Readers–today let’s get personal. Though Boomer Highway is a conversation about mind-body wellness and often deals with physical health, it’s also about the stuff that makes us happy, things tangential, our individual choices. Keeping the heart beating is one thing, but filling it with joy is quite another. And it’s so varied, so personal. Do you have a personal anthem—something that truly makes you tick? It doesn’t have to be a song, but a way of looking at life or a habit/hobby that you go to, that pulls you in and makes your day. Makes you individually you.
Physical Health? It Springs from Mental Well-being
Feeling good is physical, sure, but it’s also so damn mental. My son, at the end of his work day, wants to put on jeans and play his guitar. He’s driven to that. My friend who works stressful days as a doctor, likes nothing better than to go into her kitchen and cook a great meal. Some people set aside time for Facebook or Twitter or making phone calls. They are connecting, relaxing, even creating.
Sometimes we fuel our mental health with a film that’s so great we might hit replay after the last scene, or a hilarious movie that wipes away a bad day. Maybe it’s the book we can’t put down or the music that lifts the spirits or brings tears of soulful connection. Often it’s a sport that helps us put aside a tiring job and reenergize. This drives fitness and creates healthy competition.
Or–are you an artist? Yes you are! There’s art in how we cook, sew, take photographs, and decorate our homes and plant our gardens as well as paint, sculpt or draw. And there’s always travel, whether it’s to China or two towns away—it changes perspective and opens us to something new, maybe even challenging.
Whatever it is, it’s personal—it helps define what we are, what we love. For some fortunate folks the daily work and the passion are the same. But to enjoy fulfilling, intense living, we all need something to recharge our batteries. We all need that zeal for something that is our personal anthem.
Maslow Was Definitely on to Something
Psychologist Abraham Maslow researched human motivation and action. His work lead to the Hierarchy of Needs, often shown as a pyramid.
Once we have achieved the basics of food, clothing and shelter, we are driven to achieve higher levels. We desire connections, friends, communities and work associates; then we strive for feelings of worth and self-esteem to come from those associations; we are making a contribution to society. But finally we strive for the highest need–self-actualization. “What a man (woman) can be, he (she) must be,” Maslow wrote. Approaching, fulfilling that level of need, we are using our talents and capabilities. We are achieving satisfaction. We are happy.
Variety in Life Challenges the Blues
We need variety for wellness. We need to have different and sometimes challenging endeavors. But there’s no doubt life can be difficult and the challenges at the outset, negative. Sometimes we just have to ask ourselves why–after a tragedy, either personal or global. Sometimes we feel helpless, our actions frozen.
But step by step, our personal anthems can help put our own individual stamp on the world. Writing a song or coaching and winning a game helps explain why we are here and possibly where we are going. As part of mental health and wellness, we seek our place in history. We make our own history and our own contribution: the vegetables we grow, the cars we repair, the birds we record on our walks, the poems we scribble before bedtime.
Centuries ago, before the invention of writing and paper, oral tradition was all peoples had. Myths and folklore were created and repeated from generation to generation. Often the stories of people’s lives were presented as songs, ballads or chants that were easy to memorize and sing to an assembled audience. Not only was history transferred this way, but also laws and what people knew of medicine. What a culture had created or founded was passed on to the next generation through vocalization. Their personal anthems were history and their contributions supported future generations. And so are yours.
My Personal Anthem
This post is part of my personal anthem. It’s what I do to reach out to my community. Let’s say it’s part of MY self-actualization. But to end the post I want to share a James Taylor lyric with you. For me he is truly a modern troubadour, and the words of this song lift me up and help define my personal anthem.
Please share your personal anthem.
Chorus to: James Taylor It’s Enough to Be on Your Way
Oh it’s enough to be on your way
It’s enough just to cover ground
It’s enough to be moving on
Home, build it behind your eyes
Carry it in your heart
Safe among your own.
Thanks to Shutterstock Images and Google Images