EDITORIAL: The secret to a life well lived

How do you measure the successes in one's lifetime?

In our pages every week we often celebrate significant milestones, special moments and selfless sacrifices.

Those special interest stories, as we call them, are often a step away from the hard news stories we cover and tend to take a more philosophical approach.

We travel on a journey, getting to know some of the intimate details of a person’s life. Unfortunately, we usually can’t get all a person has shared with us in a single story. Many of the people we interview could fill books with their experiences and advice. Most of those books would be best sellers too.

We regularly find ourselves contemplating that age old question and trying to sum up an answer in a few hundred words.

So while we are out in the community covering 100th birthdays, anniversaries and retirements, we often find ourselves asking West Shore residents what their secret is.

What their secret is to a long life, happy marriage, successful career or even just getting through some of the not so good days.

From all of those assignments and all of the advice we have heard – some of which we passed on, some we’ve kept to ourselves – we have come to the conclusion there is no one secret to rule them all.

There is no one size fits all piece of advice that will magically make your life perfect.  And there is no magical definition that translates to a life well lived.

What we often hear is that doing what makes you – not someone else – happy, is usually all it takes to feel like you’re winning at the end of the day.

Finding some way to find joy, even if it’s just walking in the sunshine, can make all the difference.

Everyone goes through some dark patches, but getting through them, that’s what makes the triumphs on the other end feel so much sweeter.

Sharing those successes with those around you also makes them feel that much better.

And you would be hard pressed to find someone in this community that would say  helping others is a waste of time. That help doesn’t have to be a huge financial contribution.

It could be something as small as helping an elderly neighbour rake their leaves, or dropping off a container of soup to a sick friend.

In the end, we’ve heard it’s the little moments that give life meaning, not the things we often fill our lives with.

With time, we often forget many of our accomplishments but we’ll remember the smell of that favourite meal or the touch of a significant other.

It’s not the things we do that make life great, it’s who we do them with.

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