We Seek Quality
Quality of life is a topic often discussed. There are so many different methods used
to try and measure this rather intangible aspect of our experience. We all have some sort of intuitive grasp of what it means, however: fulfillment and engagement, contentment and industry.
We want to neither go without nor to have everything simply handed to us. We desire peaceful lives sprinkled generously with happy events while also being spared from overly repetitious dullness. We crave companionship and simultaneously seek out competition. We hope that taken together these characteristics will lead to a wonderful tapestry woven of our experiences, relationships and memories which can whisper to us the meaning of our lives.
So quality of life does not seem to be an overly esoteric concept, yet it can be devilishly hard to get a hold of. Certainly life is not perfect and many things can and do go awry over the course of a lifetime; but even with those unavoidable bumps, we ought to find patterns of life quality in our choices and experiences.
Actually Finding It Is Another Thing
Living well is something that is learned. At least, I know that I'm still learning more about what it means to do so every day.
One thing I've noticed is that we tend to construct unfortunate narratives which get us to focus on things that do not really contribute to quality of life at all. It's perhaps easier to identify these narratives by imagining the autobiography of a live driven by them:
"On that fateful day 25 years
ago, I finally managed to find a store in the mall that had the phone I had been looking for. I activated it and downloaded Angry Birds. The very next day I went to work with
people I can't really remember anymore working on something I only
recall as being rather boring; at least I don't think I learned anything from it, though it certainly allowed me to pay for all the network I was using with my new phone."
Really? It isn't like we all need to be riding rockets to the moon or painting the next Mona Lisa, but certainly we can live in a way that adds to something worth reflecting on in years to come.
Yet collectively, we are investing so much in things with far too little meaning, typified by punch-the-clock jobs used to make us into engines of consumption. Yes, we need to work. Yes, new toys and gadgets are awesome. Yes, Angry Birds is indeed a little addictive. These should be fillers, though, not the content of our existence.
So I Asked Myself: What Can I Do?
If I wish to live in a world where people are living lives worth living, then I need to try and help create an environment that supports that.
I wish to engage in ways that contribute to the mindset of living meaningfully. I want the things I make to contribute to and support the unfolding of meaning in the lives of others.
Getting there means stepping aside from some of the dominant models in society today such as "the person as consumer" and "the person as work unit". It means finding models of value that emphasize lives lived with quality. It means creating things that reflect that value.
In short, I can't rightfully expect to find lives of quality if my own efforts work in the opposite direction. I know I will not always achieve such high aspirations, but I can certainly try and, hopefully, succeed often enough to make a difference of some size.
This set of make, play and live blog entries may read like so much philosophy, but these are things I truly care about and which I want to find at the heart of my efforts. They are the metrics by which I wish to measure myself by, and which I hope to inspire others to consider as well. If I can manage that, what better life could there be? :)