Do You Have a Personal Anthem?

Do You Have a Personal Anthem?

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.

Do You Have a Personal Anthem?

The Hierarchy of Needs

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.

Do You Have a Personal Anthem?

Do You Have a Personal Anthem?

 

 

Thanks to Shutterstock Images and Google Images

 

11 thoughts on “Do You Have a Personal Anthem?

  1. My personal anthem???? Jogging 4 miles in the morning while listening to music….I am blessed to still be able to do this. Good for the body and soul. Another great BOOMER HIGHWAY!!!!!

    Bill

    • I could have guessed this would be your anthem. Thanks, Bill. Music lifts the soul while you are lifting that heart rate. Keep it going. Beth

  2. Mine has always been “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads. For me, it captures the absurdity and wonder of life. It doesn’t always make sense, but life, and time flows like water, and sometimes I have to recognize that I only control so much. That, and it’s a really great song that I never get tired of. 🙂

  3. Thanks, Jeannine, I was just talking to my son and he loves that song too. Your explanation of life and time are very apt–not unlike Taylor’s “It’s enough to be moving on..” We all have to go with the flow, but it’s HOW we do it that can make all the difference. Beth

  4. Beth, love the focus of your post. After years of chronic pain, I have come to know that “thriving, not just surviving” is what motivates me to keep challenging myself in new ways. Embracing challenges, wherever they might be found, that were once impossible feats, delights me. Walking a 5K on Thanksgiving is what is up next.

    • Mary, I am excited for you. Truly. Every day you are experiencing self-actualization with your strong will to live with your pain, overcome your pain. Which you have. Your book is such a great example of turning lemons into lemonade, taking what’s given to you and having it sing out your personal anthem. I wish you the best in the 5K –keep me posted. Beth

  5. Definitely running. I have a busy life (who doesn’t?!) and many people ask why I “waste” my time running. For me, it gives me energy to do the other things in my day. And the songs on my ipod while I run are so varied – from Barbra Streisand to Maroon 5!

    • Love your song choices. Running and music are such a good way to let your mind relax, let go. I imagine you get writing ideas often as you do this. And everyone needs to be free now and again from the limitations of space (your home) and interruption (the phone, computer!). You contribute a lot with your novel choices too, Jill. Thanks!

  6. HI Beth,
    here’s mine … more what I wish were true than what is true about my life as alas was the case for Mahler who set this Ruckert poem to music of almost unbearable beauty in August of 1901.

    Ich bin der welt abhanden gekommen
    I have become lost to the world, where I used to waste so much time;
    It has been so long since it heard from me, that it may well think that I have died!
    I don’t care if it thinks me dead, for I really have died to the world.
    I have died to all the world’s turmoil, and I rest in a silent realm.
    I live in solitude in my heaven, In my love, in my song.

    • Oh if only we could die to the world, to all its sorrow and anxiety. If we could always live in a silent realm; but I think when you are in your anthem, whether it is listening to music or woodworking–whatever it is, you can get back that sense of self and peace that keeps you going. I know when I wake in the morning, sometimes the transition is hard. But I look forward to those moments where I am writing and then I’m in my song.
      Thanks so much for sharing, Beth

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