested? It begins with a healthy dose of pragmatism.
When reaching out to someone caught on thin ice, it is very helpful to have a secure footing on something that will not give way and require additional rescuing from another party. No stranded vehicle on the highway is served when the roadside repair truck arrives with no spare gas, and fumes in its tank. Offering financial or medical advice is less impactful when one is in bankruptcy court or is otherwise grossly out of shape.
There’s a time and a place in which life advice and proactive tips can be offered and positively received. Knowing where consistently factual and actionable data exists is helpful, especially when practitioners are living examples versus being cautionary tales.
This inaugural column is intended to be the starting point of a conversation between friends and acquaintances (who have yet to meet), with the desired outcome being that of a community formed, dedicated to positively uplifting and enhancing each other in the weeks, months, and hopeful decades to come.
Any topic, be it from the realms of politics, pop culture, history, science, etc., may show up here in the hopes of providing needed context, scale, and scope of whatever is needed to further illuminate the path towards a life well lived. This column is intended to be a source of concepts and ideas to consider, and not a hardened blueprint or recipe in which to follow syllable by syllable.
Having existed on this mortal coil (at the time of this writing) for over 59 years, this author has now accumulated enough data (gained over a lifetime in various parts of the United States and select foreign parts of the world) in which to begin to make some hopefully salient points and helpful observations. The intent is to exchange information, not talk down to anyone.
A formal invitation is now extended to you, dear reader, to stick around and consider the lessons learned by myself and others of various ages and stages in life. If a hack can be provided to make your human experience easier, and your knowledge of the world a bit fuller, so much the better.
Thank you for taking the time to read these words. May the rest of your day be peaceful and productive, and never forget to live like you really mean it.
itzWicks is a contributing author at Gadsden1.com. You can find him on Twitter (@itzWicks) and MeWe (@itzWicks).