This week marks my one-year anniversary of writing this column. The time has flown by, and I can honestly say this is one of my favorite things to do!
Much of the credit goes to you, the readers, for your insightful responses to my musings. I've greatly enjoyed the feedback, the sharing of information and the fact that we continue to learn from each other.
As I've looked back over the subjects of this year's columns, I've run across the topics of commitment, habits, communication between men and women, gratitude, control, honesty, creativity, agreements, purpose, hurrying through life, replaying negative situations in our minds, competition, coaching, criticism, joy and ThanksLiving.
And I've also reflected on the title of the column, "Living Life Fully" - a reminder that this is not a dress rehearsal. Rather than just going through the motions, we can choose to experience life on a deeper level.
This brought to mind a segment I saw on the television show "20/20" about centenarians. They were studying common traits of those who were living quality lives beyond 100 years. My husband and I developed an acronym for those qualities so we could always remember them:
P - Purpose
A - Attitude
L - Loss
A - Active
C - Committed
E - Engaged
Many of these folks had outlived their siblings - and even their children. They had the fortitude not only to persevere, but to flourish.
I also was intrigued to learn this week that scientists have found we each have a "happiness set point," the genetic and learned tendency to remain at a certain level of happiness - similar to a thermostat setting on a furnace. Like a weight set point, which keeps the scale hovering around the same number, our happiness set point remains the same unless we make a concerted effort to change it, according to Marci Shimoff, author of "Happiness for No Reason."
Two of our greatest barriers to happiness - fear and anxiety - have been hardwired into us to ensure survival as a species. In today's world, however, that old wiring has become more harmful than helpful.