This is the Good Life. This is the phrase I say to myself while I stare out onto crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. I am feeling so great right now that it’s hard to believe it’s real. I’m roadside at a Vista Point on Hawaii’s Highway 72, but my surroundings shout “paradise.”
A hundred feet below me is a thin stretch of sand where surfers are trying to conquer the waves and children are attempting to build sand castles. Behind me is a majestic mountain range that spews forth triangles of green into the blue sky. Hovering over the mountain range is a rainbow that has appeared after the short rain shower that also cooled the warm summer air. Plus, there’s that gentle Oceanside breeze that keeps me feeling refreshed. I am close enough to the water that I can feel the salt in the air. If the natural beauty is not enough, I can stare at the beauty of the design of my rental car — a fiery red Mustang convertible (top down of course).
My stomach is still full from feasting the day before. One of my best friends, who is a culinary expert, gave me a tour of Oahu, showing me where to find the best Hawaiian and Japanese food on the island. Looking down at my stomach causes me to lift up my sunglasses. No, I’m not seeing things, my skin color is remarkably a golden tan; I guess this what happens after a week of enjoying life on Hawaii’s magnificent beaches. I look in the distance in the direction of Waikiki Beach. I can see most of the 7 mile run that I did the other day. Even though most of my run was uphill, leading to an extinct volcano, it was not all that difficult for me. “I should run another marathon sometime soon,” I tell myself.
Thinking about the future turns my attention to the girl I love. I’ll get to see her tomorrow; she’ll be there picking me up from the San Francisco Airport with that joyous enthusiasm in her eyes, even though it will be 6:45 am. “Ellen would love to see this,” I think to myself as I take out my cell phone’s camera to document proof that I am in the middle of paradise. I notice that I have already taken hundreds of pictures this week, most of them coming from a wedding of another one of my great friends. It was at one of the most prestigious resorts in Waikiki, right on the beach. It was undoubtedly the most beautiful and elegant wedding I’ve ever seen.
Besides returning to California to see my wonderful girlfriend tomorrow, I’ll be returning to one of the world’s greatest cities without a mortgage, with no student loans, some savings in my bank account, and a great place to live in the heart of San Francisco.
This idyllic setting, my health, and promising future make me want to pray. I want to share my thankfulness with someone. It’s times like now when I feel closest to God. When I’m in this state, I feel like I’m talking to God as if God were right by my side enjoying all this with me.
I open my eyes from my prayer, and I’m hit again by the beauty that surrounds me. Wow, it almost hurts my mind to try to take it all in at once – it’s that amazing. Amazing is probably not the right word – I’m not sure how to explain it. I just know it’s a part of the Good Life.
Composed on Nick’s iPhone
August 20, 2010
The above entry came during one of those moments where you feel at total peace because everything is all good. I call it having a “Good Life Crisis.”
However, I am not suggesting that spectacular getaways to Hawaii and buying red convertibles are the secrets to life. I just wanted to provide you a personal example in which I felt like I was experiencing “The Good Life.”
I believe there is a lot we can learn from the times when people say they “feel most alive,” “feel something magical in the air,” “feel their lives are full of meaning and purpose,” or “feel close to God.” This is why I have spent countless hours interviewing inspiring people in some of the world’s greatest settings to gain a better understanding of “The Good Life.” By reading about their lives and wisdom they have shared, I hope you will be inspired to improve your life in a variety of ways . It is my goal in this project to give you a picture of how you can have a Good Life Crisis and confidently say, “I am living the Good Life.”
The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing.
–Oliver Wendell Holmes
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Wow, this makes me jealous – I would love to be there right now instead of the snowy weather here. I love your insights, and I can’t wait to read more in future weeks.
Love it, Nick. Can’t wait to read more.
I’m a little confused. After reading this first entry/chapter, not knowing you at all, I get the sense you’ve been handed most everything in your life. Judging by your picture, the fact you’re not married, and still attending lavish destination weddings, you can’t be old enough to have created any real wisdom. By “real wisdom” I wisdom that didn’t come from an interview, but was gained through life experiences.
I realize that the bulk of the book is probably made up of information from people a little older and wiser than yourself, but to open with this is a mistake. I’m not really sure I want to read a book featuring story after story of people in similar situations to your Hawaii experience either. What can I learn from someone who has it all and is happy about it? Is it really so difficult to have a “Good Life Crisis” and actually realize it’s greatness? I guess it might be if you somehow have a mortgage free, debt free, “storybook” life complete with a masters from Yale.
If your target audiences are those that also have everything and just don’t appreciate it, then this might be a decent read. Coming from a Christian as educated as you, who has a pile of debt, both student and otherwise, and will probably never get to travel around the world in order to write a book, I can tell you there’s nothing inspiring at all about what I’ve read so far…
Interesting thoughts – thanks for sharing. I’m glad you addressed this. I actually present a completely different side of the “Good Life” in the last chapter of the book. I hope you’ll get the chance to read it and see how my view of the Good Life progressed after the 2.5 year process of writing this book. I’ll make sure I make a note to others to read both the first and last chapters before they access if they want to buy the book.