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I'm a 54 year old Husband, Father of Four Daughters, Pastor and Vice Principal of a private K-12 school on Long Island.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Live a Life of Quality, not Quantity...a guest post

I received this e-mail from Sarah Scrafford the other day so here goes.

Hi Ed,

I prepared an article entitled "Live a Life of Quality, not Quantity" for your site for you to consider posting, as well as included my by-line (with a link to our site) underneath it. I tried to come up with something that seemed like it would fit your audience as well as was something I knew enough about to write fairly confidently on. I hope you'll consider posting the article, but in no way should you feel obligated to, as I know you've worked to develop a good audience and tone.

Live a Life of Quality, not Quantity

If only life were a science laboratory, if only we had graduated pipettes and burettes measure how much we’ve lived – the measure of every emotion the human psyche has ever been through – we would all be happier people. If we could take stock of all the positive and negative feelings that we’ve had, and prepare a balance sheet with the profits and losses neatly separated and listed, we would be able to understand our net worth.

Unfortunately, there are some things in life that just cannot be measured – the quality of life is one of them. We cannot put numbers on the happiness that makes us want to jump up and dance, on the sadness that makes us cry, the fear that makes us cringe, the embarrassment that makes us want to disappear in a puff of smoke, the guilt that makes us shifty-eyed, the pride that makes our hearts swell up like balloons, the disappointment that pricks those balloons and deflates them, and on every other emotion we have ever felt.

Sometimes, there’s no black or white – the shades of grey creep in when we experience a mix of emotions that by their very nature seem to contradict each other. But in the context of the situation, it all makes perfect sense. Happy tears, guilty pleasures – they’re just two examples of the kinds of grey shades.

If you’ve ever felt that your life could be much better, you have to work at improving its quality, because the quantities of all the whites and blacks you experience add up and contribute to making you either satisfied or miserable at the end of each day. Each morning, don’t wonder about the number of days left in your life; instead, think of how much life you can put into each day. And here’s a list to get you started:

· Set aside some time for yourself, no matter how busy you are taking care of your children, your work or other people. Do something that you enjoy – read a book, do a little gardening, take a walk, go shopping, call a friend, or just do nothing at all if that’s your pleasure.
· Don’t feel guilty about time spent on yourself.
· Spend only what you can afford – splurging on extravagances using your credit card may give you that momentary high, but once the bills come in, depression creeps in through the crack in the door.
· Set a work-related target for yourself, and achieve it.
· Get in at least a half hour of exercise and fresh air. If you’re overweight, map out a strategy using a sensible mixture of diet and exercise to get back in shape.
· Do not hold on to grudges. It’s not worth your time and effort to plot someone else’s downfall.
· Spend time with a child – instead of yelling and screaming every time he/she breaks one of your rules, enjoy the moment, relish the fact that you can slip on the cloak of childhood again for just a few minutes, and wonder in the ability of a child to see things for what they really are.
· No matter what happens during the day, don’t let it affect the days that follow. Sleep on it and wake up to a new day instead of worrying and feeling stressed. Problems do not go away just because you worry, so use the time you spend worrying to try and put a positive spin on things.
· Set aside days where you have no schedule at all – simply do what you feel like that very minute.
· Take a vacation once a year
· Don’t judge other people for what they do and who they are; eliminate gossip sessions and focus on what you need to do to make yourself a better person
· Try doing something nice for someone else

The quality of life is a subjective issue – what’s good for the goose does not have to be good for the gander as well. It’s up to you to assess the factors that make you feel good and incorporate some or all of them into your everyday routine.

This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of Care Plans. She invites your questions and writing job opportunities at her personal email address: sarah.scrafford25@gmail.com.
Thanks for the good advice Sarah!
Grace and Peace,

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