How do you spend your time? Seems like a simple question, but it is really rather deep. Most of us would answer, “Carpooling my kids around.” Or, “Working long hours at the office or with my clients/patients.” Or, “Taking care of my elderly parents.” Or all of the above. But when I see truly happy and joyful people, and of a certain age, I know it is because they know the meaning of life. It is all about how you spend your time.
Time alone in quiet or rest is vital to happiness and a feeling of peace. Vital! Think of it as a gift to yourself. Especially if you feel your life can be frenetic; time in front of the TV sipping a glass of wine, walking alone in a park just taking in the greenery, or listening to a book on tape while driving somewhere can recharge you. And time spent with your “tribe”, those friends who accept you no matter what faults you have and those family members you go “home” to, is also what it is all about.
Recently, I rendezvoused with a girlfriend I have not seen in 35 years. We roomed together for two years at the University of Michigan. It was as if nothing had changed, no time had passed. We easily shared about our lives and concerns. We listened, laughed, and kept saying things like, “You have not changed a bit. You look exactly the same.” What we meant was the bond we shared back then was still there. We are part of each other’s tribe. She lives in Los Angeles and I in Detroit. But the connection we share makes those miles seem invisible. I think this is what a tribe-mate is all about. It is someone in your life who unconditionally loves you, who gets you, and who accepts you, spots and all.