Most of the time I write about ideas that arise in my mind from books, podcasts or conversations. While I cover some of my personal perceptions, I also do my best to share other views to add depth to the conversation. This time is different. This time the largest thing on my mind is the fact that my older sister Ann is dying. And while I realize that talking about death can be difficult, and in some cases even repellent, my goal is to write about it in a way that reminds us all that the experience of death is something we share. Run from it or not, eventually death will touch us all. Sometimes the SMARTest thing any of us can do is stop, look it in the eye, uncover the story we believe about it—then explore ways that may benefit us as we live out the remainder of our life. [Read more…]
One of the best things about joining a book club is the fact that you are introduced to titles that you normally wouldn’t choose for yourself. Last month my nonfiction group picked Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking—or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Let People Help. Not only is it an entertaining and easy read, it is also filled with thoughts and ideas about honesty, feelings of adequacy, being a writer and other acts of creation, trusting ourselves, accepting love, getting paid for our art, and the power of social media. Going far beyond the difference between asking and begging, Palmer’s book is a manifesto on ways to look at the world from a position of connection and wholeness. It is stuffed with plenty of meaty ideas for a two-hour book club as well as a blog post or two. [Read more…]
I’m no stranger to Mexico. My husband Thom and I have visited the country dozens of times throughout the years. But one thing we’ve never done is driven the Baja Peninsula. Every now and then I’d find an article or book describing the many interesting sights and towns we could find the further south we traveled. So, after several decades of hints, Thom happened to read something earlier this year about the Sea of Cortez and specifically about a town named Loreto. With that motivation, I finally convinced him that now was the time. Of course, as with all travel, the journey got more complicated the closer it came to our departure date. And now that we’ve gone and returned, I’m reminded that all travel, like life itself, is a series of adventures, trust, and even a few potholes. [Read more…]
This week SMART Living 365 is pleased to introduce you to Haralee Weintraub as a guest blogger while I am traveling. I’ve followed Haralee’s blog Haralee.com for several years now, as well as admired her business that makes sleepwear for women. I consistently enjoy her commentary on current events, her sense of humor, and her perspective on life. It’s also obvious that she has rightsized her life, so naturally, I asked her to share her perspective with all of you. Thank you, Haralee, for filling in for me and offering a different look at rightsizing.
My name is Haralee and I am honored to fill in with a post while Kathy is vacationing. Kathy’s posts tend to be thought-provoking, well researched and inspirational. She also walks the talk of “Rightsizing,” and has several books to prove it. She has this all going on and she chose to go out on a limb and asked me for a post! Trust me I am not self-deprecating here. My posts are sometimes funny, whining or just musings, but have no books to my credit and I don’t use inspirational quotes. I am, however, a firm believer in rightsizing, so here we go!
Fashion and Rightsizing. It may sound like I am going to tell you not to shop or buy new things but I am not. What I would like to talk about are alternative shopping experiences. [Read more…]
This week SMART Living 365 is pleased to introduce you to Donna from Retirement Reflections as guest blogger while I am traveling. I have been reading Donna’s blog for nearly two years and believe she offers ideas that are inspiring, practical and SMART regardless of whether you are retired or not. Thank you, Donna, for filling in and sharing your thoughts with us this week.
When cleaning out a box of old letters and memorabilia recently, I came across a few of my old school report cards. I smiled at the recurring comment, “Donna spends much time chatting with others.” This behavior was definitely in the “things that could be improved” category. What my teachers failed to add was “If Donna continues this behaviour…it could lengthen her life!”
Researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill combined data from 148 studies that looked at factors that lengthen our lives. Within this research, numerous lifestyle behaviors were examined and ranked based on their impact on longevity (diet, exercise, heart health, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, doctor visits, flu vaccines, air quality, etc.). Two factors were consistently found to impact health and longevity much more significantly than previously realized. One was close, dependable relationships with friends and family. The other was social integration. [Read more…]
As you may have guessed, I am always on the lookout for ways to stay happy and healthy. At 62 I’m also increasingly interested in any new information that shares innovative research and actions for those of us who want to continue living that way in the years to come. So, when I heard about a new book called The Longevity List—Myth Busting The Top Ways to Live A Long & Healthy Life I immediately requested a review copy. Authored by Professor Merlin Thomas from Melbourne, Australia, this book both confirms what many of us have learned through the years and shares new insights about what it takes to stay healthy. Regardless of your age today, anyone who plans to live as long as possible would be SMART to consider his ideas. [Read more…]
As a child, I was conditioned to keep my mouth shut if I wanted to be seen as a good girl. I picked up early that arguing was pointless, and that only bitchy girls insisted on being heard. I did my best to fit in and keep others around me comfortable and happy. It seemed logical to maintain the peace rather than escalate any problem. Besides, the affection and positive attention I received by being a good girl made the choice easier. From teenage on, I perfected my sunny attitude using smoking as a pacifier to entertain myself while staying silent. Unfortunately, when I stopped smoking in my early-thirties, my reliable smoke screen disappeared. Thankfully, through the many years that followed, I’ve gradually grown strong enough to speak my mind when necessary. [Read more…]
This morning I listened to a podcast created by author and speaker Byron Katie about overcoming our fears. I realize that writing about fear isn’t always popular. In fact, some people are adamant that they don’t have any fear to begin with. But I’m convinced that much of the current anger, outrage, hatred, and denial coming out of the news, on social media, and in conversation, is grounded in fear. So, when Byron Katie applied her “work” on a willing participant in the aforementioned podcast around the subject of current events, the foundation of fear was evident. I found her solution helpful. And perhaps because it so applied to some of my own shadow thoughts, I thought today was a perfect opportunity to bring them out in the open.
Happiness research by Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert teaches that most of us aren’t good at predicting how happy we will be in the future. Not only are our predictions based upon current feelings and events, they also flow out of our previous experiences—none of which necessarily explains what will happen, or how we will feel, far into the future. Instead, Gilbert recommends that we study and learn from those who are living the experience we say we want to mimic. Could it be that only the oldest of old living today can offer us clues about living a very long and happy life? That’s exactly what John Leland suggests in his new book, Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a year among the oldest old. For those of us who see a very long life as a gift we want to embrace, this book is a window into the wisdom of several elders with a great deal to teach.
Have you ever wondered why some people follow rules that are clearly not in their best interests? Have you ever asked yourself why you can’t seem to do better, even when you know better? Why is it so hard for some people to form good habits, especially when it is surely better for their health, not to mention their happiness? I ask those questions—a lot. As a person who is fascinated by human nature and why people do the things they do, I am constantly seeking ways to understand myself and others. Much of that search includes personality tests. Some are helpful. Some not so much. That’s why I was delighted to learn about a new test—The Four Tendencies—by Gretchen Rubin on a podcast this week. If you like learning about habits, motivation, and expectations, you might be interested as well. [Read more…]