Have you ever had something you really wanted or needed to change, but never seem to manage it? Or how about a change you were able to make for a short time, but before long slipped back into your old routine? You are not alone. Unfortunately, while we all tend to think that with a strong desire and enough will-power we can change anything about ourselves we choose, that is only partially true. Sure, a strong desire is important, and self-discipline is necessary, but as I’ve recently learned we all have an innate “immunity to change” that can keep us stuck in old habits and behaviors. It is that unrecognized, self-protective immunity that makes change so difficult. For those of us who are on a quest to know ourselves better as life goes on and to make positive changes when necessary, learning how this immunity works is juicy stuff.
For as long as I can remember I have been seeking happiness. Back in high school when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up—I said “happy.” I convinced myself that the pursuit of happiness was not only our self-evident right, but that it was equal to the unalienable rights of life and liberty. (Remember the constitution?) I think I’ve read every book with the words happy and happiness in them ever written. And while I am mostly always happy, there are days when it isn’t easy. Then recently I’ve read a couple of books that have me questioning that pursuit on a much deeper level. Is it possible I’ve been seeking the wrong thing? And is it possible that what most of us want when we say we want happiness isn’t located where we’ve been looking?
It’s that time again! For the last five years I have considered it a privilege to scour the internet to find what I consider to be the best blogs and websites I can find. Like SMART Living 365, these are personal blogs and not commercially driven websites to make money. I tend to focus on the topics of positive aging and retirement but I decided to include all my favorites this year. Why not? And while my list certainly doesn’t contain all the sites available on these topics, I think that they are noteworthy and offer thoughtful, creative and provocative insights.
While some are the same from past years, as always, I have added some new ones and trimmed a few old ones that are no longer active. Thank you to each of the authors and creators who put in the time and effort to provide such helpful ideas and information while sharing their lives and experiences with all of us throughout the year. They cost nothing except the time to read. [Read more…]
In January of 2022 I selected the word surrender for my word of the year. Often referred to as WOTY, it is customary for people to pick a particular word to hold in their mind, and perhaps guide them, throughout the year. I wasn’t entirely sure why I selected surrender, only that it seemed like the perfect next step after using “trust” as my word for 2021. As things happen, surrender became more and more meaningful to me as the year unfolded. Then recently I reread a book from several years ago by Michael A Singer. That book, titled The Surrender Experience is Singer’s follow-up to his first book the untethered soul—the journey beyond yourself. Together, those two books are helping me recognize my own surrender experiment and where I hope to go from here. [Read more…]
As some of you know I grew up in the desert southwest. My love of sunshine continues to this day but unfortunately, my skin has paid a price. In my pursuit of the perfect tan, my skin (particularly on my forearms) has become ridiculously thin so that it often bruises and sometimes bleeds at the slightest injury. By the same token I was listening to a podcast this week that asked, “Are we all becoming very thin-skinned and fragile these days?” It went on to ask if our pursuit of comfort and convenience was making us “bruise or bleed” at the slightest inconvenience, threat or annoyance. Regrettably, those questions struck a bit too close to home. Everywhere I look (especially on Facebook!) people are bruised and depressed about how awful things have gotten (climate change, no gun control, schools, etc.) and how mean and impatient other people have become. And don’t even mention religion or politics! Fortunately, there is a cure. Just like using a powerful sunscreen on my arms helps—enhancing our antifragile selves could allow us to live more peacefully in our stressful world.
Lately, one part of me can’t seem to sit down and write a blog post. It’s not that I don’t want to write or intend to give up blogging. The problem is another part of me has found dozens of other equally important or fascinating things to do with my time. Ever find yourself in the same position where you want to do something but other actions seem necessary or important? Or what about when you know you should do something but find yourself mindlessly scrolling on the computer? Well last week I happened to be listening to a podcast while doing my morning walk and discovered the likely answer. Apparently, each of us has many different “selves” within us that have different needs and agendas. I learned that the concept of multiple selves has existed within the psychological and philosophical awareness for decades. And according to some “experts” it can be very beneficial to us all to learn to understand, appreciate and orchestrate these selves into a coherent harmony. Let me explain. [Read more…]
Sorry, but now that I have your attention I must confess that there is no real secret to my happy marriage. It’d be nice though, huh? It might also be tempting to believe it is luck. A part of me admits how very fortunate I’ve been to be in a relationship that just keeps getting better as the years go by. Surely luck has something to do with it when the same has alluded so many wonderful people. It’s also inviting to think it’s because I’ve got relationships all figured out. But although I’ve made some great choices, what you haven’t seen is all the road-bumps I’ve/we’ve encountered. Even so, on the eve of my 45th anniversary, I am gratefully aware of the privilege of living and loving the same human for such a length of time and believe there are a couple of elements that helped to make it happen.
To begin with, before we even got together we both held a strong intention to create an extraordinary relationship. [Read more…]
I’m not sure why I requested a review copy of the book Trust & Inspire—How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness In Others by Stephen M.R. Covey, but I did. Like many of you, I don’t have a business or employees. Not only do I not manage other people, I sometimes don’t seem to manage myself that well either. But I do deeply admire the author’s father—the late Stephen Covey author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, so the name caught my attention. And when I think about it, the idea of trust has been on my mind as well. Do I truly trust myself to do what I say I will do? Do I trust those around me? Do I trust the products I buy and/or the businesses that sell them? Do I trust my government? As Covey points out, if trustworthy people don’t see others as trustworthy (even if they are) then trust is absent. And is that the kind of world I want to live in?
Like most people my age (65+) I feel that time appears to be going faster than ever before. For example, when I look at the calendar it is difficult to believe Thom and I have been back from our three-month trip for over a month now. Of course, we have gone and returned from Tucson twice since then, moved up to a rental cabin in the mountains, visited with friends and caught up on dozens of to-dos that we put off while traveling. But looking back over that month, especially when I admit that I planned (avoided?) writing a blog post (or two) during that time, my excuse is that I just didn’t have time. Does time actually go faster as we age or am I just getting pickier and pickier about how I spend it?
It may have appeared to those who followed along with my recent travels that I was experiencing the trip of a lifetime. Several people even stated that in comments to my posts here on the blog and on Facebook. But honestly, “It wasn’t.” Sure, the trip was great in so many ways, but in my opinion I hope to never experience a trip of a lifetime. That’s because I intend to keep experiencing trips that are amazing and hopefully better. Plus, even though I tried to be honest about a few of the challenges that popped up during our 90 days of travel, lots of things happened along the way that were completely unexpected. Isn’t that how it is in life? What’s the saying, “No matter where you go, there you are.” And I’d add to that, “No matter how well you plan or hope, stuff happens!” So, in reflection I thought I’d mention a few thoughts that could benefit us all (me!) when “stuff happens” in our future—regardless of when or where they happen. And if you have a few practices that work for you, I hope you share them in the comments below.