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A State of Mind

Marvin R. Shanken, Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Laurence Fishburne, May/June 2013

The Good Life. A Good Life. Living Good. Good Living. Simple words. Each combination of those words means something a little different, but each one defines an approach to how we go through every day. And, those two concepts—living and goodness —have guided us at Cigar Aficionado since we began the magazine 20 years ago.

These days The Good Life is getting a bad rap. Some people believe it’s just about rich folks spending money while Rome burns. That bears no resemblance to what we believe. Let’s look at each phrase.

A personal tagline—they lived a good life—is maybe one of the best things you can say about a person. It can mean many things but there are some indisputable elements to it: giving to others through charity and good works, supporting friends and family through both easy and hard times, expecting and producing the best in yourself and in return getting that from others.

Living good is, by defintion, more personal. But we all know what it means. Eating right. Exercising. Spending time with friends and family. Enjoying every day, or least finding something in every day to enjoy. You can’t really argue that good living means anything different, but maybe it’s just easier for others to make that judgment from the outside…we know when we see someone who enjoys good living.

That brings us back to The Good Life, the cornerstone of what has made Cigar Aficionado what it is today, a guidepost for anyone out there who wants to understand the real pleasures that exist in our world. We know that it is not always about a fancy car, or an expensive bottle of wine or a three-star restaurant meal or a luxurious vacation. Yes, those things can be deeply pleasurable, but so can a drive down a backcountry road in a rattletrap car, an icy cold bottle of rosé wine on the beach at sunset, a BBQ dive off a big Interstate highway somewhere in rural America or a week at a thatched-roof hut on a deserted beach in the Caribbean.

It’s not the trappings around the moment. It is the state of mind you bring to the moment that truly defines the good life.

Just recently, we had a round of golf where nothing clicked. But we were enjoying the camaraderie of friends and didn’t let the golf interfere with what was clearly more important. That lesson should be applied wherever you are, and whatever you are doing.

And, it clearly applies to cigars. Yes, there are some cigars that are simply superior to your taste and you find intrinsic pleasure in them. But the cigars we remember the most fondly are more often about the moment, and the place, and the people we were with, all of which contribute to a state of mind that defines the true meaning of The Good Life.

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