We are indeed an exceptional country, and we should celebrate that. But patriotism also means calling our nation out for its problems and troubles. Here are my top four patriotic criticisms of Americans that I wish a politician would articulate.
If there's anything that this downturn in the economy has taught us, it's that our happiness does not depend on the money we make. We have learned to be creative, to downsize, to "make do" and to accomplish more with fewer resources.
My whole life I rejected suburban living, selecting instead a city life with neighborhoods that reflected interesting architecture, walking distance access to shops, entertainment and services. Not in my wildest nightmare had I imagined myself living in a 55-Plus Active Lifestyle community.
Contrary to the commonly held notions of old age, baby boomers are retiring in better health and with more zest for life than any of their predecessors in history. Trust me, this generation knows a thing or two about going out in style.
I am not afraid of much. I have hiked through the Andes and the Himalayas, zip-lined through a Mexican jungle, driven on motorcycles far too fast. I have given birth to three children and beaten off two separate muggers intent on grabbing my purse.
I most likely wouldn't be spending time thinking about accidentally killing an ant if I was in the hustle and bustle of my everyday life. I realized that this was a metaphor for something else. People do things that they simply do not mean to. People do things because they are moving too fast.
Underlying our retirement search is the golden trinity we have to consider: our health, our desired lifestyle, and our budget. This trio is symbiotic and if one goes awry, it becomes a poison pill for the other two.
Guess what? You have a dark side. Everyone has a dark side. And that dark side is talking to you and filling your head with nasty, mean, dark thoughts on a daily basis. Are you surprised? Most people are.
We convince ourselves that we are practicing heroically by setting up routines and disciplines that are ultimately unsustainable -- emoting and meditating so intensely that we are actually distracted from a subtler and softer level of feeling.
In today's world, it's easy to think of your daily personal and professional experiences as notches in a belt, with the aim of creating a sense of appreciation at some future point. But why not let that time be now?
Right now it seems like everyone passing for cool, from young, urban hipsters to esteemed celebrities (we're looking at you, Brad Pitt), is sporting some sort of beard. But would these men shave if they knew they were turning women off?
If we recognize that our lifestyles and beliefs are continuously shifting beneath our feet, why does it remain elusive for us as a species to proactively envision and create a frame for peace, health, and well-being for our planet and its inhabitants?
We all know that teasing can be a good-natured way of having good times and showing affection among close friends and family. We may lovingly poke fun at an unusual or annoying habit or attribute of another person with no intention of causing hurt.