Five Tips for Happier Living from Liza

It’s been a while since we posted one of the elders “Lists for Living.” We love these organized lists, in which some of the list for livingLegacy Project elders were able to sum up a lifetime of wisdom in a few key points. Liza, 68, has some thought-provoking ideas for living the good life:

1. You will NOT experience regret over a decision to remain single and childless. Creating your own life can be as exciting as the predictable stresses (and even the joys) of the procreation and education of progeny.

2. Friendships should fit your emotional and intellectual needs. You should have many different kinds of friends – never depend upon just one or two. Understand that you, and thus your friends, should be expected to change over time. Llife is far richer if you vary the nature of your relationships – it is stifling to hitch yourself to/depend upon/share experiences with only one other person.

3. Always take advantage of an opportunity to have new experiences – travel, activities or in the realm of ideas. You learn as much from unpleasant experiences as you do from pleasureable ones.

4. Strive throughout your life to achieve a clear sense of who you are, what you want, what you want to be recalling as you die, and how you wish to be remembered.

5. Devote as much time as possible toward understanding the evolution and history of the universe and of humankind This long-range perspective makes you grateful and more generous.

3 thoughts on “Five Tips for Happier Living from Liza

  1. Liza: Thankyou for your list. Having read it several times I find I agree with every point. I have come to similar conclusions and find the confirmation of these ideas very reassuring at this stage of my life. I feel strongly about being independent and having a life of my own and contributing to humanity in ways outside a conventional marriage. It’s not so easy to find many that agree so I really appreciate coming across your words. Although at 26 I haven’t ruled out having children (and I get annoyed with the amount of time my brain seems to want to spend on that question) I am certain I want to throw myself into an alternative project first.

    If you are out there, and it is possible, I wonder if you would be willing to correspond further?

  2. Dear Lucy,

    Thanks so much for your comment! I, too, found this list for living to be one of the most powerful from the elders.

    I wanted to answer your last question. It’s not possible to contact one of the elders in our study individually. Because in most cases people were promised anonymity, the names provided with the lessons are pseudonyms, rather than actual names (as described on the Methods page on the blog. And in some cases (when lessons were provided, for example, in letters sent to us) we have no way of contacting the elder.

    However, some of our readers may have ideas for you – so perhaps we can get some elder wisdom discussion going here!

  3. I liked Liza’s ideas, and I resonate with her no child brought on board notion. Since age 16, I have, for the most part, lived in such a way that my regrets would be few. In other words, I wanted, at the end of my life, to tell my full story without hiding much, and without feeling shame. At 83, I can say that about 99 50/100% of my life, the part I won’t share here, is the part I love most, because it opened the door for me to know what it’s like to be more fully human, and it provided space for me to live without the child-rearing distraction. Additionally, my mother (now 103) did such a good job raising her 5 children that I didn’t see where I could improve, and in fact, I may have been a far-worse parent. Further, we live in a time where labor isn’t as necessary as it was in the early days, so women are not being called as often to have children.
    I wish, at age 17, I had known how judgmental the culture was and remains; and how much it abhors personal development; a place where you feel enriched with more depth and breadth, and where you see more clearly, if only at intervals. This gives way to a higher consciousness, and change usually comes along with that, but this doesn’t tend to enchant conformers and those in power, maybe because an educated electorate is more difficult to snooker, and this may be why 58% of Republicans say that colleges have a negative effect on the country (Pew Poll Survey June 8-18, 2017).
    While Liza’s points are well taken, I’m glad I lived most of my life before I read them, because those tips would have seemed impossible, as I have lived my life cooperating with the approaching forces while intelligencing (assessing) the situation, then making the best choice possible. In later years I realize I have been fulfilling my destiny, a script written way before I entered into life on earth. Not everything in my life was positive, and not all my decisions made life better for me, but I have a notion that when life goes left, as it does many times, that sometimes, if not often, the benefit accrues to someone else, and that’s okay, as I frequently gain from others’ missteps. So, it all evens out.
    I’ll finish with a quote from the late Lewis Thomas, M. D.:
    The future is too interesting and dangerous to be entrusted to any predictable, reliable agency. We need all the fallibility we can get. Most of all, we need to preserve the absolute unpredictability and total improbability of our connected minds. That way we can keep open all the options, as we have in the past.
    In that spirit, tips may be for waiters, not for the living of life, but they are interesting and sometimes useful.
    So, in December 2017, I look forward to a fresh year, and the necessary newness that life presents. Who knows what port my possibilities boat may sail into, so I’m keeping my options open.
    Thomas quote retrieved on December 22, 2017 from:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *