I can’t actually talk about a life well lived yet seeing that I’m still living it. Nor do I think that I am the one to judge whether it has been well lived or not. But as I find myself thinking about the topic, I realise that I’ve at least made a start in a life that has me feeling contented. I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a freelance writer and editor and a slush reader. And I’m a blogger, of course. Does that constitute a life well lived? I don’t really know. But I feel that at the very least they are the components of my life that make up the whole that is me.
So if it’s not a life well lived yet (who knows what might come next) it’s at least a life that is full of experiences had and lessons taken. Not that I want to bore you with them; they are too much like those holiday snaps that people used to foist on you when your guard was down. I see them as interesting to me and mine, but nothing to write home about. Or at least, something to write home about, but not to write about here. Is that too convoluted?
And anyhow even if it’s my life well lived, it’s not necessarily somebody else’s idea of it. I mean, I haven’t scaled mountains or discovered penicillin, and I haven’t saved orphan children from a burning building. And I haven’t had to overcome adverse circumstances to get to where I am. I’m sure there are many more role models, but at this moment I can only think of Mother Teresa as having led a life well lived and of course, there’s Nelson Mandela. Nelson and Teresa, I ain’t.
I only know that if I didn’t do any good in this world or to this world, I at least did no harm. I didn’t kill anyone, I tried not to be mean and I went out of my way to help if it was within my power to do it.
Maybe I’ll fall back on the old faithful of motherhood. I don’t so much mean bearing children but raising them. Not that parents can know if they did the right thing or not until decades down the track; I just did what I could, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I raised my children to take each individual person at face value unless and until they betrayed that belief. I raised them to be supportive of family and that family loves unconditionally. I taught them to respect the rights and beliefs of others and to expect the same in return.
Is any of that a life well lived, or just a boring but harmless life lived? Perhaps that’s the best we unheroic types can expect.