This summer Thom and I are extremely fortunate to spend several months living close to the beach. The house we rent was built in the 50’s and is quite small. But having the option to walk along the beach every single morning with our dog Kloe running free is worth the added splurge/expense. It occurred to me this morning as I nodded hello to other walkers that each of us looked happier just being outside. Feeling the waves lapping against our ankles and the moist sand below our feet while enjoying the cool breeze off the water made all seem right in the world. So it was no surprise when I learned that spending time in nature is actually the perfect cure for overcoming Nature Deficit Disorder or NDD. Yep! While not a formal medical term, the idea of NDD reminded me how each and every one of us needs time experiencing the joy of nature on a regular basis.
Every now and then, if we are lucky, we find an author whose words seem to speak directly to us in ways we wish we had said ourselves. That’s how I felt when I first found a book written by Palmer Parker over two decades ago. So, when I learned that his latest book touched on aging, I didn’t hesitate to send him a Facebook private message asking if he provided review copies. Not only did he respond personally by email (because that’s the kind of man he is), he sent me an autographed copy hot off the press. His new book, On The Brink of Everything—Grace, Gravity & Getting Old is a collection of essays that covers aging well along with other topics facing the world today. For all of us who appreciate a wise, authentic and often transcendent voice about issues that matter, it is my deep pleasure to introduce you to Parker Palmer. [Read more…]
Since turning 60 a couple of years ago, my interest in aging well and happy has ramped up considerably. For the longest time, I claimed that I was middle-aged and for some ridiculous reason felt that I would stay at that stage of life for decades to come. But something in me switched at 60 and the midlife label no longer felt true. The problem was, calling myself a senior or old person didn’t fit either. Since then I’ve been thinking, talking and writing about the process of aging from all sorts of angles. Surprisingly, something that is becoming more and more clear to me is that most of us hold a lot of bogus ideas about what aging means. And while I’m not usually one to use profanity, the term B.S. applies to a number of those erroneously held beliefs. [Read more…]
As some of you know, my husband Thom and I are at the beach enjoying the summer weather. Because we mainly work-out-of-the-house, as long as we have good wifi and a phone we can work from just about any location. The thing is, it’s the beach! Between morning walks by the water, the lure of my bicycle, a pile of books waiting to be read, and being in a location with so much to do and see, I’m finding it difficult to motivate myself—especially towards anything that feels like work. Ironically, I have been planning my next book for the last several months and want (should) be making progress. But with a tentative title of, You Get To Make It Up I am reminded that when it comes down to it, and in spite of most circumstances, we really do get to make it up as we go along.
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…]
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…]
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…]