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…]
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…]
One thing that seems to help people when faced with grief, illness or a hardship of any kind is to discover others who have faced and overcome their challenges. That doesn’t deny the difficulty, but it does remind us that we are not alone and all of us are dealing with things at one time or another. And in spite of Social Media, most of those trials are invisible to anyone but ourselves. It confirms, at least to me, that if other people can meet and graciously overcome their difficulties, then the possibility exists for me as well. As it turned out, this month’s Book Club selection, On My Own Two Feet by Amy Purdy was exactly what I needed at this time. Surely if someone like Amy Purdy can overcome her challenges, there is hope for all of us, no matter what we are facing.
My older sister Ann passed on this week and rather than make myself crazy with everything I am called to do, I decided to share a post I wrote many years ago instead. It was, and is, a simple and SMART reminder for us all.
This week Thom and I experienced a dramatic reminder of this truth—don’t take anyone for granted and share your love with those you love every single day. While most all of us would agree that this is an important part of SMART Living, everyone—me included, can use a reminder
Our “lesson” in this regard came this past Monday evening. There was nothing special about the day—nothing bad, but nothing amazingly wonderful either. We’d finished dinner and Thom was in the kitchen doing dishes. I could see that the sun had finally set so I knew it would be getting cooler outside. Our small mixed-terrier Kloe was watching me closely to see if it was time to go to the dog park before dark. But before we did, Thom decided to take the garbage out to the trash bins with Kloe trailing behind. [Read more…]
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 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…]