Getting Along With People Is Easy

As I kneeled to thin out the dead stalks in the rose bushes near my back gate today, I felt a twinge in my back. As I stood up to shake off the twinge, I felt a pain in my right thigh and stiffness in both knees. At that moment, I mumbled silently to myself, “Is this what life is all about?” I realized at that moment that I was feeling my age and things that seemed easy to me in my youth would slowly but surely become more difficult with the passing years. Eventually, one by one, things that I have until now taken for granted, will become impossible. The aging process will progress resolutely until the day of my ultimate passing from this wonderful life. Loss of youth is frustrating but not nearly as daunting as the final curtain and the realization that when my life-light goes out, all that will survive are the memories others have of me. Since I can’t hold the curtain back forever, I want those memories to be predominantly pleasurable for those who outlive me.

If I live to the age of eighty, I will have lived slightly more than twenty nine thousand days. At this moment, still assuming I will live until I am eighty, I have approximately nine thousand days left. It is at this point in one’s life that almost involuntarily, a grand reassessment begins. I know what I have done so far in my life and I know which bits of it added value to others, and to myself. I am aware of the good that I have done and I am grudgingly conscious of the bad. In this last third of my earthly existence, I wonder what my future purpose is. What shall I do? Should I become a recluse and hide from all of the problems of the people who annoy me? Shall I spend the balance of my earthly sentence thinning roses and mowing the lawn, oblivious to the world outside…or, alternatively, should I become a supporter of causes that help other people while working tirelessly to make the world a better place? All have their benefits and all appeal to me in their own unique ways. The wonderful glory of these options is that I have choices. I can do whatever I want. That is the beauty of being human and living free.

One choice I have made is to awake on every one of my last nine thousand mornings with a smile on my face. Every day I have had until now has been a privilege and every day I have from this day forward will be a precious gift. I have come to the irrefutable conclusion that I cannot keep my smile alive without the help of other people. If the folks in the world who are going to join me in my last nine thousand days do not share my dream of daily happiness, I will fail. When you have only nine thousand days to live, you tend to want to make the best of them. With that in mind, I intend to make sure the other folks on my nine thousand day odyssey, only see the best of me. If I get along with them, they will want me to be happy. If they enjoy my presence, they will do everything they can to make me smile. If I make their lives as pleasurable as I possibly can, they will reward me with kindness. In short, selfishly I intend to get along with everyone I meet. It will take a modicum of extra effort, but it will be worth it. The alternative is not getting along with other people, but that surely will not bring a smile to my face…or theirs.

Life is all about options and choices. I choose a life of fulfillment and joy. I choose getting along with people… I choose happiness! You can too!

Wayne Kehl

Author's Bio: 

Wayne Kehl is an author, lecturer, and behavioral analyst in British Columbia. Find out more about him at or