Where does all the work lead us? It always promises us a prosperous future. We work hard to have a better life sometime later when we retire or have achieved greatness. But when is it enough? Do we ever come to the point where we let go and enjoy the present? It is hard to say when enough is really enough. Contrary to popular believe, it can be so easy though. The good life starts now, today! It isn’t really an issue of measure, but a choice that we have to make. The solution was already lying on grandmother’s plate. Remember?
Generation after generation attempts to outdo the previous one. We want to create a better future for our family, our children and ourselves. Unfortunately, life cannot always be planned like that. Unforeseen circumstances dictate our paths along the way and can lead us on a detour, away from the promised future. Often we look back with regret. After all the hard work and achievements, we suddenly have missed the good life. Surely, there isn’t any play without work, but the playfulness, the enjoyments of now, is just as important to our daily routine.
The good life is now, if you want to
But what is the good life? Is it a luxurious retirement? Is it our accumulated wealth in the bank accounts? Is it the hope of a prosperous future? It surely can seem that way sometimes. However, it isn’t. The good life is now, if you want to. It is that simple. Our ordinary life is supposed to be the good life. Who did ever say it shouldn’t be. In the end, it boils down to a daily choice. It is an attitude we should adapt and incorporate to our modus operandi. It is more than luxury travel and a healthy lifestyle. The facts are clear.
When asking people all over the world in their later stages of their lives, they often state the same old regrets. On top of this list is ‘not enjoying the moment’, basically not living the good life. The French have their own term for it – Bon Vivant. By definition it is a person with refined taste, who especially enjoys superb food and fine drink. The Spanish refer to sibarita, when talking about someone who enjoys a good quality over all. It isn’t surprising that the French and other Mediterranean cultures have their own words to describe this frame of mind. They are known for their comfortable, relaxed and seeming luxury lifestyle. However, it shouldn’t be and isn’t exclusive to those Southern European nations. The good life can bring happiness to all of us. What seems ingrained in their cultures can be simply incorporated into the wholeness of our lives. Engaging in fine dining and a healthy lifestyle are not only a part, but are a consequence of adapting to the good life.
Statistics state that happy people are actually working more efficiently and are more satisfied with their job. A well-adjusted work-life balance is at the very centre of the good life. Exactly that is every worker’s dream – and their bosses’ dreams too for that matter. However, the balance is often misinterpreted. One needs to ensure quality in life first, the work equation will then follow automatically.
Good food and fine drinks make us happy
Restored peace and happiness can be found in the moment. Looking back, one always remembers the good moments, time spent well with family and friends and the food and drink shared together. Our meals and get-togethers are a substantial source of our happiness. Figures suggest what nutritionists have long proclaimed – enjoying good food and fine drinks in a social setting generate serotonin and dopamine. The former is a chemical that helps us to maintain a continuous happy feeling, while the latter is produced by the brain and makes people more talkative and excitable.
How does one achieve these moments on a regular basis? The process is simpler than one might have thought. Become a bon vivant. One doesn’t necessarily have to live a luxurious lifestyle, but one should appreciate the pleasures in food and drink. When spending hard-earned money for a dinner and the favourite bottle of wine, one shouldn’t only check the price tag, but choose what one deserves and tastes fine.
Lovers and dating couples notoriously go out to eat and share lavish dinners and exuberant meals, just as the old proverb claims – the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The same holds for happiness. A gathering with superbly prepared braised lamb, foie gras-melted white prawns or butter poached wild ocean fish will not only soften every heart, but also places sweet happiness on the dessert menu. Lavish meals are the core of the good life.
The good life is a choice, not an end in itself
Our culinary experiences and our Bon Vivant attitude are a prosperous highway to happiness and not a vicious circle. Starting by adapting to the good life, one step leads to another. Good food and drink shared with the beloved ones give us peace and happiness, which eventually stabilises our work-life balance. The good life is a choice, not an end itself.
There isn’t any statistic about the work-life balance of the Bon Vivants throughout the world yet, but the evidence is clearly in favour of the good life. An improved work situation is simply a consequence of a life well lived. Our jobs and tasks can be stressful and often we can’t control their momentum. The continuous effort to get on top of things and getting the to-do-list out of the way can easily lead to a vicious circle that has more negative implications than positive ones. As we have to deal with our daily tasks in any case, we might as well do it happily. Give the good life priority, as it will lead the rest of the way.
The theory always sounds easy and convincing. However, the practical aspect doesn’t have to be impossible and is actually quiet manageable – no matter whether working in management or retail. Choosing good food and fine wine is the first step. The good life doesn’t suggest splendour, but encourages exquisite treats. Fine dining and a private chef for your next family reunion are ways to easily achieve the Bon Vivant lifestyle – without stress.