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 morning I listened to a podcast created by author and speaker Byron Katie about overcoming our fears. I realize that writing about fear isn’t always popular. In fact, some people are adamant that they don’t have any fear to begin with. But I’m convinced that much of the current anger, outrage, hatred, and denial coming out of the news, on social media, and in conversation, is grounded in fear. So, when Byron Katie applied her “work” on a willing participant in the aforementioned podcast around the subject of current events, the foundation of fear was evident. I found her solution helpful. And perhaps because it so applied to some of my own shadow thoughts, I thought today was a perfect opportunity to bring them out in the open.
I recently went to lunch with a friend I’ll call Carol. After chatting for over an hour I told her it was time for me to go because I needed to finish my weekly blog post. She immediately asked me, “So what happens if you don’t?” In other words, does it really matter that every week I spend a great deal of my time and effort writing and publishing articles here on SMART Living 365? Remember, I don’t get paid by writing this blog (other than the sale of my books). So why bother?
The simplified answer is that writing, and what I do with it for now, matters to me and I believe it is my purpose—or you could even call it my dharma. That in itself is more than reward enough. Serendipitously, a few days later I listened to a podcast that further explained how living our “dharma,” offers each of us a path to a meaningful, gratifying and on purpose life. From there I was reminded that whatever unique dharma we have, it’s best not to wait for retirement, or anything else, before finding and living it to the best of our abilities. [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…]
This week SMART Living 365 is delighted to introduce you to Janis Heppell as our guest blogger while I am traveling. I have been reading Janis’ blog Retirementlly Challenged for a couple of years and believe her perspective on rightsizing is something many of you will appreciate. Thank you, Janis, for filling in with SMART thoughts while I’m traveling.
When my husband and I bought our home almost 25 years ago, retirement was a distant dream. We had been preparing for it most of our working lives, but we still had quite a few years before we’d be in the position to take the plunge. We chose our home based on its general location and the particular neighborhood, not on its suitability after we left the work-world.
Now that we are retired, how our home functions in our day-to-day lives has supplanted our concern with work commutes. [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…]
During the month of August, my husband Thom and I are renting a home in the mountains about an hour from our primary home in the desert southwest. This is our first year in this particular dwelling and it has a number of features to enjoy like good wifi (of course!), a large wraparound deck looking through the trees, and a hot tub. One of the unexpected amenities is Alexa. Have you met her? On the surface, Alexa seems like an amusing and helpful addition to any home. But watch out! Not only is she extremely attractive on many levels, she also adds to the many irresistible distractions that technology offers us in our current world. [Read more…]
My husband Thom and I began living a more simple and sustainable life over ten years ago. In the beginning, the practice felt a bit awkward and required our conscious focus and intention to make the necessary changes. Gradually our actions became fluid and felt more natural. Most excuses and resistance simply faded away. Finally, after all these years I believe that our path to simple living is so deeply ingrained in us that it has become a habit that adds value to our lives every single day. Are we experts? Not hardly. But if we can do it, anyone can. So what if you’re just starting on the journey? My advice is to make the practice a habit as quickly as possible.
Here are three critical steps I believe are necessary: [Read more…]
Last night Thom and I attended a Jack Johnson concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl and this morning I woke up with a fun hangover. First, if you don’t know who Jack Johnson is and you love music, you need to look him up. Second, if you haven’t experienced a fun hangover in a while, maybe it’s time you indulged. After all, it’s SMART to occasionally push our boundaries and get out of our comfort zones. Doing something unexpected, out of the ordinary, and especially fun every now and then is a sure prescription for ongoing happiness and good health. [Read more…]
Like I said in my post last week, Thom and I are spending the month at the beach. Our primary excuse is to escape the heat of our desert home. But frankly, what we really needed is an experience away from the habits and routines of daily life. And because this works so well for us, I feel fairly confident that it just might be what we all need now and then to really appreciate the life we have created. Don’t believe me? How about I give you a few reasons why we find it so beneficial and you can then decide for yourself? [Read more…]