- Living well is the best revenge.
- George Herbert
English clergyman & metaphysical poet (1593 - 1633)
That is one of my favorite quotes, but I never knew who said it until just now, when I looked it up. I'd always thought it was a Chinese proverb or something, but I'm probably thinking of "Revenge is a dish best eaten cold." I'm pretty sure that's a Chinese saying (and a good one, too).
I take a couple of things from the "living well" quote. Upon first glance, it would seem to be materialistic, saying that he who accumulates the most toys, wins. While Ken and I enjoy our "stuff" as much as anyone, there's a deeper meaning there, and as a clergyman and poet, I'm sure Mr. Herbert intended it to be a little more than keeping up with the Joneses.
For me, it's about how you live your life and how you treat others. Do you try to use your powers for good or for evil? Do you do your best to bring a positive outlook to every encounter, or are you known as a downer? (I know we're not all positive all the time, but I'm talking in general here.) When people come away from a conversation with you, do they feel in a pretty good mood, or do they feel miserable? To me, "living well" means living your life in such a way that you leave a positive legacy, whether you're just moving away or you're giving up the ghost. When you're gone, it means people will remember you with fondness and happiness instead of thinking, "Ugh, HER. I'm glad she's gone!" Others may accumulate more stuff, or they may rise higher in the ranks, or they may win a petty victory over you...but if you live your life in a decent and kind way, you will be remembered with affection, while those who choose a different path may not be remembered at all.
It's a choice, one we all have to make. Choose wisely, grasshopper.