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.
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.
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…]
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…]
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.
A few weeks ago, Thom and I attended a Sunday brunch hosted by a longtime friend. Both Joanne and her husband are in their seventies. Yet, you’d never guess their age by their bright and curious minds. Nearly all their guests were as old or older, but again, everyone was curious, open-minded and talkative. At some point, the conversation touched on how, as many grow older, most seem to shrink back as the years add up. Instead of trying new things and being willing to experiment and explore, there is a strong tendency for seniors to resist the unfamiliar. Many seek safety and comfort rather than possibility and opportunity. Of course, this isn’t just limited to seniors. Lots of people seem stuck these days. So once again it was highly synchronistic when I received a review copy of a book that challenges that outlook, regardless of our age. [Read more…]
We live in exciting times. Some of that enthusiasm comes after reading the book The Longevity Economy—Unlocking The World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market by Joseph F. Coughlin. Why? Even though the book appears to approach the topic from an economics point of view, the vision it paints for the coming years is provocative, uplifting and filled with potential for anyone over 50. While no one can deny that we all face challenges on a global, national and even personal level depending upon individual circumstances, the cresting wave of baby boomers signals something momentous. The question is: Are we going to ride the surge or just sit on the sidelines? Are we going to create a better future, or just attempt to maintain ourselves until we die? Those are questions for business, governments and every single person alive today. [Read more…]
A couple of weeks ago Thom and I visited the happiest place on Earth (aka: Disneyland.) Like most who grew up in Southern California, both Thom and I have frequented the park dozens of times through the years. And because 2017 is our 40th Anniversary year, it seemed fitting to go back to a place where we experienced a great deal of happiness in the early part of our marriage. Is it still happy? Yes and no. Sure, the magic of Disneyland cannot be denied. But at the same time, the property is packed in December with mobs of kids and adults. So, is it the place—or our attitude, that makes Disneyland happy? Fortunately, a new book titled, The Blue Zones of Happiness helps to make sense of the paradox. According to the author, Dan Buettner, our individual happiness is more than just our attitude. He goes on to explain how the right communities, combined with a few individual traits, best delivers a happy and meaningful life. [Read more…]
Most of the time I consider myself to be a very trustworthy and honest person. I do what I say I will do and typically say what I do without hesitation. But a new book I just finished has me digging a bit deeper around issues of honesty, trust and self-awareness. According to author Kelley Kosow, every one of us holds our own key to The Integrity Advantage. All we have to do is get naked, drop the BS, and embrace the wholeness that comes from living true to ourselves.
That sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, a big problem is that most of the time when we think about trust and honesty we focus on other people—not ourselves. The nightly news is filled with examples of others who lie and cheat, and that keeps our attention fixated on them instead of the little (or sometimes big!) white lies we tell ourselves. As long as we keep pointing fingers at other people who we believe are doing something wrong, we avoid taking a hard look at where our own actions might be out of alignment. Ultimately as Kosow says, “The reason we don’t trust others is because, deep down, we don’t trust ourselves.” [Read more…]