Gathering the straws of life together

As good as it gets

As good as it gets

Have you ever woken up one morning and thought is this “as good as it gets”? I am sure there are many of us as we navigate life and ageing. Not that I am that old – yet! But like all other baby boomers, I am getting older.

I am reminded of the movie “As Good As It Gets”. The movie received multiple awards. Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear (the main actors) all received an Academy Award Oscar for their performance. All together the movie received at least 40 winner awards from 1997 – 1999 and that is not counting award nominations. The awards that actors receive are for a performance, that is, pretending to be someone else and living a life that is not the authentic self.

In life and sport most people aim to be their authentic self. Life is a long-distance race and I believe we will get better results if we are authentic with ourselves and others. Then the best we can do is to keep running the race and never quit, even when the going gets tough – for a while this may be “as good as it gets”.

As good as it gets – a family wedding.

In competitive sports the aim is to win. Competitions include the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and other sporting events across the world. They test the skill, ability and tenacity of sportspeople. But the Olympic Games competition is not only about winning, it is also about bringing a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. Not everyone can win all the time. This is a key lesson for children. Not everyone takes home the trophy but us older people can encourage children to do their best – that is all we should ask of them. However, on a school sports day I always  like to see every child go home with at least one ribbon for trying.

That is why I like the approach of so many sporting icons when they talk about their “personal best”. They may not always win a medal, but they have done their best – and will need to acquiesce. Life has its ups and downs and there are times when we must acknowledge this is “as good as it gets” and then just move on to another goal, another phase of life.

Dinner at dusk, Glasshouse Mountains view – as good as it gets!

Then what about our place of work. Many organisations have staffing awards, those certificates in a frame, I have a few of them. But how much do they mean to the workers? While many businesses, small and large are working out how to acknowledge employees, they need to look no further than Google. Google focuses on results not people, that is the results that people make happen. When they are happy at work people work to get results. At Google the staff receive incentives for their results such as insurance, health and dental benefits, on-site car wash, dry cleaning and the list goes on. There is flexibility in the workplace. As a Google employee I would be thinking this is probably “as good as it gets” and just get on with doing the job and enjoying it.

So, this brings me to think about who is directing our lives? Can I hear a resounding “we are”? Am I director of my life? Are you the director of your life? It can only be “as good as it gets” if we take responsibility for directing our own life story – our life movie. At this time of life, am I having the time of my life?

Matt having the time of his life, fishing. This must be “as good as it gets”.

Certainly, I am chief executive officer (CEO) of my retirement. But I have left out one critical element of my role – quarterly/yearly reviews? How am I going? Am I achieving my goals, my targets, so I can have a fulfilling life and enjoy the race? What results am I getting? Also, am I giving myself enough incentives to get on with life. A little retail therapy; the occasional week-end away; a holiday by the sea or lunch/dinner with friends. I will have to make a plan and reward myself for my results – noting, this could be “as good as it gets”!

At our place, what we have now is about “as good as it gets” and really it is not too bad. It is up to each one of us to make the best of life. It is up to me to make the best I can of my life, recognising that life is not a dress rehearsal, but the real thing! We only get one chance at it, one shot, no retakes like an actor when performing in front of a camera. Today I may say this is “as good as it gets”. Tomorrow though, with me directing my life it could be even better than good!

PS Football finals in Australia today. I am sure all teams will do their best, but only one team can win! I hope to see the Olympic spirit.

PPS – I saw the movie Ladies in Black this week directed by Australian Bruce Beresford. Many reviews I have read missed the meta messages – those about relationships, multiculturalism, encouragement and at the end of the day realising and accepting that this is “as good as it gets”.



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