What a title, right? It’s 2018; it seems like half of the internet is dedicated to self-help, happiness, or some other variation on the same broad idea. Why would I choose to write about something so ubiquitous – and just who am I, anyway? What makes me both interested in writing about living well and qualified to do it?
It’s a fair question. This is a brand new blog among millions of others, and you don’t quite know what to expect. First things first – welcome to my blog, and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to visit. Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Tim White, I’m 30-something years old, and I love life. Not in a trite, cliched sort of way plastered over with forced smiles – I really mean it. I work for myself in a custom-built career that you couldn’t drag me away from. I have a vibrant and healthy marriage, a beautiful home, no major health problems, and a future that gets brighter every day. I sleep well (almost) every night, I get an A+ from my dentist at every visit, and even with Social Security and Medicare imploding exponentially, I’m not especially worried about my retirement. Don’t take my word for it, though – this blog isn’t about my life anyway, not primarily. It’s about human life in general, what it can be and should be, and how to figure out what works and what doesn’t – that is to say, what’s true and what isn’t – in a world where any and every opinion is just a mouse click away.
The ancient Greeks had a word for the concept I’ve been talking about: eudaimonia (pronounced you-day-monia). Some dictionaries and websites translate it as “happiness,” but that’s a rather incomplete and superficial definition. More accurately, eudaimonia means “flourishing,” which represents a much deeper and more comprehensive concept than “happiness.” To flourish means to grow in every meaningful context, to find success, contentment, and self-esteem in each sphere of your life. Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with how much money you make, how quickly you find love, what sort of car you drive or how much stuff you give to charity. To be clear, I’m not a minimalist or a hippie: cash and material possessions do matter, but what matters even more is context. Specifically, I mean that ideas matter – philosophy matters. What you believe about the world, your place in it, and the standard by which you should interact with other people and make major decisions is the bedrock upon which your entire experience as a human being rests. I’m sure you’re smart; you know that much already. What you may not know is the full extent to which some of the most common ideas in the world are not actually compatible with human life and happiness.
So how about it? Are you happy and successful? Really and truly, consistently, every day? Do you want to be? Do you think you deserve to be? If you answered “yes” to the last two, allow me to be so bold as to declare that I really think this will be the blog for you. As time marches on and I push out more content (every Monday and Thursday), a cohesive and multi-disciplinary theme will begin to become apparent. “What does it mean to live well, and how can I do it?” is a gigantic, colossal, gargantuan question. It covers a lot of different aspects of life and will take tons of words to even begin to dig into, but there’s a silver lining: it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Happiness (I’m going to use “flourishing” from now on) isn’t a static emotion, a thing you either have or you don’t, it’s a process – an ongoing event. Every decision you make, every action you take either contributes to or detracts from your overall well-being. There are low points in even the most wondrous life; I’m certainly not claiming it’s possible to never be sad ever again. I’m saying that a rich, purposeful, excellent life – the only kind of life proper to humans – is possible and is achievable by anyone willing to do one thing: to think.
I’ve thrown some flowery generalities at you, which I think I can get away with because this is the first post – its purpose is to give you an idea of what you’re in for. If you come back on Monday, I promise details, concretes, specifics – the good stuff. (There will be plenty of abstractions as well, but I’ll bring them down to earth, I promise). I’m not here to peddle pointless ivory tower nonsense – I’m interested in living the best life that I possibly can, and in helping others reach that goal for themselves.
It is my deepest and most sincere hope that I’ve at least intrigued you enough to lure you back for the next post to see exactly what I’m getting at with all this flourishing stuff. I am deeply passionate about this subject and all the specific skills and ideas subsumed within it; I am confident that that sincerity and passion comes through in my writing. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.
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