I lead an extraordinarily happy life. These days I am beyond happy. I am enthusiastic about everything to do with being alive. I love to feel the breeze, hear the crack of thunder and the flash of lightning, see the birds and wasps flying around, and scan the ground for snails and earthworms.
You see, I have some major advantages because of some choices that I have made. In addition to having an extraordinarily fulfilling spiritual life, I have no vices. I know that sounds strange, but it contributes greatly to my happiness and sanity.
Believe it or not, I have never even tasted alcohol. I’ve never drank beer, wine, hard liquor or anything else with alcohol in it. I was the night manager for a liquor store in Lake Arrowhead when I was 18 years old, and even then I was not tempted in the least to even take a sip of alcohol. I’d known plenty of alcoholics in my childhood life, and their habits, mannerisms and even their smell turned me away from this particular vice. Based upon what I see from other people who drink too much, I’m not missing out on anything of value.
During high school, I had all of the normal peer pressure to smoke cigarettes. I was never even tempted. I didn’t like the smell, and it seemed so bizarre to suck hot smoke and ash into your lungs that it just didn’t appeal to me. My friends said “real men smoke” and “come on, try it”. When they asked why I wouldn’t even try a cigarette, I answered that smoking was stupid. After a while, the kids stopped asking. I know I’m not missing out on anything for never having tried tobacco products (of any kind). And since I watched my late wife Claudia die from smoking and smoking related illnesses over a period of twelve years, well, I am not even slightly tempted.
In years past I was, however, a prolific drinker of soda and later diet soda. When I was a child, I became addicted to Coca-cola and other sugary drinks. As I gained a little weight when I got older, I switched to diet sodas. thinking these would help with weight gain (I was wrong about that, aspartame and other sweeteners actually lead to greater weight gain than sugared sodas).
I finally did some research and concluded that aspartame was not something my body needed. I cut out sodas and everything else with any artificial sweeteners cold turkey (being careful not to cut the caffeine at the same time). I was miserable (and so were the people around me) for a few weeks, and then I felt much better. It was definitely a good idea to get rid of the vice of soda and artificial sweeteners. Now I drink water and herbal teas primarily, and my body seems much happier about it.
I’ve never been a gambler. It just seemed downright stupid. I’m pretty smart, and it never seemed the odds were in my favor. For every winner in Las Vegas, there are a thousand losers. How else does a casino make so much money? I do buy a lottery ticket now and then, but the odds are so great that this seems more like the entertainment of watching my money flush down the toilet than gambling. No, I have not missed anything by avoiding gambling.
I could go on and on, but basically these days I live my life in a very high level of ethics, and I am far happier than I’ve ever been.