A study reported by The Washington Post notes people with the highest level of optimism live between 11 and 15 percent longer than those with a less optimistic perspective.
Eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, refusing to smoke cigarettes, and learning to manage stress in a healthy manner contribute to longer lifespans.
Life is too short to see the cup half empty. Ask Chuck Cheeves, the self-appointed purveyor of positivity who brings a smile and encouragement to everyone he meets. Chuck, 62, a 60-year Milledgeville, Georgia, resident who retired from Baldwin County government last November, experienced a life-changing moment a decade ago that greatly reshaped his outlook.
“My friend Lester died unexpectedly in 2012 at age 53. His death had a profound impact on me, and I did some soul searching. I realized life is short and I wanted to use what time I have left to impact lives in a positive way.
“I decided from that point forward, nobody would ever again see anything negative on my Facebook page. By posting inspirational quotes, encouraging stories and humor, I turned that page into a daily destination for many people needing a boost. I went from 50 followers to over 450. I love to encourage.”
Chuck’s theme is “life is good!” He carries a wooden sign six inches by 30 inches inscribed with that slogan. As he makes his way around Milledgeville and Middle Georgia, he takes pictures of people holding his sign and builds the person up with his positive post. He estimates he has taken over 800 pictures promoting “Life Is Good!”
Chuck loves to ramble around in his Chevy Trax dubbed the “Sparkle Wagon.” Visiting places like Camak, Bradley, Social Circle, Warthen, Mitchell, Homerville, Barnesville, Plains, Andersonville, Tullulah Falls, and other spots with a railroad connection, Chuck posts beautiful pictures of small-town businesses, homes, cemeteries, and especially depots and all things related to trains.
His Christian faith also influences him. He loves Proverbs 3:5-6; “Trust the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take.”
Chuck is thankful for his Christian home and for parents who applied Proverbs 22:6: “Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Chuck is living proof of that verse’s truth.
“My parents set a great example by bringing us to church even when my brother and I didn’t want to go and by serving in various ways. My grandfather was also involved in First Baptist (Milledgeville). I haven’t always stayed on the righteous path, but I’m on track now and appreciate my church family so much. The camaraderie, the fellowship, and the positive reinforcement really help me.”
Chuck’s nickname is “the Mayor of Pendale,” named after the little neighborhood in north Milledgeville where Chuck lived for many years. One Milledgeville mayor stopped him in the courthouse one day and said, “I think more people think you’re the mayor than they do me.”
What word of advice does Chuck share for those needing a lift?
“Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everybody messes up. God forgives, so don’t stay in the past. The past is past and there’s no future in it. Move forward!”
For Chuck, life is good because:
*Even though I fail Him daily, God still loves me.
*My church family loves me.
*I’m blessed my mom and dad are still alive and I continue to make memories with them.
*My brother and his family are happy, healthy, and thriving.
*I have many people who love me and care about me.
*I was able to retire at 62 and now live life to the fullest.
*I am healthy enough to enjoy each day and impact people in positive ways.
*I am happier than I’ve ever been and still have the spirit of a teenager.
*I have everything I need to live a happy life, especially Jesus.
With such an optimistic outlook grounded in his faith, don’t be surprised if Chuck lives to 115. Why is life good for you?
David Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit www.mcdonoughroad.org for information and online viewing options. Visit www.davidchancey.com to see Chancey’s books and other writings.