doctor friend has told me of a patient whom he inherited
from his father. The patient is nearing 90 and
apparently is in the best of health; yet my friend has
never known him to draw an uncomplaining breath, or to
be other than a burden to himself and a pain in the neck
to those around him. For all his years, such a man
can scarcely be said to have "lived" at all.
not truly living unless you get a kick out of life;
you're simply existing. Yet I know plenty of
people who actually go out of their way to deny
themselves fun and enjoyment.
never does anything because it would be pleasant or
enjoyable but always because it is his bounden
obligation. He is one of those fellows of whom it
is aptly said that they were "born old."
His oppressive sense of duty makes him a bore to his
acquaintances and a trial to his family. An overly
conscientious woman considers it a sin to laugh since
her husband died. Hugging her grief, she denies
not only herself but her children the right to a happy,
people make themselves miserable by adhering to a
disagreeable "health" regimen under the
mistaken notion that such practices are somehow good for
them. They persist in sleeping beside open windows
in cold weather though nose and throat specialists
condemn the practice. Millions of American males
start the day in fear and trembling with a cold shower
that shocks the nervous system, leaves them chilled and
under par and causes them to be drowsy by
midmorning. They do it on the theory that it
"hardens" them, whereas in a majority of cases
it actually makes them more susceptible to colds.
my friends knocks himself out every morning doing
setting-up exercises to keep himself fit. U.S.
Army tests prove that recruits subjected to intensive
calisthenics probably do not possess more physical
endurance under combat conditions than soldiers who have
had little or no "toughening."
a woman who feeds her family quantities of raw carrots,
cracked wheat and brown sugar. Her meals are
scientifically apportioned blends of proteins,
carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and roughage;
nevertheless, they are so unappetizing that her family
fails to get much benefit.
there are people who ruin their lives by being
overparticular about their physical surroundings.
A woman in our town is a perfectionist and a
fuss-budget. She makes both her family and
visitors uncomfortable by her prissy insistence on
having everything arranged just so--from chairs and ash
trays in the living room to umbrellas and overshoes in
the coat closet. Basically a well-intentioned wife
and mother, this woman would be all right if only she
could learn to relax and take things as they come.
know couples who are so determinedly conventional that
they don't get fun even out of their amusements.
They play bridge or golf not because they enjoy it but
because it's "the thing to do."
there are those who have fallen into the habit of
putting off the things that make for real living.
One woman is forever buying a new suit or gown.
But she rarely wears any of her smart clothes. She
is saving them for some indefinite future occasion that
never seems to arrive. Another young woman, a
schoolteacher, went without her summer vacations for
years in order to take more and more college
courses. Last summer, having at last received her
doctorate, she visited a summer resort for the first
time. But she was so miserable there that she cut
short her stay. It was too late--she had forgotten
how to play. She isn't as good a teacher with a
degree and a grouch as she was with no degree and a
cheery outlook on life.
possible to wreck your life by trying to play things too
safe. No one can be happy if we're excessively
anxious about our homes, our bank rolls, our jobs or our
health. When you get right down to it, all
living involves risk. The people who try always to
play it safe not infrequently find themselves more
vulnerable to trouble than those who are willing to take
who entertain the notion that because a thing is
unpleasant it must be good for them also believe that
whatever is pleasant is bad. This is equally
absurd. The world is full of good and pleasant
things put there for our enjoyment: sun and rain
and food and sleep and love and play and laughter.
If we turn our backs on them, are we not guilty of
ingratitude to their Creator?
as I see it, is an art, the most important art there
is. Yet few people learn to practice it
successfully. Mrs. Anne Mary ("Grandma")
Moses probably offers the perfect example of the fun you
can enjoy once you relax and start doing what you really
want to do. Grandma Moses always wanted to paint,
but she never got around to it till she was 78.
Even in her 90's, unflustered by fame and wealth, she
still painted for the sheer joy of it.
needs to go on living in the squirrel cage of a dull
existence. Anybody who really wants to can
emancipate him or herself and start enjoying life.
The owner of a filling station far off the usual tourist
routes in the Rocky Mountains was a man of obvious
education and refinement. It eventually came out
that he had been for a time a partner in a Manhattan law
firm; but he hated the work and hated the life, in spite
of all the money he was making. "So I quit
and came out here," he says. "It may not
be for everybody, but this part of the world suits
me. My ulcers have disappeared; my nerves are
steady again. I'm my own boss. Any time I
feel like it I go fishing for a week. I don't make
much money, but I'm having more fun than I ever had in
really successful people are those who get paid for
doing the things they like to do. They'll not only
be happier but the chances are they'll live longer,
too. In the Book of Proverbs it is
written: "A merry heart doeth good like a
medicine." There's no other medicine to be
compared with it.