“Most of Us Need Some Sort of Plan to Give Our Lives Coherence.”

“Some people are born with the gift of being happy for the moment, but most of us need some sort of plan to give our lives coherence. And since human beings are mostly virtuous, we need to feel good and useful, that others are happy round us, that no one suffers through our doing. All this besides being warm and fed, and healthy, and occupied, and a dozen other luxuries. Small wonder that happiness is a fitful state.”

Nan Fairbrother, An English Year

“Some sort of plan to give our lives coherence”…this is one place where habits meet happiness. More to come in Before and After!

She also wrote, ” “The happiness of others is almost completely unpredictable.”

Agree, disagree?

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  • peninith1

    I heartily agree that a plan or program helps us greatly to bring meaning and structure to our lives, and both to accomplish what we aim for and to become more the person we want to be. Although I cannot say that I have stuck completely to any one of these plans, I have experienced several tested regimes–one of them, the Benedictine Rule, has been around for something more than 1,000 years. It’s amazing how a plan and a structure supports one’s day and one’s progress.
    * The monastic rule: periods of work, prayer, exercise, contemplation and rest are rigidly defined–but the times I have spent on retreats seem very freeing and a good pattern for one’s day. I learned that no occupation is so important that we can’t put it aside for a few minutes of prayer. I learned the joy and incredible love and beauty of silence.
    * The 12 steps (I participated in Alanon for some years) give a great way to structure one’s day and to approach life. The program shifts the focus from one’s miseries and helplessness to what it is possible to do to change the basics of life.
    * Routines for plain daily living–journal your food and exercise, use your timer to structure work and leisure, have a morning and evening routine, a dinnertime and so forth . . . amazing how carrying these routines along can advance you in what you want to do. I never succeeded in really creating an office day routine while I was working–I’m sure that would have made me happier at WORK, instead of so much in the ‘putting out fires’ mode.
    The truth is, I grew up thinking I was a free spirit who hated structure. I have matured into a person who knows that structure is the beginning of sanity, and I am still trying to learn to be more orderly and well-structured in my day. I progress by millimeters, but over the years, I have found this is a great way to have serenity and pleasure in life.

  • Reminds me of Aristotle’s “Telos”, that we need to figure out and strive to master our true purpose as human beings to feel whole and happy.

  • Orock Stanley

    It is good thing we plan for our future to bring meaning and structure to our future. You know, at times, we have that goal to do something for our selfs but, our environment prevents us from doing so. Many of us in the world now strive to a goal which is not our main goal.

    • peninith1

      yes, I have often thought of how many heroic struggles and life plans that have to do with overcoming circumstances or injustices that ought not to be ruling people’s lives.

  • drg

    “The happiness of others is almost completely unpredictable”
    How often have we thought / or heard others say….”if they want to be happy they only have to do”_________ OR….”how can they be happy living like that?”
    The projections of ourselves onto/into others life choices and their resulting contentment/happiness can limit our capacity and learning of the wonderful diversity of appreciation/value/happiness