Voltaire once said that, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” This was my thought as I headed out to a céilidh, a traditional Gaelic social gathering, this past weekend. What a party! I felt I was in Scotland with all the music of bagpipes, fiddles, harps, accordions and Gaelic choirs.
“Living well” is one of those nebulous concepts that is difficult to quantify, much less experience to the fullest extent. It is something that we must define for ourselves before we can know the reality of the promise. We know the possibility exists, but does it exist for us?
At our table, a man was celebrating his 87th birthday. When asked if he would give his age, he replied: “I don’t mind giving my age; I’m just glad that I made it this far.” And that is when it occurred to me that time was fundamental in fashioning a meaningful existence. Living well is giving worth to our time. We live in a finite existence; no amount of effort will generate an extra hour. Even second is an opportunity.
We owe gratitude to those who choose to follow an artist’s calling, many of whom have little assurance that their chosen vocation will generate a monetary reward. The céilidh came into being because musicians and singers allocated years to their creative endeavours. So it is with other artists, who define their “living well” by what they produce, whether a painting, a poem, a musical score. Our lives are enriched, when we use our time to listen, to support and participate. This too, is living well.
By the way, I’m thinking of taking up the harp….