Sunday, December 2, 2012

Here for a good time?

While driving home from work a couple days ago I heard the old Trooper song "We're Here For a Good Time"... Vocalist Ra McGuire singing:

"We're here for a good time
Not a long time
So have a good time
The sun can't shine every day"

That got me to thinking about the phrase "here for a good time, not a long time" and how often it's cited as validation for personally gratifying behaviors. Like, because our lifespans are relatively short - maybe even tragically so - it's important to have a good time while we can. Many people truly believe that and rank having a good time high on the list of things they need to do. Gotta have a good time today because we may not be here tomorrow. I know I sure used to think that way.

When I was in my teens I didn't think I'd live to be thirty so I was always searching for ways to have a good time. When I actually reached that age I merely shifted my supposed termination date to somewhere before forty (No way I'm makin it to forty.) and continued my search for a good time because after all... we're not here for a long time, right? I mean... Everybody knows that. 

"We're here for a good time, not a long time" 

A lot of young people feel that way and many of them continue to feel that way long after they have in fact been around a long time (relatively speaking). Many people well past forty, or fifty... people well into their sixties, seventies and beyond still live their lives looking for a good time but here's the thing...

Having a good time isn't necessarily a good thing.

I know a lot of my good times often left me feeling anything but good when they were over. Hangovers, bruises, regrets... Those are just some of the residual affects of me having a good time. I'm sure others wouldn't have to look too deeply into their own lives to find their good times often came with side-effects of the not-so-good kind.

I think the phrase "We're here for a good time, not a long time" is something for us to believe and to base our thought processes and behaviors on but it's important to define what the word "good" means...

For years I believed, like the majority of others, that "good" in this instance meant "fun". We have to have a fun time. We have to have a good time by doing something fun, something we enjoy. We have to FEEL GOOD by HAVING FUN because... (cue suspenseful music...)


And how much fun would THAT be?

I still think we're here for a good time, not a long time. I truly believe that is the way to live one's life but NOT because we're here for a short time. I think it's the right thing to do no matter how long we may or may not be here for. The difference between the way I look at being here for a good time now isn't the way I used to look at it. I don't think interpreting "a good time" to mean "having fun" or any other personally indulgent behavior is what the ideology (or way of life) that phrase espouses is all about. I think it's about something entirely different... something that won't leave you with a hangover.

What if being here for a good time means being good?

What if, instead of devoting one's life, health, energy and mindset to the pursuit of personal gratification and enjoyment (having FUN) and calling that "good"... we devote our lives, health, energy and mindset to being good?

And by "good" I mean honest, caring, charitable and understanding toward your fellow man (and other lifeforms, the planet and everything else too) 

The more I think about it the more I realize how wrong I was thinking life was all about me having a personally indulgent FUN time... how I rationalized that self-centered belief by thinking I deserved it due to the fact I won't be here for a long time - maybe not even tomorrow. 

I understand now that interpreting "good" to mean "fun" can be a road to a lifetime of empty promises, a pursuit of soulless gratification which ultimately means nothing no matter how long or short one's lifespan may be.

But striving to BE good, loving and respecting ALL life can bring one's own life meaning, experiences far richer and gratifying than momentary fun (and no hangover!)

So think about it... 
About being good...

"We're here for a good time
Not a long time
So have a good time
The sun can't shine every day"

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