A couple of weeks ago Thom and I were wandering through used bookstores in nearby Ventura, CA. Thom was on a mission to find a particular book, with me helping to locate it among masses of used books. That’s when I came across Maria Shriver’s latest. The title caught my eye and with such a giveaway price, I couldn’t pass it by. And although I seldom read books authored by celebrities or famous personalities, I’ve Been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life certainly sounded SMART to me. Clearly, Shriver comes from a dramatically different world than I do, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn how many thoughts we have in common. In fact, I’m guessing that this notable woman shares a great deal in common with most of us—and her reflections are reminders about how to live a happy and fulfilled life. [Read more…]
Last week I was chatting online with a friend named Barbara who just finished reading my book Positive Aging. She was very complimentary so naturally, I asked her if she would please do a review on Amazon as a way to help the book get more exposure. Of course, as usual, I explained that I really wanted her honest feelings, not just compliments. That’s when she admitted that the only question she had was whether positive aging was possible if a person had money problems. That made me stop and think it through myself. Does positive aging require money? No doubt it might make things easier. But in the end, just like with happiness, money can help but it is never a guarantee of either result. With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to explore a few things that can either help or hinder a path to positive aging. [Read more…]
As most of you know, I’m a planner. Not only do I find it enjoyable to research options and then chart a course forward, I’m a big fan of nexting. (Yes, there’s a blog post which explains nexting!) For the most part, planning benefits my life in many ways. It helps me to form great habits, examine different options in order to make good decisions, and allows me to anticipate the future with optimism. But as with most things, there’s a catch.
The “downside” to planning is that sometimes it locks me into a course of action that can be rigid if not downright obsessive. Even worse perhaps, it distracts me from being present in the here and now. The good news is that every new moment offers me (and all of us) another opportunity to practice being here now, to appreciate the beauty right in front of me, and to always remember that “this is it.” [Read more…]
Some of the most encouraging information I’ve found since I began writing about aging is that much of what we’ve assumed isn’t necessarily true. I confess that when I was younger I thought old people were “over the hill” as far as reaping the benefits of life. Even if they looked like they were doing well, surely the reality was far less superior than my youth? I was wrong. While there are advantages to being young, there is an equal number of benefits to getting older. I’m not suggesting that everything is perfect—at either age—but making the right choices and with the right guidance, many potential problems can be avoided and rewards enjoyed. What is true, with even as something as frightening as the potential for Alzheimer’s or dementia, is that there are lifestyle choices that you and I can make today that can help to reduce the risk. So instead of pretending or denying that such a possibility exists for many of us, isn’t it SMART to study up on current research that offers the most hopeful perspective? I sure think so! [Read more…]
When I started this blog seven years ago I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to begin writing about topics that mattered to me. Of course, I hoped others would find them interesting and helpful, but one never knows for sure. The idea of rightsizing had never even occurred to me at the time, and neither did I have that much interest in positive aging. Fast forward seven years and I still find myself drawn to ideas that are encouraging, intriguing and uplifting to both myself and others. But along the way my interests have deepened and broadened in ways I never imagined. So if on this seven-year anniversary (or birthday) of my blog you will humor me a bit, I want to look back over the years to recap a few highlights. Your reward for indulging me is a short quiz asking what YOU like, and a free gift. [Read more…]
I think most of us are aware that confirmation bias is a guiding force in our lives. You know what I mean, right? Research shows that we are all biased and constantly looking for evidence that reinforces our most deeply established beliefs. So, it should come as no surprise to you (any more than it did to me) when I discovered in a current book that dharma and rightsizing share a lot in common. So, if you’re a fan like me, then consider the following five ways I think that if you are on the rightsizing path, you are likely close to living your dharma. Also feel free to let me know if you believe my bias has led me astray. [Read more…]
During a recent conversation, the topic turned to the latest news on television. When asked for my opinion, I prefaced my answer by saying, “You know that I always search for the silver lining, don’t you?” A friend answered in a way that surprised me by saying, “I know you are a positive thinker, but I also consider you a realist.” A realist? It’s true that I don’t deny that bad things happen, I just do my best to not let them destroy my happiness or peace of mind. Yet, rather than thinking of myself as a realist, I prefer the idea of being a practical optimist. While optimism is important, vitally important, keeping things pragmatic is equally necessary. After all, if something doesn’t bring you the results you want, it’s advantageous to keep trying to discover what does. And if you are standing in front of a charging elephant, it is best to move out of the way. [Read more…]
In the nearly eight years that I have been writing posts here on SMART Living 365, I’ve done my best to not make it about me. With a strong intention to share ideas with others that I find inspiring and helpful towards living a happy and fulfilled life, I prefer to point out things I’ve discovered, read or stumbled upon rather than talk directly about myself.
But recently a new blogger friend named Karen posted an article on her blog asking questions of her readers. She titled her post: 25 Totally Terrifying Meaning of Life Questions Worth Asking. Her motivation was to invite others to contribute as a way that encourages everyone to get to know each other on a deeper level. And as a person who loves a challenge, especially any called “terrifying” or “scary,” I decided to give it a try and share some of my answers with all of you. [Read more…]
My husband Thom grew up in a very religious household. A questioner by nature, he struggled to grasp what he was told without constantly asking for evidence. But one thing he heard stood out as absolutely true. Without a doubt, he knew deep in his heart and soul that the most prized possession on Earth, more precious than gold or jewels, had to be wisdom. The certainty of that awareness never wavered. As it turns out, new research appears to confirm that obtaining wisdom just might be central to what leads to a happy and healthy long life—in other words, a key to positive aging. And it’s likely that treasure is something all of us would like to experience in the years to come.
A recent article in Money Magazine pointed out that many Millennials are obsessed with retiring early. In fact, this growing movement of those in the 21 to 37 years of age are convinced they can do it now, and quietly disdain those who wait until Social Security. With dozens of FIRE (financial-independence/retire-early) links exploding on the web and on Reddit.com, this idea is drawing in fans like flies. Yet, even though I applaud their desire to get out of the rat race and free themselves from debt, I find myself questioning why so many are convinced that retirement is the ultimate solution. From my perspective, we don’t need to retire or be completely financially independent in order to live our best life now—but it’s essential we take the time to Rightsize. [Read more…]