A couple of weeks ago I cohosted a series of four podcasts with Kathe Kline of Rock Your Retirement. Kathe let me pick the topic of each of our discussions. After finding and selecting four articles I thought sounded intriguing, Kathe and I then spent 30 minutes discussing each of them from our individual perspectives. And although the podcasts are currently being edited and won’t be available until August, one of the topics stuck deeply in my mind. That topic is contentment. And while the word and concept sounds vaguely pleasant and benevolent, I must admit that I’m beginning to realize that I’ve overlooked its greater value and importance. [Read more…]
One of my favorite parables is the story of the light wolf and the dark wolf. Most of us know the light wolf as those parts in the world and in ourselves that are kind, loving, peaceful and hopeful. At the same time, the dark wolf represents all that is angry, fearful, greedy or hateful. Which one is most prominent in our lives? Simply—the one we feed. In other words, whatever wolf we focus on the most—nourishing it with our attention, time, words and Facebook posts, that’s the one that grows and multiplies. The good news is of course that even if we realize we’ve been feeding the wrong wolf for far too long, it’s never too late to make our light wolf strong, healthy and the biggest part of our lives.
This parable came to my mind after finishing a new book by Mary Pipher called, Women Rowing North—Navigating Life’s Currents & Flourishing As We Age. Some of us may remember Pipher as the author of Reviving Ophelia. That book, written back in the 1990s, shared thoughts on the [Read more…]
Two years ago I began publishing a list of the best blogs and websites on positive aging and retirement I could find. Now, for the third year in a row I want to continue to promote and provide exposure to those sites that I believe deserve recognition. Like most of us know, it is very easy these days to get lost in the shuffle of the blogosphere. But what I’ve also discovered is that most of the authors and blog publishers in this field especially, are passionately committed to spreading the word about how great it can be to get older. This year I am even more excited and enthusiastic because the research and news continue to show that nearly every single person who ages (no matter what their current age) can look forward to a longer, more meaningful and yes, happier life as they grow older—retired or not. Want to know more? Then check out my updated list below of the best resources I’ve found from 2018. [Read more…]
On a clear day the sun always casts a shadow. In fact, the brighter the light, the more vivid the corresponding silhouette. That is why any complete discussion about positive aging requires the acknowledgment that a dark side exists. And while I am certainly not a professional who understands all the implications, I do think it is important to explore how it may affect us as we age. That’s because no matter how optimistic we remain about aging, none of us knows for sure what our complete future holds. And, like with all shadow work, it’s SMART to accept its existence as well as how it can potentially affect our lives if we want to experience the days to come as an authentic and whole individual.
Every now and then, if we are lucky, we find an author whose words seem to speak directly to us in ways we wish we had said ourselves. That’s how I felt when I first found a book written by Palmer Parker over two decades ago. So, when I learned that his latest book touched on aging, I didn’t hesitate to send him a Facebook private message asking if he provided review copies. Not only did he respond personally by email (because that’s the kind of man he is), he sent me an autographed copy hot off the press. His new book, On The Brink of Everything—Grace, Gravity & Getting Old is a collection of essays that covers aging well along with other topics facing the world today. For all of us who appreciate a wise, authentic and often transcendent voice about issues that matter, it is my deep pleasure to introduce you to Parker Palmer. [Read more…]
Since turning 60 a couple of years ago, my interest in aging well and happy has ramped up considerably. For the longest time, I claimed that I was middle-aged and for some ridiculous reason felt that I would stay at that stage of life for decades to come. But something in me switched at 60 and the midlife label no longer felt true. The problem was, calling myself a senior or old person didn’t fit either. Since then I’ve been thinking, talking and writing about the process of aging from all sorts of angles. Surprisingly, something that is becoming more and more clear to me is that most of us hold a lot of bogus ideas about what aging means. And while I’m not usually one to use profanity, the term B.S. applies to a number of those erroneously held beliefs. [Read more…]
Last week I was chatting online with a friend named Barbara who just finished reading my book Positive Aging. She was very complimentary so naturally, I asked her if she would please do a review on Amazon as a way to help the book get more exposure. Of course, as usual, I explained that I really wanted her honest feelings, not just compliments. That’s when she admitted that the only question she had was whether positive aging was possible if a person had money problems. That made me stop and think it through myself. Does positive aging require money? No doubt it might make things easier. But in the end, just like with happiness, money can help but it is never a guarantee of either result. With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to explore a few things that can either help or hinder a path to positive aging. [Read more…]
When I started this blog seven years ago I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to begin writing about topics that mattered to me. Of course, I hoped others would find them interesting and helpful, but one never knows for sure. The idea of rightsizing had never even occurred to me at the time, and neither did I have that much interest in positive aging. Fast forward seven years and I still find myself drawn to ideas that are encouraging, intriguing and uplifting to both myself and others. But along the way my interests have deepened and broadened in ways I never imagined. So if on this seven-year anniversary (or birthday) of my blog you will humor me a bit, I want to look back over the years to recap a few highlights. Your reward for indulging me is a short quiz asking what YOU like, and a free gift. [Read more…]
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.
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…]