I'm reading a book called A Resilient Life this morning. It's inspiring--a gentleman in his mid-60s talking about the way good, hard everyday decisions pay off in the long run, giving us the strength, stamina and overall je ne sais quoi that lead to that sense of liking who and what we are as we get older.
He talks about how a family friend once identified a "quitter gene" in his lineage, and how since that day he's spent a fair amount of energy resisting that tendency to give up. What's provocative (to me at least) is that all his hard work has been totally worth it, at least from his perspective. He's achieved many of the goals he set out for his life, enjoys good relationships with family and friends, and has a sense of overall fulfillment that we don't hear much about these days.
He asks this provocative question: What if satisfaction is more important than enjoyment in the long view of life?
The things that lead to satisfaction--discipline, forgiveness (asking for and giving), hard work, doggedness--seldom offer much in the way of immediate enjoyment. But they pay off in the long run with tangible results short term enjoyment can't offer. Books written. Teeth shiny. Body fit. Mind alive. (Okay, I know that's a strange list, but I'm just sort of blabbing this all out before I loose my grip on it and revert to something easy like how THAT DOG seems to be enjoying the new season of The Real Housewives of NYC).
I want those things. But I battle the quitter thing, too. I'm not sure if it's genetics or simple laziness, but I can feel intertia pushing me, suggesting that perhaps tomorrow I might do this or that hard thing, but for today I should just relax...
Here's the question: am I willing to do the the hours of time in front of the computer with just a page and my thoughts (rather than my crew of blogger/facebook/twitter friends) that need to happen to write a third book? The gazillion treadmill sprints necessary for me to get back into my favorite jeans? The endless exfoliating, tweezing, flat-ironing and lip gloss application that keep me from feeling like the "before" footage from some makeover show?
I hope so. Because when I'm in my mid-60s, I want to write a book and say, "All that hard work was worth it. Every bit. Life is good." To do that, though, I need to do some hard work, right?
Today, I'm going to try. I'll let you know how it goes :)