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August 25, 2022 11:55 am

Thomas K. Carpenter

I have a very clear memory from the age of 16 of laying in bed at night, unable to sleep, staring up at the parachute on my ceiling thinking about life. Although I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant at the time, that was when I decided that my goal was to be good at life. Of course that has meant different things throughout my life, but it has remained a guiding principle.

I had several friends die from cancer when I was young, and their deaths really effected me and the way I thought about life. I was forced to learn early that we only have a short time on this planet, and I wanted to make the most of it. I promised myself then that I would embrace life’s adventures, the good and the bad.

This philosophy has served me well in my 50 years on this planet. I’ve traveled the world, gone sky diving, helped raise two amazing children, tried any food offered to me (and found some amazing favorites because of it), gone to countless concerts, summited mountains, and recently left the corporate world to become a full time writer. I’m not sure any of those things would have happened had it not been for my late night epiphany at 16. They are all part of my idea of being good at life. Try everything you can, and then decide if you like it or not.

To me part of being good at life is recognizing that we should be life long learners and everyone has something to teach you if you’re willing to learn from them. Thinking this way has really allowed me to grow as a person. I’ve learned patience and empathy which I consider key traits to being a good human, parent, spouse, and writer. I’ve also never felt the need to just follow along with the status quo. I’ve forged my own path, and celebrated the diversity of humans.

What does “being good at life” mean to you? What is your guiding philosophy? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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