The Five Senses…Revisited

I am grateful every day for my ability to feel, see, taste, smell, and hear. I would not want to be numb, either physically or emotionally, to the world’s sensations and experiences, good or bad. My vision is far from perfect, but I can watch movies and take in sunsets. I can catch the whiff of expensive perfume on the streets of Paris. I can eat cheese and rock out to the Rolling Stones.

But in thinking about the phrase ‘the five senses’, my more philosophical side bubbled up the other day, and I scribbled the following…

A Sense of Self. A Sense of Purpose. A Sense of Perspective. A Sense of Place. A Sense of Gratitude.

These are ‘senses’ or qualities that I’ve seen very often in Old Money Guys and Gals. I’m not sure if it’s the family environment, the educational experience, or a combination of other factors that contributes to it. But it’s common…and important. So let me fill in some of the gaps.

A Sense of Self. Knowing who you are, what works for you, and what you stand for. These are just a few major components of your Sense of Self. Even as you change over your lifetime, the sooner you can establish your identity firmly and confidently, the easier it is to assess your situation, craft some goals, make some decisions, and move forward in life.

A Sense of Purpose. When you know who you are and what you like, what has meaning for you, and what means nothing to you, you can hone in on a Sense of Purpose. It can be grand; it can be modest. The most important thing is that you know what it is and work toward it consistently and realistically. Be president of the United States or just get your kids through college. It matters not. What matters is that it is constructive, inspiring, and yours.

A Sense of Perspective. It’s great that we think we’re special, but that may be the most common feeling in the world. The reality is that the challenges we face on a daily basis are being faced by a million other people today, and have probably been faced by millions of other people who came before us. Realizing this, we can sometimes lighten our load: we are not alone in tragedy or disappointment. This is not the first time something bad has happened. Conversely, when we experience success, we can take a chill-pill: we are not the first person to make a million dollars in one year, or a billion in one lifetime. A Sense of Perspective can keep us balanced. And sane.

A Sense of Place. This sense applies less to our geographic location and more to our position in society…and the responsibilities that come with it. If we are comfortable, we have a responsibility to do a little something for those who are less fortunate. Save everyone the sermon about how everyone is the master of his or her own fate: people come into this world with different abilities. They are born into different situations. They make different choices. Accidents happen, and sometimes people stumble. They hit hard times. Some need help. Having a Sense of Place–in our social circle, large and small, helps us understand how we can best help our neighbors.

A Sense of Gratitude. This is the big one, the most important. When I first meet someone, I watch for how many times they say ‘thank you’ in the first few minutes of our conversation. I also listen for how often they express their appreciation for something. This tells me if they have a Sense of Gratitude. Are they thankful to be alive and healthy? Is the proverbial glass half empty? Or half full? Without a Sense of Gratitude, nothing is ever enough, or good enough, and it’s miserable to be around someone like that for any extended period of time. So cultivate a Sense of Gratitude.

So that’s an upgrade on the Five Senses that I see many OMG’s embody. Let’s remember them on a daily basis.

  • BGT


5 thoughts on “The Five Senses…Revisited

  1. All excellent. The sense of gratitude resonates in particular for me–prayers of thanks are expressed multiple times a day. I’ve had six (yes, six) joints replaced in the last 20 years or so: both hips, both knees, and both shoulders. I can swim, and I play pickleball several times a week. I’m so grateful to live in times where these things can be done so well. I’m also grateful for anesthesia, for industrial strength pain pills for the first few post-op days and nights, and for the physical therapists who worked with me to get me moving again. I also express my gratitude by donating blood regularly. When I needed blood after a surgery, it was there–someone I’ll never know took the time to donate it, and that assisted my recovery. (Last fall I got my 12 gallon pin for donating–that’s how grateful I am!) Thank you!

  2. Oh, may I add this, please: I also bike. Just got home from a refreshing ride. Again, so grateful.

  3. Bravo. I am not sure if your perspective is colored by being an ex pat, but we Americans stateside spend far too much time thinking about what we do not havw in comparison to counting our blessings.

  4. I think they all kind of tie together. A sense of self helps with a sense of purpose. A sense of perspective helps with a sense of gratitude. We take so much for granted that we forget how many little but wonderful things there are in life. I too have noticed that these characteristics are common among old money people. I suspect it has something to do with good family, good education, good values and, as Byron has previously pointed out, circumspection.

  5. Well said! I think the final point is the most significant. The last 20 years or so of her life, my mother used to say (during many conversations about many things), I thank God everyday for having/being able to live the kind of life that I have. She was right. And if, as you suggest, we reach a similar point in our own journeys, why not help out others in a few small ways?.

    Kind Regards,


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.