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A Life Well Lived

The great philosopher, Mae West, once said, "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough". All I can say is, from her mouth, the God's ear!

What is a life well lived? We've all heard that turn of phrase, but I for one, have never really thought about it. A life well lived has got to be more than just doing good deeds for others--though that is certainly important. Somehow, I feel like it should also take into account what we do for ourselves.

Somewhere in the definition of a life well lived is likely the fact that we were an attorney who did this, that, or the other thing--an attorney who represented such and such a person, or company. Someone who accomplished one thing or another in the course of our legal career.

But maybe we need to redefine the definition of a life well lived? Maybe stop thinking exclusively about what we do for others, and start thinking also about what we do for ourselves. I don't mean in a selfish way, but rather, in a caring way. Because men and women who are mindful of their own well-being, are much more likely to be mindful of the well-being of others.

If well-being is something that is recognized (as it is, and should be) as something that is important for the men and women in the legal profession--for all men and women--then why shouldn't a life well lived be equated somehow with a life of well-being? Or, at least, a life in which one strives to achieve well-being--regardless of success or failure?

The definition of well-being offered by the American Bar Association in the report published by The National Task Force for Lawyer Well-Being is tremendous: "[A] continuous process whereby lawyers seek to thrive in each of the following areas: emotional health, occupational pursuits, creative or intellectual endeavors, sense of spirituality or greater purpose in life, physical health and social connection with others".

Well-being, as defined by the National Task Force is multi-faceted, and it is ongoing--it's a "continuous process", that only ends when our lives end. And it appropriately touches upon both others, and the individual. Think of it as a Golden Rule 2.0 (or whatever your cultural equivalent may be). Do unto yourself and  unto others, as you would have others do unto you. That's the kind of mindset that mindfulness and meditation can nurture, and grow.

Maybe the effort we make to achieve some degree of well-being in our own lives (which, in turn, manifests and encourages the recognition of well-being in others) should be given more thought or attention. Maybe well-being in some way, shape or form, is also a legitimate measure of a life well lived.

What do you think?


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