When you talk about “quality of life,” what do you mean? When you think about your own life’s quality, what measuring stick do you use to rate it?
Is it a simple economic question, where one who earns $200,000 per year automatically wins, and one who earns $30,000 a year automatically loses? Sometimes it does seem that way, since money opens up so many opportunities and seems to give security. But then, if the richer person is struggling with cancer, and the poorer one is healthy, then which one would you rather be, and which one has the greater quality of life? If the richer one is a higher-up living under a communist dictatorship, where everything from the number of children allowed to be born, to whether he can travel outside his country, is dictated, while the poorer one lives free, which would you rather be?
It isn’t simply a question of any single ratings-system, such as an economic rating, a physical or mental health rating, or a political freedom rating. It’s all these things and one thing more: the cherry on top of the “quality of life” question is personal attitude. I call it the color of your glasses.
There’s a story of a taxi driver who decided that he’d make a ride in his cab great. He just wanted his job to be one of happy service, rather than drudgery.
He kept the taxi very clean, kept daily copies of three newspapers ready for his passengers, had non-spillable pots of hot coffee and mugs available, and put a smile on his face, every day, no matter what.
No, he didn’t get rich on all the tips. That wasn’t his primary purpose, anyway.
But he had a happier clientele and he had a happier life.
He could just as easily have been a grouchy, bitter driver with a messy taxi cab. But why choose that?
There’s an expression about wearing rose-colored glasses. I’ve often thought there should also be an expression about wearing puke-colored glasses.
Sometimes we decide that something is bad. We feel justified for whatever reason to think that (fill in the blank:) our bosses/parents/kids/jobs/bodies/health/relationships/homes/cars/bank accounts/talents/schools/lives are hopelessly baaaad.
Then we put on the attitude of wearing puke-colored glasses, and everything we see is stained that color, and that attitude, and we stay in that place for years and years and years.
But we don’t have to do that. We can choose to take off the puke-colored glasses and pick up glasses of another color.