(originally titled: The Only Thing We Know For Sure Is That We Don’t Know Anything For Sure) Most of you who read my blog know that I am an optimist. I also believe in the power of positive thought. The way I see it, positive thought is different from positive thinking because just thinking of things doesn’t always affect them. But when you change your thoughts (or mindset) about things, it usually spurs the actions that lead to change. So imagine my delight when I came across the work of Ellen J. Langer who not only reinforces that idea about “thoughts,” but also offers research to support them. Calling on what she labels the “psychology of possibility,” Langer says that it “first requires that we begin with the assumption that we do not know what we can do or become.” In other words, the only thing we know for sure is that we can’t know anything for absolute certain. [Read more…]
Thinking is contagious. In other words, what we focus on and spend time mulling over in our minds routinely shows up over and over in wanted or unwanted ways. Worried about something? Chances are you will wake up in the middle of the night with those fears running through your head like a wild horse. Intrigued by something? Curious? Delighted? Without a doubt, you will find trails of those ideas leading in all sorts of interesting directions.
That’s why it was no surprise when I stumbled upon a newsletter called Positive Aging by The Taos Institute while surfing the Internet. There I found a newly released book entitled, Paths To Positive Aging—Dog Days with a Bone and Other Essays and I emailed and asked for a review copy. As hoped, this small book of essays generated all sorts of new ideas about aging that I found remarkable. And so it goes. [Read more…]
With Memorial Weekend right around the corner, I think a lot of people are making plans for summer vacation. I know I am. I’ve also read that people spend more time planning their vacations than they do their lives—but that’s another topic for another blog post. Then this morning I listened to another lecture by Abraham-Hicks and through the course of a question and answer period Abraham said, “You didn’t come to get it done.” Another way of saying that is, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” However, if you are anything like me, I need to be reminded over and over that the gift of today is reason enough for my life. What about you? [Read more…]
A big topic in my age group is retirement. About half of my friends are looking forward to it while the other half are already there. As for Thom and I, we see ourselves standing with a foot on both sides. We aren’t retired, but neither are we chained to our work. What makes us different from others hoping to retire soon is that we’ve embraced what I call rightsizing. Rightsizing is a process that any of us can do to come into greater alignment with our most cherished values and goals. On a practical level, rightsizing points to actions we can make at any age that will help before, and especially after, a person retires.
In case you are wondering, I am not a financial advisor. Most retirement “planning” comes from people who would like to manage your finances. That approach tends to put the focus on how much money you make, how much money saved, and how much you need in the future to maintain your current lifestyle. Rightsizing, on the other end, downplays money and instead puts the focus on what is most rewarding in your life.
My husband Thom had a rather cantankerous relationship with his mother. Roberta had a very strong need for approval, especially from others, so she expected Thom to be the perfect child. Unfortunately, the more she attempted to control his inquisitive behavior, the more rebellious he became. But a very helpful thing Roberta did do for him was to plant an extremely powerful seed in his mind. Ironically, rather than tell him directly, he overheard her saying it to a neighbor. That seed, that statement was, “Thom can do anything he sets his mind to.” Not only did that seed sprout and take root, it’s been a guiding principal in his life. Of course, when you think about it, most of us live our entire lives based upon what we’ve set our mind to be, do, or have. Regrettably, many of us ignore the power of that set point as well as our ability to adjust it in a positive way by design. [Read more…]
Like most people my age I am increasingly interested in what leads to aging well and happy. I am also keenly aware of how different that is from many of the conversations my parents had in later years. Rather than go through a depressing list of “organ – recitals” that often characterized our parents and their friends, the new emerging conversation about positive aging is leading in exciting and interesting directions every day. One recent study from the Netherlands combines the idea of healthy aging to people’s hopes, plans, and wishes for their future. Could it be that having goals and planning for certain experiences can make us happier and more satisfied as we age? This particular study says yes. [Read more…]
Most of us are familiar with the idea that trauma, especially extreme trauma like war, rape or life-threatening illness, can lead to a condition called PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome.) But what many might not realize is that many people who have experienced those extreme tragedies not only learn to cope and adapt but actually manage to thrive. Called Post Traumatic Growth (PTG) these resilient people appear to be both “antifragile” and “stress inoculated.” Best of all, this mindset allows them to do better than “bounce back” from whatever trauma they have experienced, but rather to “bounce forward” in strong and meaningful ways.
It occurred to me the other day that many people I know are experiencing a certain degree of PTSD during the last several months. Perhaps the SMARTest thing any of us can do would be to cultivate the possibility of PTG into our everyday lives so that we adjust, learn and create something new and better in the days ahead. [Read more…]
A good friend named Mark recently bought a new truck. To call it a pickup is grossly inadequate. Mark arrived one day in this shiny enormous vehicle with four doors, cushy soft leather seats, a fully digital dashboard with onboard space-like technology, a moonroof that spanned the entire length of both the front and back seats, and automatic retractable step-bars that lower and raise as you open the doors. I’ll admit I was a bit envious as I looked at my aging twelve-year-old Nissan Murano sitting next to it. But after hearing the “great deal” Mark got by paying only $50,000 for a $65,000 priced truck, all envy evaporated. My Murano is free and clear, still looks decent, and reliably gets me everywhere I want to go. Meanwhile, our family savings sits safely secure in investments that generate automatic cash flow. Instead of envy, I now have pride—pride in the benefits of a frugal and rightsized life. [Read more…]
Every blogger I know is aware of how well our posts are doing. How many people visit? What are people reading? Do people comment? Is anyone out there? After all, most of us spend a lot of time and effort writing something that we think others will find interesting enough to read and hopefully share with others. If we have commercial aspirations, numbers translate to income. If we are writing just to share ideas with others, we still want to know if people find our writing helpful. Programs exist that show us how many clicks an article receives, whether the entire article is read—or just the opening paragraph. Some programs are able to clock the amount of time on each page. Even when a blogger attempts to stay true to her mission and intentions, the numbers are difficult to ignore. [Read more…]
In case you haven’t noticed, I love making lists. Not only do they help me stay organized, I believe they are a great way to communicate and share information. And since turning 60 over a year ago, I’ve also begun to read and follow more and more blogs and websites that share positive and SMART information about aging and retirement. So today I’m offering a list of noteworthy sites for 2016.
I got the idea when another website offered to repost one of my articles on positive aging titled, 9 Reasons Why What We Think About Aging Matters. When looking through the Ovid.com website I noticed they also offered an annual list, and when I inquired, they explained that the list was one of their most popular. [Read more…]