To simplify the secret of a contented life, I have narrowed it down to two things: connections & balance.
First, we need to connect to people, to activities, to ideas. These connections take all sorts of forms. We connect to family, to friends, to coworkers, to classmates, to casual acquaintances, and to strangers. Also, we connect to our jobs, our school work, our religion, our chores, our responsibilities, our hobbies, our sports, our entertainment, our exercise, and our social activities. Then there are connections to different philosophies, belief systems, and our basic values. The “no man is an island” idea manifests itself because the introvert and the extrovert both need to connect to someone or something to find purpose and/or contentment.
Next, all these connections need to achieve a kind of balance. Think of the Finnish proverb: “Happiness is a place between too little and too much.” So we don’t let our work connections turn us into workaholics or allow our connection to cooking rich food make us obese. We strive to balance all our different connections so we have a sense of calm contentment.
Now as I begin a new teaching job at a new place, I hope to balance my connections to old ways of teaching with paper and pen and holding my reading material in my hands with the new ways of teaching with technology and reading online. Let the young learn from the old just as much as the old learn from the young.