The wise preacher says, “. . . there is nothing better than a man should rejoice in his work . . .” (Ecc 3:22). One of the lessons of Ecclesiastes is that we should enjoy life. Life is after all, all we have on this earth. A few verses earlier he says, “there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live.” (Ecc 3:12).
Through my years I have developed five keys to enjoying life. They are simple, yet not easy. As I list them I think how easy they are to say and to suggest, but how difficult they are to always remember to put into practice.
Five Keys to Enjoying Life
- Decide to be happy. Yes, happiness is a decision. Sometimes it is a daily decision. When I get up in a bad temper or I find myself in a poor mood late in the day, I tell myself to choose happiness. I am making a choice to find simple pleasures to enjoy in the moment.
- Make the best of each moment. Your current circumstance may not be ideal, but make the best of it. Everyone has sorrow. We all have moments, days, or months of trouble. Look for ways to make the smiles outnumber the tears. A few years ago I watched news footage after a tornado ripped through a poverty stricken area. One older gentleman talked about the mangled mass that used to be his mobile home. As I recall, he said something like this, “I didn’t pay much for it, and I slowly made it better over the last few years. I just put down new floors, a painted inside and out. It’s a good thing, I only paid a few thousand for it. I guess, I’ll go find me another one and start over, I’d been wantin’ a newer one anyway. I think I can make it better than I did this one.”
- Remember you cannot please everyone. This is one of the more difficult concepts for me. I like to see people happy and enjoying themselves and their life in general. That is why I am sharing these keys. But not everyone wants to be happy and not everyone will appreciate what I do and who I am. There will even be those that are miserable because I am happy. I cannot let critics ruin my life.
- Do what you can for those less fortunate than you are. Share your time, share what material things you can, share your food, share your abilities. Share a smile. Listen to their story over a cup of coffee and a muffin, scone, bagel, doughnut, or cake. Something simple may just make someone else’s day a little brighter.
- Keep busy. A person that is busy does not have much time to find misery. Do things in the house, in the yard, or in the garden. Learn a hobby. Go sit with someone lonely. Go for a walk with someone you care about.
One bonus key: Keep yourself in touch with God. The wise preacher is correct when he concludes that, ” . . . all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecc 12:13). In service to God we find fulfillment and the blessing of eternity with Him.