I tend to be the sort of person who looks to the future rather than the past. But when some good friends of mine did their DNA test several months ago I had to admit a curiosity. Then when one of them discovered an unusual family link, I couldn’t help but wonder if mine might contain something unexpected as well. So with some casual curiosity, I signed up my husband and myself for the process. What did I learn? And is it worth the time, money and effort? Maybe yes, maybe no.
It turns out that some people are obsessed by their family tree. An article in Salon Magazine claims that Genealogy may indeed be “the second most popular American hobby after gardening and the second most visited category of Web sites after pornography.” My interest doesn’t run nearly that deep! [Read more…]
Open any magazine aimed at women over 30 and you are sure to see advertisements promoting the latest in anti-aging. Then as the years go by, it is nearly impossible to avoid the constant barrage of commercials claiming to have the secret to avoid ever getting old. Yet, if we pause for a moment before spending our hard-earned money, we know that the only real way to prevent aging is for our lives to end. Face it. Eventually, the longer we live, the older we will get. Perhaps instead of fussing about how we look, or thinking we can live forever, what we truly want and crave is something that makes each day of that journey rich and meaningful. Fortunately, such an elixir is available to us all and doesn’t cost a dime. That magic potion is to find and live a purposeful life. [Read more…]
Several years ago I read the book How Full Is Your Bucket? by author Tom Rath. Although the message was simple, I clearly remember its advice for creating a happy and fulfilled life. So when I was offered a review copy of Rath’s newest book Are You Fully Charged? I jumped at the chance. After all, who couldn’t benefit from a book with a subtitle like “The three keys to energizing your work and life”? And if you’re anything like me, it doesn’t matter how many times I am reminded of positive and life affirming messages, I’m always open to hearing them again in a new way and different way. [Read more…]
At the end of 2014 and just like last year, I thought it might be interesting to do a review of some of the things that occurred here on SMART Living 365. Lest you think this post is all about blogging and has little to do with you, please keep in mind that it is SMART for all of us to look back occasionally to see what we have faced and overcome, what we’d perhaps like to do differently, and how that might impact the future. So, with three and a half years of experience behind me, here are several things I learned and experienced during the past year. [Read more…]
Last week my post talked about three challenges that I think stand in the way of many of us living gratefully each and every day. What occurred to me from some of the comments and other conversations I’ve had during the week is that there are a number of people who aren’t convinced that we should live either gratefully or happy every single day anyway. What’s interesting to me after all the research I’ve done over the years about creating happiness, is how closely the reasoning to avoid gratitude on a daily basis appears the same. That led me to explore some of the more common myths that exist for happiness—and observe at how those same myths apply to living thankfully 365. [Read more…]
A couple of weeks ago Thom and I had lunch with a long-time friend I’ll call Bob. After a great meal our conversation turned to health and successful aging as it sometimes does for people in midlife. We all agreed that we were extremely fortunate to live in an area where we can observe people well into their 90’s who are vibrant, active and younger in mind and heart than many people half their age.
Next we talked about the importance of living each day as a gift, never taking a moment for granted, and fulfilling our bucket list while we were all healthy and financially able. That’s when Bob joked that he recently had dinner with a woman in her late 80’s who had a different take on the idea. She told him very emphatically that she was done with the idea of a bucket list. At her age, she was working on her F*^k It list! And while we all laughed at the spunk of Bob’s friend, that declaration got me thinking.
Sure, it’s healthy to have a bucket list containing all the goals and dreams we hope to accomplish during the remainder of our lives. But maybe a F*^k It list is good as well. After all, at a certain age we should be both willing and able to let go of anything that drags us down and holds us back from living a happy and content life. So, after some time thinking about it—here are a few things I’m putting on my F*^k It list that perhaps might convince some of the rest of you to make such a list as well. [Read more…]
Merry Christmas Everyone! Millions of people all over the world are celebrating Christmas this weekend. The one gift we want to offer everyone is something that cannot be bought—only shared. That wish is for peace.
And one of our favorite ways to share it is in the words of young Mattie Stepanek. Mattie as you may remember was a young man who died in 2004 at the age of 14. Mattie, who passed away from a rare genetic disease, managed to write six books of poetry in his young life and touched millions around the planet including Oprah Winfrey and his hero Jimmy Carter. [Read more…]
Something about Buddhism always bugged me. Of course, it wasn’t Buddhism itself, but what I heard. What stood out and bugged me was essentially the statement made by the Buddha that, “Life is suffering.” Not only did I not believe it, I thought the whole of Buddhism revolved around that negative idea. Rather than look deeper, I resisted the thought as though I could control the Universe and keep suffering away from either myself, or those I love. Flash forward about 30 years. Now I not only understand a great deal more about Buddhism, but I also agree that suffering can and does happen every day to scores of people all around the world. In fact, after a tragedy like what happened at the school in Connecticut or recently in Paris, how is it possible to think for a minute that suffering isn’t real? Of course, the lesson taught by the Buddha doesn’t stop there. Instead, the Buddha explained that freedom and peace lie in a space beyond suffering, and that liberation is available to us all. [Read more…]
Let’s admit it—all of us love to get and give gifts. Just the idea of unwrapping a brightly adorned present stimulates the possibility of finding our dreams fulfilled. Giving can be equally rewarding—with a sweet anticipation of connection and recognized love and appreciation from the receiver. Unfortunately, much of the time the gifts we are given fall far short of our expected dreams. At the same time, those we lavish gifts upon, often seem less than appreciative and oblivious to our hoped-for connections. But when you think about it, maybe the fault isn’t in the desire to give and receive. Instead, chances are it’s our routine and unconscious expectations of the season—and/or the less-than-altruistic manipulations of retailers. That’s why it might be time to start rethinking all gift-giving in a brand new SMART way—and start enjoying Christmas even more.