Living Without Regret

Like many women my age, I am 28 years old. ~~ Mary Schmich

Mary Schmich is a lot smarter than me.  She was born in Savannah, Georgia and went to high school in Phoenix, Arizona.  She would go on to get her B.A. from California’s Pomona College.  Then, after three years working in college admissions, and more than a year in France, she attended journalism school at Stanford.  She worked as a newspaper reporter afterwards and in 1985 went to the Chicago Tribune.  Later she became their national correspondent in Atlanta.

In 1992 she started writing a column for the Tribune but after a year took time off to attend Harvard on a Nieman Fellowship for journalists.  Like I said, Mary’s a lot smarter than me.  From 1985 until January of this year she authored a comic strip Brenda Starr.  She’s also a ragtime piano player.  Multi-talented I’d say.

Schmich who is still writing her columns for the Tribune wrote her most famous in 1997.  She started with a simple admonition and continued with advice for living without regret.  In time that advice would be spread around the Internet and, as often happens, has been falsely identified as a commencement address given at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by author Kurt Vonnegut.  The author was once quoted by the New York Times as saying, I would have been proud had the words been mine.

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Books Tells Us a Lot

Books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past. The reason why men lived, and worked, and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives. ~~ Amy Lowell

I think the kind of books one reads says a lot about the person. I prefer reading nonfiction as I’ve found there really is no comparison to the realities of life. I love reading about real people and events. I love history, the people, places and things that brought us to where we are today. They’re great teachers about how to react to — and deal with — our todays.

Lately I’ve turned to reading some fiction as well. I think it could help me become a better writer and — as I’ve written before — friends have suggested there’s a book inside me, somewhere that needs to come out. Fiction or nonfiction, I’m not sure that hidden book’s nature. I’m not sure even if it will ever come out, beyond what you find here or in my personal history that will someday be shared with my family and a few close friends. Whether fiction or non, books take you places your feet can’t go.
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Choose How To Start Your Day

I loved this story from the time I first found it several years ago.  It’s author is unknown.  I hope you enjoy it!

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”  He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time.  How do you do it?”  Michael replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Mike, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.”

“Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me  complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.” Continue reading

Experiencing Awe in the Mundane

Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.
Swami Sivananda

I’m not “into” meditation and have no idea what a Swami is.  Maybe I should expand my horizons.  I have learned Zen is a Japanese form of Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.  Its culture is uniquely Eastern and until recently the West knew little about them.  Some Americans and Europeans who have discovered Zen have found a deep interest in it.

Zen’s reach into it’s follower’s lives is long and extends into interior design.  Zen reflects balance, harmony and relaxationLess is more is the principle when decorating zen style.  Clear the clutter and clear the mind.  I think I like Zen.

I came across Zen through a fellow blogger’s link which brought me to the following “enlightenment”.  I was enlightened.  It’s from a website Interlude: An Internet Retreat whose hopes are to bring its readers a few moments of peace, composure, and mental expansion.  Is there any among us that can’t use a bit of that? Continue reading

Tomorrow

I’ve never seen the stage play but I loved the movie “Annie”.  I’m not much “into” musicals, but a few stand out.  A few I could watch again and again.  In Annie I especially enjoyed Carol Burnett’s portrayal of Agatha Hannigan, the drunk, cruel, caretaker at Annie’s orphanage who all the girls feared.  I love Carole Burnett.

Annie’s story is based on the popular comic strip character Little Orphan Annie from a bygone era and articulates an optimistic view of life through the theme just hang on, until tomorrow.  Times weren’t easy in those days for Annie.

Anyway, how can any of us forget Annie’s rendition of that classic song Tomorrow?  To my way of thinking, despite the setting and the uncertain future Annie faced, the song evokes the spirit of optimism.  Sing the first few lines along with me … Continue reading

Desiderata

Desiderata is among my all-time favorite poems.  In Latin the word means desired things.

I’ve never been much “into” poetry, at least not since One is the loneliest number back in 1970 in a high school English class.  The only reason I remember it at all is because of the cute girl reading it aloud in class.  It’s all a little too ethereal for me.  (Poetry, not the girl!)  I’m more a steak and potatoes kind of a guy.

There’s some interesting history surrounding the origins of the poem and it’s copyright.  American Lawyer Max Ehrman wrote it way back in 1927.  It was largely unknown during his lifetime.  Then Les Crane’s spoken-word, Billboard hit version of it came out in 1971 and brought world-wide acclaim.  It won a Grammy for the former television talk-show host and was among one of the most inspirational poems of our modern-day.  I’ve liked it ever since. Continue reading

12 Ways to Happy – Part 2

So, did you do your homework yesterday?  Did you read my post, Part 1 of this 2-part series?  If you didn’t then the following won’t make nearly as much sense as it could.  Go ahead, if you didn’t, take just a few minutes and at least read Part 1.  I’ll be here when you get back … … … …

If however you did read Part 1, then you’re all set.  Read on.  The following is my assessment of how I’m doing with the 12 habits that will take us a long ways down the road to Happy.  Think about you as you read about me.

According to the original web site that started all-this: Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives.  

Here we go! Continue reading