Learning: The Key to Enjoying Life

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I think I’ve finally got it.  I think I’ve finally figured out how to enjoy life.  I had an “ah ha” moment (thank you Jim Ryan for the terminology of Ah ha moments).  I think the key to enjoying life is learning.

Here’s some of my thoughts on how learning can help you enjoy life.  I realize it’s kind of simple:

  • Learn what you need so you can enjoy life – there are so many resources out there.
  • Learn from past mistakes
  • Learn from life experiences:
      • Learn who you want to be friends with, who makes you happy, who makes your life better, who makes you feel badly about yourself and, therefore, who you should not “hang out” with
      • Learn what makes you happy
  • Learn what you can to make your life better
  • Learn what you need to make your life what you want it to be
  • Learn to be what you want to be in your career
  • Learn how to do something you’ve always wanted to do
  • Learn to live in the “NOW” and to observe the little things that you’ve been missing because you’ve been too busy to notice
  • Learn a new skill and how to make money
  • Learn how to eat healthy
  • Learn how to communicate with your kids
  • Learn how to be a community again.

I’ve realized, as it pertains to myself, that stress is brought about by the pressure we put on ourselves in our daily lives.  And, when you look at society, I think this has a big part of why people are ill or depressed now-a-days.  How many of us can be described as “tormented” souls.

So, I’ve determined that, at least for me, learning is the key to enjoying life.  And, that’s the true reason I started  It was my way to learn how to enjoy life.  I’ve learned so much, so far, from the amazing professionals that are part of this people-helping-people project, and know I will continue to learn how to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance because of the amazing things they write.

And, I have learned from the books I have been reading that have been recommended to me as part of this project, books I would never have read.  Learning is the answer.

There is a solution to every problem, and, as Eckhart Tolle noted in his book, The Power of Now, problems are created by our mind.  So, I will continue to seek out what I need to “fix” the “problems” that I have created because I have not taken the time to learn a better way because of being too busy or too overwhelmed.  You know you get caught up in the momentum of the day to day.

Through all of these resources, I’ve learned that I can be more in control, and look forward to continue learning.

I had a “woo hoo” type of day.  A day that was so long in coming.  And, I know there will be more to come.

I invite you to learn with me and join my journey of discovery to enjoy life.  It’s Time to Play.

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Embrace the philosophy — you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  It’s time to enjoy life.  Visit to find resources for a better life.

P.S. — Totally check out the discussion forum.  I’ve been working really hard to develop a discussion forum to include things we need to enjoy life.  It’s not a Facebook!  It’s a place to go and get what you need and then go out and do it!

The Power of Now — a journey to discovery

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Don’t know if you have had the time to join in / read the book discussion re: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, but I’m up to page 65.  Here’s what I’m thinking about so far. . .

There are a lot of thought provoking statements in the pages I’ve read.  And, I start to wonder about how I do think and the “chatter” which has brought me so many good ideas and breakthroughs.  So where do you draw the line of what is good or bad chatter?  How do you turn it on or off as needed? Hopefully as I read more I’ll learn more I’ll figure this out.

Here’s an amazing, thought provoking paragraph (page 46-47):  “As long as the egoic mind is running your life, you cannot truly be at ease; you cannot be at peace or fulfilled except for brief intervals when you obtained what you wanted, when a craving has just been fulfilled.  Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things.  It needs to be both defended and fed constantly.  The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious and other collective identifications. None of these is you . . . The ego’s needs are endless.  It feels vulnerable and threatened and so lives in a state of fear and want”.

Wow.  I totally saw myself in this.  Did you?  The pursuit of career, completing my masters, my job.  These things defined me, pushed me.  If I had a good day at work, I was in a good mood.  Bad day?  Bad mood.  HOWEVER, at what point do you need motivation to pursue a “life”, and at what point are you kind of a hump of flesh (very visual, huh?) sitting on a couch?  BUT, the state of fear and want sentence makes you think, too.  Is this pursuit what’s causing us so much stress?  What do we really need or want?  Is that what we need to evaluate to have a good quality of life?  At what point do we not strive?  I’m still reading, so, hopefully this will be answered.

The author continued to talk about the past, the future vs. the now.  The life situations we are dealing with, not the LIFE.  I’ll leave you with this:  (page 63) “Your life situation exists in time.  Your life is now.  Your life situation is mind-stuff.  Your life is real”.  The author notes that we need to realize that there are no problems, only situations to be dealt with now, or to be left alone and accepted as part of the present moment until they change or can be dealt with, and that problems are mind-made and need time to survive.

Hmmmm —

Book Discussion continues:  Go to Book Discussion

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Embrace the philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  It is time to enjoy life.  Check out the resources on to have a better life.

Getting Through the Holidays Without Your Loved Ones

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I know  how hard it is for people to be without loved ones during this time of year.  A few days ago I had the honor of having Ron Villano, a clinical psychotherapist, life & bereavement coach (and a professional resource on the website under Happiness Professionals) join me in a podcast with the goal to help people get through the holidays if their loved ones were not with them.  That goes for whether your loved one lives far away, is in the military, or has passed away.

I figured I’d summarize some of the things we spoke about for those who  may not have had the ability to listen.  And, if you do want to listen, just click here:  Ron’s Podcast — it was recorded (it’s only 30  minutes).

So. . . Ron had many great things to say.  He has a quote, “When you choose to change your thoughts, you begin to change your life.”  That is something to really think about.  It truly is up to us to move forward — something that could be applied to all aspects of our life, right?

