Posted in Life, life changes

Living the life

Phrases my mother often said come back to me regularly. One of those is living the life of Riley.

What does it mean? If you live the life of Riley, you possess an easy, pleasant life, footloose and fancy free.

When I researched that particular idiom, I learned that, most likely, the saying first originated in the early 1900’s but became a common catchphrase during World War I. Possibly, my mother learned it from her parents, who were married in 1900.

By the 1940’s when my parents married, the expression had become quite popular and actually, The Life of Riley was the title of a radio comedy show, then a film, and finally a television show during the years 1953-58.

Even though I was very young during those years, I do recollect that TV program and the main character, Chester Riley, always remarking, “What a revoltin’ development this is!”

So why does my memory bank divulge this bit of trivia? Two things really. First is a photograph I recently captured of a cat named Bentley. He definitely lives the life of Riley as he’s an indoor cat doted on by his people, our daughter and grandchild.

He lounges around their house, has plenty of food to eat and water to drink, toys to entertain him, windows to watch birds and wildlife outside, comfy spots for napping, loving affection and attention, and opportunities for mischief to achieve. A pretty pleasant life, don’t you think?

And when Papa and I visit their home, he greets us at the door, headbutts us for attention, and then promptly sprawls out on the rug like the photo demonstrates. And he stays that way for a good while.

Just livin’ the life. And getting lazy and fat. Our grandchild’s nicknames for him are either “Fat Boy” or “Handsome Man.”

And that brings me to my second reason “living the life of Riley” came to my mind. Not many of us are living the life of Riley nowadays. Carefree days seem to have come and gone.

Recent events coupled with the virus pandemic and being in the throes of winter – we were socked in with ice yesterday – surely do not make us feel footloose and fancy free.

Some of us are watching what’s occurring around the world and especially in our own nation and thinking, “What a revoltin’ development this is!”

Still, we must search for what’s good about life and embrace that, because even if we’re not living life exactly as we’d like, we still have a life to live.

It’s what we do with this life that matters. How shall we live? With purpose and meaning, persevering however we can to maintain the freedoms we have taken for granted so much in the past.

“Every day, it’s important to ask and answer these questions: ‘What’s good in my life?’ and ‘What needs to be done?’~ Nathaniel Branden



Mama of this empty nest, I’m content to live a quiet, country life with my husband of 40+ years and to view gorgeous sunsets off our own back yard deck. Mama to three adults and Nana to adorable grandchildren, my empty nest fills up again with noise and laughter when they all return 'home'. A former English teacher, reporter/editor, education director for a non-profit organization, and stay at home mom, I retired after a season of substitute teaching at a private academy. Now I enjoy time spent with my grandchildren and family and writing words that seem to pour out of my soul or wandering around the countryside with my camera. Foremost, my faith sustains me as I meander through the empty nest stage of life. My favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

9 thoughts on “Living the life

  1. I feel so trapped in our house in many ways. Between snow and ice and this weekend bitter cold, we really have nowhere to go. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t go anywhere because our driveway is steep and covered in ice. So here I sit, trying to keep my mind off the events going on in the nation and feeling very stagnant and depressed. But, yes, I recognize the good things too – a warm house with a woodstove and plenty of wood behing the garage to keep us warm. Food in the pantry, my parents ten minutes away. Homeschooling so no school to send them off to. Books to read, stories to write, a computer to communicate with some people. Two nice neighbors who check on me and I check on them. So there is good amongst the bad. And the cat is funny. We had a cat who used to lay on her back to sleep and the first time she did it, I thought she had died. She was my husband’s cat first and I called my husband at work after we got married to ask if she had died. He burst into laughter and said, “No. She’s fine. Go poke her.” I didn’t want to poke her, but I did and, indeed, she was alive.


      1. yep! And allergies! lol! I’m kidding! I’m kidding. I was just pretending I could only find bad in things. Seriously, I am looking forward to looking out and seeing some green in our yard. it’s been white with snow since before Christmas! However, even that white snow is pretty, something I thought about last night as I went to get some wood from the woodpile.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I do my best to remind myself (and my husband) every day of just how “good” we have it. Yes, the pandemic has slowed things down (we’re under lockdown here in southern Ontario – for the second time in a year), we can’t visit friends or family (I miss my granddaughter like crazy), and the weather is cold and snowy. BUT – we have our health, we have our home, we have our love for one another, we have a lot of years ahead of us to do all the things we “can’t” do under the current circumstances. Things could be worse (and they are for many). When I “count my blessings”, I realize we have it pretty darn good (maybe not as good as Bentley, though! LOL!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Remember that old song, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”? There was a lot of truth to those lyrics, huh? Hubby and I try to do the same as you, remind ourselves each day about the good in our lives. Hopefully, we don’t get as fat and lazy as Bentley though! 😉


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