Happy Birthday SMART Living 365! Yes, it was exactly eight years ago today (April 26th, 2011) that I conceived the idea of creating a blog around the letters S-M-A-R-T. In case you don’t know it, those letters are all part of an acronym that stands for Sustainable-Meaningful-Aware-Responsible & Thankful. At the time I wanted to create something that would help me focus on, and then write about, topics that are very important to me. I didn’t actually write my first post until May and it took me another month to get the site up and running. But, here I am, eight years later.
Has it evolved? Have I evolved? I sure hope so. Anything in nature that doesn’t continue to grow and evolve, will die. For example, where I live in the Coachella Valley of Southern California there is a large lake called The Salton Sea. That lake is the largest lake in California at approximately 350 square miles. The problem is, it is dying. As an endorheic basin rift lake, or “closed sea,” it retains water when possible but features no run off. It formed and receded throughout history as nature allowed until 1905 when an overflow from the Colorado River flooded the dry, saline basin for two years before they were able to redirect the water and stop the flow.
At first a mostly fresh water lake, gradually the ancient salt deposits underneath increased its salinity. In the beginning, fish, birds and other wildlife thrived and grew to call it home. Even more amazing, during the 1950s the Salton Sea became a popular tourist mecca and attracted celebrities from Hollywood. Millions of people swarmed the beaches and enjoyed water sports in the warm shallow water. Unfortunately by the 1960s, water evaporation and runoff from the nearby farming communities began to turn the water rancid. With no new water to refresh it, the fish began dying. Now, with climate change, scarcity of water, and lack of public will to take necessary steps, the Sea is headed toward environmental disaster.
The thing is, the Salton Sea can be incredibly beautiful. (See photo above.) If you catch the light on certain days and witness the silhouette of the mountain ranges that surround it, you can be awed by its breathtaking landscape. Watching the birds glide over the still water in unison is captivating. Through the years it became a home to one of the most significant and diverse bird populations in our country, with approximately 400 different species. With that, it evolved into becoming a rare and major resting stop for birds as they migrate back and forth from South America to Canada. But as the lake continues to dry up—and make no mistake—it is drying up; bird populations will suffer and die across the Western United States.
Perhaps far worse, as the lake dries exposing the lakebed, the fine sediment of silt that contains dust, fertilizer runoffs, minerals, pesticides and even sewage will become airborne in our desert skies whenever the wind blows. And while this may seem to be nothing more than a local problem, it is estimated that with wind patterns during certain times of year, the entire southwestern United States (Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas?) will be impacted with this toxic and harmful air.
Okay, so where is this sad tale taking us? It reminds me that even something beautiful and helpful will die if not allowed to evolve or change as necessary. As far as the Sea is concerned, there have been a number of solutions that have been discussed in the last 30+ years. Unfortunately they tend to be very expensive and in today’s economic, political, and environmental world, it looks as though only a major disaster will get it the attention it needs.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live my life that way. If there is a problem on the horizon, I don’t want to wait until there is very little that can be done to fix it. If there is a situation happening that deserves my attention, I want to address it as quickly as possible. I get that it can be uncomfortable and sometimes even painful to mix things up and try different things, but I want to be the kind of person who addresses stagnation or problems while there is still a chance to evolve them into something better. I firmly believe that we are never without choices. Some of those options might not seem that great, but most of the time it is our lack of imagination that makes them seem impossible.
Just in case you are wondering, I’m not giving up on writing here on SMART Living 365. But I do feel the need for some changes. While I don’t know where I will head, I want to feel free to explore new ways of communicating and sharing ideas. A few of those ideas include:
- Completing and publishing my 4th book in the SMART Living Series. This one will be titled: “You Get To Make It Up—A SMART Living 365 Guide to Designing a Meaningful & Happy Life.
- Research and complete an audio book of Rightsizing. If that goes well I will create an audio book for all four of them.
- Serve as a guest co-host on the Rocking Your Retirement podcast with Kathe Kline during June.
- Write posts and make them available on SMART Living 365 when inspiration strikes.
- Be open to new ways of sharing any of the major themes that I write about on SMART Living 365 and introduce new ones if they capture my attention.
- Welcome and consider ideas from you and others on ways to evolve and grow myself and the blog.
I have always believed that change is a necessary part of life. That doesn’t mean it is always fun—sometimes it is the last thing I want to do—but I also know that part of me dies inside if I don’t. And I tend to believe that when that happens, for me and anyone else, it’s a slow steady slide to the end. Be that the end of a blog, or the end of what used to be a healthy and vibrant Salton Sea. While I continue to raise awareness, and support changes to the Sea, most of what happens with that body of water is out of my hands. What I can do is influence how and when I change myself and my creations. I definitely hope you all will continue to join me and see where it goes. Just remember that it is SMART to embrace change in your own life whenever possible and be open to where it will lead.
“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” —Henri Bergson