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I'm at a crossroads(again) and I've been thinking about what "better" means. I've been working on making myself and my life better for few years now. What does better mean to you? What is your idea of an idyllic life?

OpposingOpposum 9 Feb 18

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for me better means freedom to do as I choose, to walk away from people who want to hurt me in any way - because I am 70, I havent the flexibility in my body to do a lot of the things I did previously but walking enjoying the fresh air the change of the seasons liking the simplicity of just doing what I want when I want especially eating and not having to compromise for anyone else.


Better life has to include more happiness. More things you like, less things you don't like. Clearing out your life can be great. Getting rid of debt, weeds in the garden, loathsome people. Idyllic life for me is too unrealistic, but what I have is ok. Nice surrounds, neighbours who don't annoy me, we just smile and say Hi, I can walk through the whole area and people say hello, the area is relatively quiet, little traffic, on the coast, backing onto natural bushland.


As others have suggested, there's always room for improvement but "feeling" better involves letting go of the past and the future and focusing on the present as much as feasible.

I regard my past as a sunk cost. There are huge aspects of it that I find disappointing but that disappointment is not actionable. Always ask yourself if something you're focusing on is actionable, realistically. If it's not, then let it go. My wife's version of this, which is also pretty good, is to ask herself, "to what end?" In other words, what is my purpose in feeling this pain / worry / anxiety or trying to influence or control this situation? Often, there's realistically nothing to be gained ... and realizing that is important in being able to let go. She's more prone to anxiety / worry than me, so this key question works better for her than simply asking if some issue is actionable. She has a way of deluding herself into thinking it's actionable when it's not.

The remaining difficulty for me is that, just like one of those smiles that doesn't quite reach someone's eyes, I grasp these realities intellectually but not intuitively. The things I know, I can't un-know. Dead people remain dead / absent, missed opportunities remain unrealized, scars from the past limit one in the present, and so forth.

I am of the view that suffering always and inevitably diminishes the sufferer -- not as much as most people imagine, not as little as some others imagine. I do feel since my son's death that I have reached some sort of saturation / tipping point in this regard, and have become increasingly disassociated from my feelings. More fatalistic and cynical, and to the extent I overcome those things, I'm just numb. My wife has gone through a lot in the past dozen or so years also, and also feels this numbness. it frightened her at first, but then she got used to it. It was a more gradual onset for me, and so less alarming.

Neither of us has any idea how to break out of it, and in many respects, are not sure we should even try. We have to function, for ourselves, for each other, for our [step][grand]children, etc., and if we reconnect with our interior emotional landscape it just means likely yet another round of grief and loss adjustment, and maybe discharging a huge backlog of weeping to no good purpose. Add to that the state the world's in, and ... no, we just aren't going there anymore.

Anymore, given all this, my attitude to new adversity, is get in line and take a number. Whatever. Indifference is my friend here. It's better than morphine at bleeding away pain. We miss feeling more connected to life but .. beyond a certain point, a little self-protection becomes needful.

I am so very sorry for your families loss and your continued pain.


It is all about perspective


Better job, better education, better home, better car, satisfying relationships, continued happy daughter.


Being healthy and happy, foremost. Financial security is a plus but I've seen a LOT of miserable wealthy people!

Idyllic for me was traveling throughout the southeast for eight years plying my artistic, mostly performance, skills. It was feast and famine but those were the best years of my life!

I moved to Las Vegas just over a year ago to continue my artistic aspirations. It's a tough town but I won't give up!


An idyllic life sounds incredibly boring to me. I want controversy and challenges. When I became bored with my job, I got another degree in a different field and got a job doing that new thing, I have had plenty of disappointments, but oh, the new experiences!

Ha! That's what I mean by your idea of idyllic. I think I'm a person that always has to have something to fight,myself.


I began with acceptance of everything in my past. I stopped thinking of events and actions as bad or good and just accepted them as parts of the whole. All of them combined made me who I am right here and right now. Out of that came unconditional love for myself. It didn't happen overnight. It has been 3 years since an event that was a catalyst for self reflection. a year later, I had an epiphany that led to acceptance. It's a constant exercise to keep myself on the path to a better life. I must say that I feel better about myself than I ever have, and my friends have noticed, too.

Great outlook, my friend. I try to do the same. There are always challenges, but that's just how life is, right? Get rid of the pride and the ego, and life becomes much easier, and therefore, better. At least that has been working for me. Don't fret and worry about past and future.


Does it matter what better means for the other person? What counts is what it means to you...what makes you feel complete, happy, at peace with yourself.

True. I like to find out what life looks like from others perspective though. That's one of the things I really enjoy and have been trying to do more of.

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