Just over a month ago Thom and I bought ourselves two electric bikes. For several years we talked about doing it, but I kept saying no. I knew the minute I got on one, I would love it. Instead we regularly rode our 7-speed beach cruisers frequently until finally I asked myself, “What am I waiting for?” Thom needed no encouragement—in fact, he had been researching peddle-assist e-bikes for months. He knew what kind would best suit us, which bikes offered the best value for the money, and where to buy them. All it took was the decision to do it. As predicted, the minute I got on the bike and cruised around the parking lot at the bike store, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. Ever since, after dozens of rides, I’m the first to admit that yes, sometimes money can buy happiness. Of course, as the saying goes, you need to know where to shop. And definitely you need to know what to buy! [Read more…]
I’ve been a big fan of Kahlil Gibran for most of my life. This quote is a favorite because it reminds me of how precious our time is and how necessary it is to treasure every single moment. With that in mind, Thom and I are enjoying our summer so far. How about you?
Have you ever heard the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy?” That great quote comes from former President Teddy Roosevelt. And I completely agree. But this week I realized that comparison is also a thief to feeling grateful—and without gratitude, how can we feel joy? Of course, like so many issues of awareness, this seems obvious. The key is to remember it on a daily basis. Because if you are anything like me, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of seeing and comparing what others have or are doing—and then overlooking the good in my own life. Fortunately this week, two great examples popped up to drive this idea home. Even better perhaps, they happened to others rather than me. Ever notice how we can often catch behaviors in other people far more easily than in ourselves? [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…]
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 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…]
Nearly 40 years ago, in early October, Thom and I got married in the mountains of Colorado. Although the air was briskly cool, the sun was shining in the bright blue sky. Standing in front of a small wooden cabin surrounded by pine trees, we repeated our vows to each other in front of the seven people in attendance. I can vaguely recall being utterly in love with the young man standing next to me. And optimist that I am, I never doubted we were taking the next, best step for our relationship. Still, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would look back after all these years and recognize the gift that my marriage would become. While I realize that Thom and I have shared a great deal of good fortune along the way, a big part of our happy marriage can be boiled down to four simple (but not always easy) elements of an extraordinary relationship. [Read more…]
Like most people my age I am increasingly interested in what leads to aging well and happy. I am also keenly aware of how different that is from many of the conversations my parents had in later years. Rather than go through a depressing list of “organ – recitals” that often characterized our parents and their friends, the new emerging conversation about positive aging is leading in exciting and interesting directions every day. One recent study from the Netherlands combines the idea of healthy aging to people’s hopes, plans, and wishes for their future. Could it be that having goals and planning for certain experiences can make us happier and more satisfied as we age? This particular study says yes. [Read more…]
For as long as I can remember I have always encountered a new year with optimism and hope. Even when Y2K or the Mayan 2012 (remember them?) were on the horizon and then passed, I believed that any obstacle we faced in a new year could be overcome by either going over, around, or through the problems in front of us. Now here in 2017, we are faced with new and interesting challenges. But again, it is not my nature, nor the reality that I live in, to believe that optimism and hope are suddenly impossible. As I, and others far wiser than me have said, “Pain may be inevitable, but suffering is always optional.” With that in mind, I’ve spent the first few days of the year coming up with what I believe are ten ways to embrace more happiness and hope in the next 365 days. [Read more…]
During the last couple of years, my focus for creating a happy and meaningful life has shifted. Now, in addition to exploring ways to create the most positive life possible for myself and others, I’ve begun including ideas of how we can all age well and happy. And because I happen to believe very strongly in the power of our focus, along with the benefit of affirmations, I went in search of the best quotes I could find on the subject. Any of us who believe that, “what we think about, we bring about,” as well as “what we dwell upon we become,” might benefit by reading the following quotes on a regular basis.