The Same Bench

It doesn't get better than this

In last week’s Chron, I spotted a piece called the “People Meter” wherein reporter Trey Bundy interviewed 5 people asking each to describe their “perfect day off.”  Voila:
Aaron (age 32): “That would be the Giants home opener. Maybe some garlic fries and a beer.”

Joseph (age 43): “Probably at the ocean, walking barefoot. It’s sunny, about 70 degrees and I’ve got my iPod; or, walking with my girlfriend, having one of our youthful, deep conversations that we have.

Aurence (age: “old enough to know better but young enough to do it anyway”): ”Good weather, good food, and good people would probably be involved.”

Maddy (age 21): “Usually I get on the first bus the goes to the beach, play a bit of guitar, grab some coffee at the Red Vic Café, then sit in the Panhandle.

Monica (age 21): Going to the beach with couple of friends, and some beer and swimming until the sunset. Then having a bonfire.

So, what do we want? Connection with nature, connection with each other, good food, music, all pretty simple things and not that costly- I notice beer mentioned twice here – Champagne not once.

Add in family to all of this, and it seems to me like it’s the pretty simple, down to earth stuff that makes us happy. Is that how you see it too?

Back in my Montreal days I did quite a lot of running on Mt. Royal  (whence the name Montreal), a wonderful park and a joggers paradise in the middle of town.

Anyway, as I ran by one particular bench, I would see the same group: 6-8 retired business tycoons (those who had “succeeded” in piling up a lot of cash and those who hadn’t),  plus one taxi driver and one shipping clerk,  all  assembled for their daily “summit” (it was a mountain after all…right?) to the purpose of feeding the pigeons, and resolving the problems of the world.

Over time, I had made their acquaintance, so as I ran by I would wave, smile, and then think: “ What’s the point of all our striving for cash? We are, all of us, headed for this same bench anyway, no?

The pleasure of excellent conversation with good friends on a park bench on a sunny day: What could be more wonderful (and simpler) than that?

On this very point, The Italians (thank goodness for the Italians) have kindly offered us yet another wise and pithy proverb:

“When the game is ended, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.”


Practice Tip Push Pin Practice tip:

Take a few minutes to think about, and then write down 3 or 4 activities in your life which bring you the most pleasure and contentment while you are doing them.

Calculate approx how much time in a given week or month you make available for these pursuits, compared to all the other things which use up your time. Note too, whether these are activities that cost a lot of money, or only a little. I’m betting it’s mostly the latter.

Post your list. Budget a realistic amount of time for these things. It doesn’t have to be your ideal scenario, your dream. What’s important is that it’s not pie in the sky, but doable. Then do it!

Please be kind to yourself,

About Michael Scott

Michael Scott is a life coach, author and teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. After spending 35 years in business - coaching found him - and he's never looked back. Michael uses his coaching training and experience, in the service of his clients, as their constant and loving guide towards joyous, fulfilling lives which are genuinely their own. He lives with his dear wife in Sausalito, CA.

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