Uncle Mark’s secrets to living a happy life
Oddly enough, this saying is often attributed to President John F. Kennedy. Talk about unfair; the man had a fleet of speechwriters on staff to fluff up his eloquence, so he gets credit for something people have been saying for centuries.
Throughout history, people have known that life isn't fair, although we still complain about it, just as we complain about the weather. Fortunately, there's a difference. While there's little we can do about the weather, we can change the unfairness of life, or at least the way we deal with it.
Right now, many folks are upset that 47 percent of the people in the United States don't pay federal income taxes. Some of that 47 percent don't pay taxes because they are too sick or too old or too unskilled to make enough money.
Do you want to change places with them?
As one of the 53 percent who pay federal income taxes, I'm glad to help the needy but not the greedy.
I comfort myself knowing that this is why we have the Internal Revenue Service. If you know a tax cheat, turn him in to the IRS. Sounds fair to me.
Luck of birth
Life's unfairness starts at birth. Were you born healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally?
Are your parents rich or poor, involved in your life or unable or unwilling to raise children? Are you white, black, Asian?
Male, female? Handsome or homely?
Before we brag too much about our accomplishments, we should realize luck often has a hand in how we turn out as adults. I have a buddy who's a retired big-time government official. He happens to be the son of a big-time government official, yet he thinks he got this job on his own.
Meanwhile, he rants about "preferential treatment" given to blacks, women and other people who lacked his good sense to be born in the 1940s to a hard-charging, politically savvy white man who believed in education and the work ethic.
Sure, lots of people become very successful despite humble, even downright negative origins that would make Dr. Phll shiver. They deserve our praise and respect.
But let's not bash all the others who didn't beat the odds. Better to be grateful if you have done well.
While life isn't fair, we can be fair.
The next rule may actually be the most important: "Keep it simple."
Avoid the big mortgage, the lust for more fancy cars and expensive boats, the mania to keep up with the Joneses.
Nice, new stuff is thrilling, but big bills can keep you bound to your old life for a long time. Carrying huge debt makes it much tougher to see the world, live your dreams or tell the boss to take this job and shove it.
Self-created burdens can raise your blood pressure and lower your ability to enjoy life. A simple life is a smart life.