by Jacquelyn J. Core JD PhD

I admit it. I am a girl who tries to find the best of everything. For years, my best friend and I have been in search of the absolute best version of everything we need and want. The best vacuum (Miele), the best store (ABC Carpet and Home), the best t-shirt (James Perse), the best gelateria in Italy (Vivoli in Florence), the best iron (Rowenta), the best coal fired Pizza (Patsy’s on the UES in New York City). We are still working to find the best vacation, although we have had some amazing travels already. I could go on… Now, before you take up the “sword of bests” in battle against me…Of course these “bests” are totally subjective. They are MY bests, and your bests and mine may not match, nor do they need to match. In fact, you may not even care about the quality of the same things… maybe any iron is good enough for you. Nonetheless, I want to encourage you both to figure out what is important to you and then to find the best of everything important.

How do you define the best? Well, like most things, I can give you the lawyer answer… it depends. In the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” the author tells us to only keep things that spark joy… to ask ourselves with everything we touch “does this bring me joy?” Well, I am here to tell you that I still own plenty of things that don’t spark joy… but less than I owned before I read the book. In short, I think the author is on to something. You decide what is best based on what makes you feel good. And the more things that you have that make you feel good the better you will feel. I am not saying more is better.

My best friend put it another way… if we only saved the (clothing) things we love and got rid of everything else, we would not go naked. Part of finding the best is figuring out how many you really need. If the answer is “fewer,” then you can afford things of better quality which you will both love and which will last. As my dad would say “good’s not always cheap, and cheap’s not always good.” In our material society sometimes we get tricked into believing that more is always better when really “better is always better.”

For years I have claimed that of good, fast, and cheap you can only have two. If it’s fast and cheap, it won’t be good. If it’s fast and good it won’t be cheap. And if it’s good and cheap it won’t be fast. I prefer the latter. I would rather wait for quality and save resources, but that’s just me. Regardless, I know for sure that I would rather have fewer great things than more mediocre ones in my life… and about relationships I feel no different. If we surround ourselves with positive, happy people with great attitudes we become positive and happy, and our attitudes improve as well. Similarly, if we surround ourselves with healthy people with healthy habits, it is easier to adopt those habits, and we become healthier. Find your tribe, and make it the happiest, healthiest tribe you can get.

Being your best self is definitely part of this equation. Set your own standards in this regard. Take action to be your best, and you will also be your happiest. One of the best things about working at the YMCA (besides working with the most amazing team of people on the planet) is that you get to work in a place where almost everyone is almost always happy. People come to the Y to find their best self… to focus on making themselves better and happier. We can do the same with all aspects of our lives. Focus on radical self care and finding/creating happiness for yourself and those around you. Surround yourself with friends and family who bring out the best in you. Focus on today, and cultivate thankfulness for all it has to offer. And shine a light on the future, letting go of any negative past that (or person who) haunts you. Make 2018 the year of the “best.”

We at the Y are ready to help you be your best by adopting incremental, sustainable changes that will last. So celebrate the year of the best you: Do your best activity with your best friend wearing your best clothing or gear… and when it’s over share your best stories over your best drink. After all, you deserve it!
Here’s to your good health!