by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

Though as a rule the underlying cause amounts to nothing of consequence, I readily proclaim my eruptions of delight with just about anything I have or do. It is not mere complaisance. Mine is a grateful disposition. Some might assert that given my modest achievements and acquisitions I am too easily pleased. To them I say, Pshaw! I prefer to style my agreeableness as an insight not a misapprehension. While I won’t deny there is in this mad world rampant distress, my experience is not of that unfortunate character and I see no reason to disguise it or to pretend otherwise. As much as I’d prefer to improve the circumstances of those who suffer, I am equally disposed to relish my own comparatively jocund predicament.

Today marked another bijou victory in my inglorious existence. After several years of privately pining about an exceedingly trifling matter I at last took it in hand. Several weeks ago I decided to do something about it.  It doesn’t matter what I did or what it was about, the motivating principle is the same: Make it fit!  The solution is but one example of the uniformity of life, that seemingly complex phenomenon which is upon examination underpinned by astonishingly few stanchions of reason. And the rewards are manifest, everything from boomps-a-daisy to blue sky and general contentment with the state of the world.

Whenever I relent and submit to doing what I always knew should be done it astounds me nonetheless to discover how fortuitous the exercise is.  Why it is that I should allow myself to become bogged in the muck of vacillation before at last capitulating I shall never know!  It no doubt involves a combination of native intransigence and what mistakenly passes at the time for passable reflection.  But in the end the mocking result is the same: I knew it!  In this instance the problem was my failure to act upon my instincts (one of those elemental paradigms I mentioned).  I know I am notorious for touting the value of one’s instincts. So permit me to amplify the process in this case by observing that I was being undeservedly accommodating – effectively making excuses for what I otherwise knew should be done. This deference is moderately different from rationalizing inaction though the upshot is identical.

The relieving consequence of doing what has to be done is incontrovertible. In an instant all is remedied.  It is akin to an act of contrition which erases a muddling obstruction to one’s progress. Certainly I am retailing this as far more gripping than it actually is – at least from a casual observer’s viewpoint – but to me it is a catharsis of the first order. The significance of the minutiae has I am certain something to do with that metaphor about the strength of a chain and its weakest link.

Honestly I feel at this ripe stage of my life that all is well, that everything fits.  Obviously I haven’t any first-hand knowledge of anything different but I cannot resist imagining that this is not an unfavourable condition, as ephemeral as it may yet prove to be. Certainly it requires an appropriately narrow view of life to isolate what undoubtedly is by comparison to many other circumstances a singularly lucky draw. I am bound for example to limit my perspective to my immediate vernacular, basically family and friends. Anything broader than that quickly eclipses the glow. Having said that, I take my responsibility to family and friends seriously, by which I mean I do whatever I can to contribute to and elevate their personal experience. There is in that heartfelt dedication a redeeming nature to what is otherwise conceived to be insular activity. In any event my object is not to excuse my apparent disavowal of the greater parameters of life but rather to extoll the personal satisfaction of my own. It is perhaps noteworthy that the legitimacy of my life does not depend upon comparative standards.  From my point of view my benchmarks – whatever they may be – are perfectly fine.

It has always struck me as self-evident that if one is happy with one’s life then one will live happily. Trite I know, but this neat logic obviates consternation about the past, present and future.  Eliminating a neurosis about one’s present or future has to be uplifting; and I am assuming that even the dullest intellect among us is capable of dismissing the past as a fait accompli. Equally undeniable is the recognition that even if one were to impose impossible standards – or for that matter standards of any description – it will do nothing to alter the outcome of one’s life. I should however confess that my cheerfulness does not in the least depend upon such strict deductive reasoning.  Instead I find that I have that good-natured breeding of a fine water dog.  There is almost no situation beyond which I am incapable of discovering gratification.

It would be quite impossible for me to qualify the jubilation which so regularly colours my daily sentiments. I have an appetite for all that life offers – certainly an appeasement of the five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste manifested for example in my joy of things and literature, music, flowers, piano and food. Naturally I flatter myself to consider that the objects of my affection are worthy of approbation even when at times bordering on smugness. Yet as offensive as pride may be, the alternative for diminution or castigation is no less repugnant. In the end no two of us will choose to live our lives in the same manner.  If we are content with the way things have turned out then so much the better in my opinion.  It is a complete waste of time to engage in comparisons or competition to see who wins. And what profit is there to achieve a goal set by another? There may indeed be self-deception in such arrogant accommodation but on balance it is one I am prepared to risk. As far as I’m concerned, it all fits!