Ron’s son, Michael, lost his life in a car accident when he was 17 years old.  Ron had much pain after the loss of his son.  He noted that it takes time to heal and that you need to give yourself the time you need.  But, after many years, he realized that his son gave him life.  He lives by the mantra to honor your loved one’s life by living yours.

Some things we had discussed:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings.  Just because it is holiday, you don’t have to force yourself to be happy.
  2. Reach out.  If you feel lonely or isolated reach out.  There are volunteer opportunities or clubs or organizations where you can meet like-minded people.
  3. Budget — Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.  Ron wrote an article  posted on his TimetoPlay page titled, Ho.. Ho… Oh no! December Spending. January Lending.  How to Keep your Holiday Buying in Control, which may prove helpful to some.
  4. Seek professional help if you need it.  Ron noted that a licensed psychotherapist can provide support without passing judgement.  They really can help people sort things out.
  5. Decorating/Traditions:  Ron said he didn’t decorate for Christmas for 9 years following the passing of his son.  Again, people have different ways of healing and their need for time should be respected.  An article I read on, “Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief”, noted that people might find different ways of celebrating and making new traditions, that, maybe, doing what you always had done just doesn’t feel right.
  6. Honor Your Loved One:  Some suggestions in the WebMD article were that people could honor their loved ones by lighting a special candle or focusing on the richness of a life well-lived.  Their comments were that, when you share stories about the person, you’re filling your heart with that person.  Ron spoke about the party he now has where he and his family and friends celebrate his Michael’s life.   He said it is amazing what a difference that has made.
  7. Don’t abandon healthy habits – stay healthy:  Ron noted that it is very important to take care of yourself.  Eating healthy and exercise should be a part of that.

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For over a year I’ve been working on, a HUGE project.  Since the end of September, it’s finally moving forward.  I thank the wonderful, amazing professionals I have “suckered in” to my project who are sharing their knowledge through their articles on the timetoplay site and volunteering to join me in the podcasts we started only 6 short weeks ago.  No one is paid for their participation (me either!).

As part of my midlife crisis , I have developed the philosophy — you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  I feel many of us get wrapped up in working or things that get in the way, and these professionals can help us make our lives better.

It’s time for us to enjoy life.  Let me know what you need.  I look forward to hearing from you.



Don't Buy Me Anything for our Anniversary

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Celebrate! With a Gift!!!

I was talking to a friend who said that he and his wife celebrated their wedding anniversary the other day.  She told him not to buy her a gift.

As this blog is associated with a “quest for quality of life”, his words inspired me to write some words of wisdom for all those men out there that might think a woman is serious when they tell them not to buy a gift for a special occasion.  Anniversary, birthday, Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate), Valentine’s Day…. actually — pretty much any holiday or special day — guess what — we don’t mean it.

How many women are smiling right now?

So, how does that tie into a “quest for quality of life”?  If you don’t buy the gift and a lovely card, you won’t have any.  For days, or months, possibly.

Now, depending on your partner, it may not be necessary to spend a lot of money.  Maybe just a rose or a card will do.  But, actually taking us up on the “don’t buy me anything” statement is really a mistake.

Why do we say it?  We’re testing you.  We want to see you think.  To see what you can come up with on your own.  My husband and I are true partners.  We share chores.  Most of the time he seems to bare the brunt of doing the bills and laundry at this point.  BUT — I mostly do the planning and the gift buying.  So, once in a while, I like to see what he can do on his own.

Hopefully you won’t think I’m shallow.  I’m really not.  I really don’t even like getting gifts. But, once in a while, it’s nice to know that he thinks about me — that we’re not just work partners, but that he feels I’m special enough to come up with something that will make me smile and feel special.

Afterall, everyone needs to feel special once in a while.

For the next anniversary or special day — celebrate.  And, buy a gift.

Aging. . . and appreciation

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For Thanksgiving we had the pleasure of spending the day with my husband Jim’s Aunt and Uncle.  Both in their late 80’s, and married 63 years, they have been in failing health recently.  And, not realizing it yesterday, I woke up this morning knowing I learned a valuable lesson from them.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of working in a nursing home.  My goal while I worked there was to help people have a great quality of life.  I always appreciated the residents as people with amazing history.  But, after spending time with our Aunt and Uncle, I realize the residents were only shells of who they once were.  Still functioning, still alive, but not the same.  For the residents in the nursing home we were their caretakers, and they were dependent on us.

So, yesterday, while spending time with them, in our Aunt and Uncle’s home, I realized they were so lucky.  Lucky to have been in such good health for so long, lucky to be together for 63 years.  Lucky to be independent, which is truly a gift. 

And, not that I didn’t see it before, but it became increasingly apparent how finite life is.  In their case, at 87, how many good years are left?  How many more years can they live on their own, cherishing each other and the precious time they have together?

That same question does go for each and every one of us, too — every day is a gift.  Did you ever see the movie, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas“, when his heart melted and he found appreciation?  That is how I feel.  With this Thanksgiving, I found appreciation.  For my family, for my husband, for my children.  I realize how important it is to recognize their individuality.  So, maybe my kids’ grades aren’t perfect, but they are healthy and happy and pursuing their way in life.  They are their own people, truly individuals, sorta fun to be around, and I am proud of them. 

Life is a learning process.  I feel a little sad that it took this long for the “wakeup call”.  And I appreciate my visit with Jim’s aging relatives to help me along.

Do I expect to relish in this appreciation every day?  I’m sure not — I’m sure things will get me down some days, or the work stress will take precious time away.  But I will strive to stop myself if I become overwhelmed, or exhausted, and reflect on the good things in my life. 

My goal?  To smile.  My desire?  Just to have a nice day.  Every day. 

And, my hope for you, too.