I first heard of Mark Manson when my sister periodically linked me to his blog. His writing style is a bit irreverent, a bit blunt, very no fucks given. (FYI: this is the last time I’m using profanity in this post – I’m not a huge fan of it in print.) Profanity aside, the content of his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, is actually quite philosophical – it’s really about how to live a good life.
We have a habit of focusing on the negative, making ourselves miserable in the process. We fail at things because we didn’t truly want them in the first place. If we don’t want the journey, if we only want the results without all the hard work, then it’s not for us.
I’m still really into forest bathing, probably because I haven’t had a chance to go hiking yet. And I do have a thing about book covers – this one is amazing! I’ve been even more aware of book cover designs since I saw this TED Talk. But, did I really need to read a second book on forest bathing, you ask? Yes!
There are some overlaps between Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, by Dr. Qing Li, and Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing, by Yoshifumi Miyazaki, of course. But I also found some additional tips on how to make the most of your DIY forest bathing!
Despite not having any children, or even any nieces, nephews, godchildren, or responsibilities for small people of any kind, I enjoy reading books on raising children. I found this book too late for my Scandinavian month, but just in time for my exploration of a simpler, more natural life. Combine the two, and we have ourselves a book on raising children the Scandinavian way.
There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather is by Linda Åkeson McGurk, a Swedish-born mother of two in Indiana. She recounts the contrast of raising two daughters in the US, and when they had to move back to Sweden for 6 months, illustrating the contrasts in cultural attitudes when it comes to raising children.
As a society, we’ve been driven to consume more, and more frequently. Fashions used to change once a season, or twice a year, but now fast fashion retailers are continually churning out new styles and getting rid of old styles. Cars are only made to drive a number of years before we’re expected to upgrade. Cell phones barely last long enough for the release of the next model. Retail therapy, and being a shopaholic, are now badges of honor. Not only is this consumption-centric model hurting our wallets, it’s also devastating for the planet we live on. How do we consume less? How do we live a more sustainable life?
Tara Button hopes to help with that. She started a website called “Buy Me Once,” that find brands that make sustainable, high-quality, and long-lasting products, to encourage people to buy things that can be inherited through the generations. Her book, A Life Less Throwaway, is full of tips and steps to stop our mindless consumption and to build a home and life that truly reflects who we are.
I’m on somewhat of a Japanese roll (not a sushi pun – though sushi sounds good) right now. It’s probably because I’m just starting to plan my trip next summer – yes, I’m 14 months ahead of schedule but there are A LOT of things I need to take care of, so planning helps. So after learn to embrace our imperfections, and to recharge in nature, let’s tackle ikigai, the meaning of life.
Ikigai literally means just that – iki (to live) gai (reason). I feel like I’ve been searching for a raison d’être my whole life; sometimes I’m not sure I’ll ever find it. But ikigai is a different approach to what I’ve considered the meaning of life. It’s not about this grandiose passion that changes the world. It can be applied to anything, big or small. Success is not necessarily a component, though ikigai can lead to great success.
What it ultimately is is a value to live by, a purpose to keep you going, a personal standard to which you hold yourself and live accordingly.