This last week I came down with the worst cold ever. Don’t worry, this post isn’t about that or what I did to get over it. Instead, once the fog began to clear I started to beat myself up for laying around for over a week and for my lack of any productivity. Rather than practice what I now understand to be self-compassion, I jumped into criticizing myself for too many naps, too much television, and not one bit of exercise. I even berated myself for getting sick in the first place. Now maybe I’m the only one who ever does this, but ever since then I’ve been exploring how and why I tied my personal value (not to mention my health) to such an absurd goal. What I’ve since discovered is that all too often our sense of self-esteem is a big part of the problem.
As every writer knows, words matter. But what about the words that come out of our mouths or the words we hear in our heads when someone is talking? Perhaps one of the greatest things we can learn, and teach one another, is how to speak and listen with empathy, kindness and connection. Sound simple? It’s not. In fact, after reading Say What You Mean—A Mindful Approach To Nonviolent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer, I am convinced that I have much to learn and years to practice. Ultimately it’s SMART to remember that communication, especially the mindful nonviolent kind, is far more than figuring out the right words to say in any given moment. Thankfully there are books like this that offer perspectives and tools to increase our awareness, fulfill our mutual needs, and build relationship.
Some of you might not know that I have been a licensed real estate broker for the last 35 years. While I did sell a number of homes in my time, I am a far better researcher than a salesperson. That’s why I first began writing about real estate, and then eventually created my own writing business from there. And although I have written volumes about that topic over the years, I gradually transitioned into writing about other subjects I enjoy even more. Still, real estate has been very good to my family, many of our friends, and where we hold our primary retirement funds. So it always surprises me when I read so little about the advantages of real estate investment as a great strategy for retirement. Why? Maybe there aren’t enough of us pointing out how real estate investing can be a golden goose for your retirement over stocks and other investments.
One of my book clubs is reading Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Café. I have seen the movie, several times, but never read the book before now. Not only is the author, Fannie Flagg a great story teller, the tale she tells introduces us to characters so alive I wish they lived down my street. At the same time, she addresses a number of timeless issues like equality, morality, kindness and forgiveness all wrapped around a story that feels hopeful and familiar to us all. Then this morning I listened to a podcast interview of a woman I consider to be one of the best story tellers alive—Rachel Naomi Remen. Not only is Remen convinced that stories hold the power to heal our individual lives, she believes they are also the key to healing the entire world. Could it be that authentic stories about love, loss, meaning, purpose and courage are what is missing in the world today? [Read more…]
In case you haven’t noticed from my writing, I love to travel. Fortunately, Thom does too, and we intend to do as much of it as possible while we are physically able. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy. When we were young our work and our finances often took priority. Then we rightsized our lives and most of that changed for the better. But one thing that has always been a concern is what to do with our pets. Kloe, like each of our former dogs, is a big part of our family and adds an incredible amount of good to our lives. But managing her needs with our travel needs can be tricky. Fortunately, we have discovered a great solution. After three very successful experiences, I’m finally ready to recommend this service to everyone who faces a similar challenge with wanting to travel while cherishing a pet. Not only does it cost a fraction of traditional care, I think it provides Kloe with the best attention possible. [Read more…]
Open any magazine or watch any number of tv commercials and you’ll soon come across an ad that will tempt you with the possibility of looking young and living forever. Anti-aging products make the promise sound within our reach, while technology and the medical industry are spending billions to make it appear possible. But is it true? While none of us wants to admit that we are going to die, how many of us really want to live forever? That provocative question is raised in a new book titled, How to Live Forever—the Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations by Marc Freedman. I was so intrigued by the title that I contacted the author and requested a review copy just so I could discover a new way of looking at this age-old question. [Read more…]
A popular practice around the first of every new year is to pick a word for that year. Much easier, not to mention more intuitive, than making New Year’s Resolutions, picking a word to serve as a North Star can be very beneficial. During 2018 my word was flexible. I wanted to be more flexible in my body, my mind and my emotions all year long. Not only did it get me into a “mostly” two-day-a-week yoga practice, it also helped my thinking relax and flow as the year progressed. It was such a success for me that I decided to come up with a new word for 2019. I’m hoping this word will guide and direct my intentions as much as the last. And yes, I strongly encourage every reader to take the time to figure out what one word might inspire and pilot them in the next 365 days. [Read more…]
Why Vietnam? Why Cambodia? Why not? My husband Thom and I recently returned from a three-week trip to this part of the world. One of the more exotic locations we’ve explored, this trip was on Thom’s bucket list—and after all, he did turn 65 this year so it was his turn to pick. We’d also had several others tell us about how much they loved this part of the world and why it was worthy of the time and money to visit. So, after much planning and anticipation we experienced a variety of adventure and insights that I thought some of you may enjoying hearing about.
Here are few things I will always remember.
Happy New Year! This is my final week away and I’m happy to introduce you to Pat as my guest blogger. Pat is another blogger who writes about and explores many SMART Living ideas that we can all use to create a happier and more meaningful life. She also has a lot of wisdom for those of us entering the “third act” of our lives and readily shares it on her blog Retirement Transition. Thank you, Pat, for filling in for me and for explaining how we can create happiness by design and then put that design into action.
As we enter this New Year, I ask myself, how can I better live my values?
I’ve often said that our life will happen, either by design or by default, and it’s our own responsibility to make it what we want it to be. Personally, I want to design my life at this stage. So I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want this stage of life to look like.
But there is design, the plans and intent–and then the real action, or what you actually do. Sometimes intention does not turn into behavior. At this time of year, that can become very apparent with New Year’s resolutions!
So it’s not just about designing your life, it’s about activating it as well. [Read more…]
This week I’m happy to introduce you to Michele Vosberg as my guest blogger while Thom and I are traveling. Michele is one of the most recent bloggers I began following in 2018, but when I began reading her posts I knew without a doubt that she fits into the SMART Living lifestyle. With a strong intention to help people become all they are meant to be, her blog Life Redesign101 is sure to help any of us who appreciate self-awareness and personal growth. Thank you, Michele, for filling in for me and sharing some of your ideas about rethinking (and rightsizing!) our goal setting for the future.
This is the time of year that many of us are focused on goal setting for the new year. At this stage of life, we are likely accomplished goal setters. We have successfully navigated the demands of the working world. We’ve also successfully juggled the responsibilities of caring for homes, children, pets and even parents.
We have manipulated our Day Planners and multi-tasked our way through many projects and life challenges. We don’t need another lesson on S.M.A.R.T. goals (not to be confused with SMART Living!) We don’t need a bigger planner with more hours in the day. We want to get off the hamster wheel, live in the moment and enjoy our lives without checking off our accomplishments on an endless to-do list. [Read more…]