The Bottom Line You’ve Never Thought About

No, your mind isn’t playing a trick on you. Everything you are a part of or feel responsible for really is shifting with ever-increasing speed.

What once were clear and cleanly cut rights and wrongs, wants and needs, have faded into endless variations of gray. Whatever you once leaned against for balance or support, now wobbles with uncertainty. Doubt has fractured foundations on which you once placed hope and trust.

What concerns you most, however, is how all of this is changing you, not the superficial you that everyone sees and with which you feel obligated to be comfortable, but deep down to your psyche that which makes you tick, causes you to laugh or cry, believe or ignore, love or hate, accept or reject.

You want to protect all of that, keep it safe and secure because that’s all there is of you. Once that becomes polluted, distorted, or otherwise intruded upon, you become something else, and in your effort to be true to yourself, you can’t ever allow that to occur.

From that comes a sense of helplessness, an internal feeling of wants and needs that can’t be satisfied by conventional means. Rather, it’s external influences and forces beating on your door, wanting, insisting, and finally demanding you either adopt or adapt.

If that weren’t enough, you see no answer in sight, no kind of relief strong enough to even smooth the jagged edges, to soften the harshness and hardness, to ease what has become a nagging adversary.

You rationalize that none of it is out to destroy you, but to merely force you, the square peg, into it, the round hole. Yet, that’s the insidious essence of it, not destructing, just reconstructing, often to satisfy a craze, movement, or misguided effort. No matter what it’s called, the result isn’t what you want, need, or are counting on to take you from life’s beginning to life’s end, a privilege, a one-time trip with no U-turns.

What most of us don’t realize, however, is that there are unerring and irrefutable constants or needs. They may seem ridiculously plain, simple, or out-of-touch to make any difference, but they aren’t. They’re right here, always have been, ready to stabilize, comfort, and ease. It’s just that you’ve forgotten how fundamental they are to your existence and  well-being.

With that, I introduce you to the ultimate starting point for thinking your way through life.

You are alive as long as your heart is beating. It stops, and you stop, and so does the need for all other constants.

Next comes water and food. When there’s no more, you die — much sooner without water than food.

Clothing is necessary in many places on earth, more or less optional in others. So, you adjust accordingly.

Shelter is only slightly needed in some places, much needed in others. Comfort is desirable, but always optional.

As astonishing as it might sound, nothing else is needed for living a long life.

Of course, we don’t stop there. All human beings aspire to having far more. We must, however, exercise judgement. Think of life as a closet filled with empty hangers. It’s up to you to choose what you want or need to place on them.

In its own way, each constant serves as a testament for judging everything that’s happening around you, and how best to use them for the greatest personal advantage. Barring the applying of religious beliefs, there’s no textbook, lecture, or course of instruction with which to do that. Nor can you mimic anyone else; it must be an individual endeavor. Here, however, is the logical and forever applicable takeaway:

Our mortal existence is provided for by a short list of universal constants. Everything else is optional.