The young couple who live across the street from me are selling their home. I’ll be sad to see them go because they’ve become friends and we’ve watched their son Timmy grow from a toddler to a boy. Where are they going? They’ve decided it’s time for a bigger house in a more affluent neighborhood. Of course, it’s hard to sit in judgment after doing something similar years ago. Still, I hope they never find themselves so pressed for time that they forget what gives life meaning, and instead becoming slaves to a big mortgage and extravagant home expenses. In other words, I hope they never find themselves house-broke and unable to do anything about it. [Read more…]
Last weekend I attended my first ever blogging conference. In many ways, it was my birthday gift to my blog. At the end of April, I will be celebrating the 5th anniversary of SMART Living 365. But what does any of that have to do with you, my dear readers? Just like with so many other SMART topics, when we think about it, we can learn and grow from any situation we experience. Even better, when we open our minds and our hearts, there is a good chance we can also have a fantastic and fun time. With that in mind, I jotted down a few things I learned over the weekend that I thought might prove SMART for us all. [Read more…]
During the last four and a half years I have written and published every post here on SMART Living 365. But as Thom and I prepared for a three week trip over the holidays, I decided to invite three other bloggers I enjoy and admire to contribute and share their SMART advice. Today’s Guest Post comes from author and writer Corinne Rodrigues. Corinne and her writings come to us from halfway around the world in Secunderabad, South India. While our backgrounds are obviously quite different, Corinne and I both often write about many of the qualities that I think make up a SMART Life. Things like a grateful heart, giving, hope, love and thanksgiving are so universal it doesn’t matter where you live. I hope you enjoy this post, and I strongly encourage you to check out Corinne’s blog Everyday Gyaan if you get a chance. Thank you, Corinne, for sharing your loving, grateful and kind writings with all of us.
As I’m cooking spinach this afternoon, I inhale the lovely scent of cumin and coriander and I give thanks for the gift of spices. Earlier this morning, it was thanks for the freshness of the aloe vera soap I used in my shower.
I start to think about how offering thanks has become such a part of my everyday routine. I think of my journey into gratitude and decide that I’ll share it with you today. [Read more…]
One of the stories I can vividly remember my father telling me years back was related to his pride at managing his money in retirement. At the time, both my father and mother lived on their social security and some modest savings held in a 401k. Dad frequently bragged that he lived better, traveled more, and seemed to have more fun than many of his friends who retired with big homes and generous pensions. From my perspective, at least at the time, their lifestyle seemed more humble and restricted than I felt necessary. Yet now, less than 20 years later, I recognize that their simple and minimal lifestyle afforded them tremendous benefits that millions of other “hope-to-be-retirees” could learn from—including myself. [Read more…]
On October 9th, my husband Thom and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary. When we got married so many years ago I never imagined what it would be like to approach an anniversary date that signifies so much time together. I’ve heard younger people worry about sticking it out with one person for so long, because they might grow tired or bored with one another. But as I’ve said before, I think our experience proves that love and the depth of a commitment can just continue growing and deepening as years go by. And while I’ve been privileged to know some couples married far longer than us, I thought it might SMART to share 25 things I’ve personally learned about a happy marriage after 38 years. [Read more…]
I’ve been an optimist since the day I was born. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you probably think I’m either incredibly fortunate or unbelievably naïve depending upon your perspective. Yet after reading a new book, I not only understand a great deal more about what motivates me and why, I’ve also developed a much higher appreciation for those more pessimistic than me. In fact, sometimes the best approach for any of us is to ramp up our prevention-focus and practice a bit of defensive-pessimism depending upon the circumstances. That’s right, I now know that even a diehard optimist like me can benefit from being a little pessimistic. [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…]
What every good traveler knows is that every trip contains unexpected surprises. Some surprises bring a wide smile to your face at the first sight of a natural wonder or touch your heart at the unexpected kindness of a stranger. Others make you laugh out loud or purr with delight. Of course on the flip side, events sometimes occur that make us frown with disappointment, wince in pain or even snarl with anger. No matter where you go and what you do, life happens. So even when most of a trip flows pleasantly as expected, learning to accept and flow with unexpected events is the key to traveling SMART. [Read more…]
According to the online publication Business Insider, the average person works over 1,800 hours per year and almost 90,000 total hours during their lifetime. That might be low because if you figure 40 hours per week for 50 weeks, it comes to 2,000 hours without even counting commuting time. An even more depressing bit of information is that nearly 80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs. So if we spend over a third of our life working and another third of our life sleeping, that leaves only one third to do everything else. Is that enough for a happy, purposeful and rewarding life? Maybe. If not, perhaps there is a better way to live by right-sizing your work in ways that help to create a SMART life 365. [Read more…]
Yesterday was my weekly volunteer day for the local branch of The Ophelia Project. I’ve been involved in this organization for a year and a half and it is an opportunity to mentor and meet regularly with local disadvantaged teenage girls looking for extra support. As you might imagine it is valuable for the girls, and a rewarding experience for me. But yesterday I knew we’d be short-handed with a lot planned for our 90-minute meeting, and I was feeling a bit anxious. Before I even left the house I was running lists through my head to insure that everything would be handled, and found myself thinking what a relief it would be when it was all over. Then something clicked in my head and I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to be doing—in fact I’d actually gone out of my way and signed up for the opportunity. But instead of relishing in the current experience, I was worrying over details and longing for it to be over. In other words, I wasn’t “here”—I was somewhere else.