I probably spend far too much time thinking about things like the quality of life meaning. I probably should have taken philosophy in college instead of marketing. Then thoughts such as these, about a quality of life definition, would have made perfect sense. Of course, I would have been poor and destitute, with a college degree in philosophy, but at least I would have been consistent with my education.
Instead, here I sit, in my office, at the age of seventy-three, thinking about qol, otherwise known as quality of life, and wondering about its meaning. It’s a sunny day, the last day of March, a full to-do list ahead of me, and I’m typing away on the keyboard about happy retirement and finding contentment during my retirement years.
What would Dad have said?
I adored my father. Anyone who knows me knows that simple fact. I knew the man had his flaws, but he meant the world to me, and as I search for the meaning of life, I think back to those days when Dad was alive . . . and I can say, without hesitation, that Dad never had such thoughts as the quality of life definition. He was a very simple man. To his way of thinking, a man is born, he works, he struggles, he supports his family, and he dies. Period! End of discussion. To him, that perfectly defined the quality of life. What more was there to say?
And, as simplistic as that may sound, perhaps he was correct. Perhaps I spend far too much time complicating matters beyond reason. A man is born, he pursues whatever dreams he has, he provides, and he dies.
But, there has to be something more, right?
Maybe . . . maybe not!
I think of my Aunt Lois. She was bedridden with some heart condition by the time she was thirty. Died by thirty-five. Her quality of life appeared, to my young eyes, to be pretty horrific. And yet she was one of the happiest people I have ever known. I never heard her complain. I never heard a single “woe is me” come out of her lips. She evidently had a fantastic quality of life despite appearances.
The poor and downtrodden
Watching documentaries of impoverished people in Third World countries, and many of them are laughing with family and friends, despite the fact they didn’t have “a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out,” as my grandfather was fond of saying. No worldly possessions and yet they were living, what appeared to be, happy lives.
It seems to me . . .
Other than food, water, and shelter, the one thing people need, for some semblance of contentment, is a safe place. We come out of the womb, our safe place for nine months, kicking and screaming, and why not? Yanked from our safe place, we are not happy at all.
Eventually we settle down, and our crib becomes our safe place, or the arms of our mother, and happiness is restored, and we grow up in a safe place, eventually get our own home, a new safe place, form a family, another safe place, and as long as we are in a safe place, the quality of our life is pretty darned good. I don’t know how else to explain the happiness I see on the faces of some people who are living, to my eyes, a pretty spartan existence. Despite their lack of possessions and wealth, they are happy because they are in a safe place.
But really, what do I know? I have a marketing degree, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
Here’s what I know on this last day of March, 2022: I have a good life, and next year my wife and I, and our two dogs, will climb into our travel trailer and we will begin a part-time RV life, and I guarantee the quality of my life, at that time, finding the wonder of it all in life, will be pretty darned good.
I guess, then, that’s as good a definition, or meaning, of quality of life as I can give you. I exist in a safe place, and I am happy. Period! End of discussion on this sunny day.