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Many people claim they are happier the older they get, and I am one of that crowd. If one has the necessities of life covered, food, shelter etc. and enough reserves to tide one over expected contingencies, then living when older can be pleasant. Probably the happy oldsters have long outgrown the extravagances of youth and can recognize those follies clearly enough to avoid their worst snarls and bites. Of course some people never learn. They are the unhappy people who fly from one foolishness to another, but most of them burn out from extravagance before reaching the golden years.

If the old person has been thoughtful they have arranged their local physical and social situation to their aesthetic liking. Some people like quiet, others a good TV, others easy access to their grandchildren, but I like to have lots of books in bookcases and others just lying about. I realize that I have vastly more of them than I can ever hope to read, but I like having their companionship. They are like friends I can go visit at a moment’s notice, and they are dependable. Of course the internet is much better in so many ways and now has vast quantities of books for ready reading directly and perhaps even more available than on my bookshelf because it can be found more easily online than in a bookshelf. This week I have been reading The Catechism of Positive Religion: Or Summary Exposition of the Universal Religion in Thirteen Systematic Conversations between a Woman and a Priest … (Cambridge Library Collection – Religion) by Auguste Comte, which is difficult to get locally, even with inter-library loan. This one-hundred and fifty year old book is intended as background reading for my theory of kindness. I mention it because I could start reading it online within minutes of discovering its relevance to my quest.

For me one form of potential beauty, that is books, clearly improves my feeling for my life. Another form of beauty, for me, is creating visual pictures and sharing them with the general public, and I like to have some pictures hanging somewhere locally. At the public library, for example. I like to have pictures which are challenging to the viewers on some level even though they are typically immersed in a field of bland sweetness. Actively participating in local affairs is another form of personal beauty, and I now do something almost every day to improve our community is some way.

Another form of controllable beauty is the physical environment in which one chooses to live. One’s home can be comfortable, and one’s chosen neighborhood can also be lovely to look at and safe, and one’s city can be vibrant and full of public spirit and to some degree even one’s country is a choice. These things are under one’s control and they affect the quality of life.

Choose to live the way that makes your unique life beautiful.