Is It OK To Be Selfish?

From Acts 20:35 of the King James Bible we get the notion that “it’s better to give than receive.” A noble proposition for sure, but is it truly better?

Psychologist say many people don’t give enough to themselves. Studies show that those who practice self-care can reap benefits in their mental state, physical health, and relationships.

In this next series of Life in HD podcasts, we will explore the pursuit of happiness. What it is, how we define it, and why obtaining it is easier for some more than others.

In this episode, I examine how self-care can lead to happiness when you make yourself a priority. I speak with Christopher Felton, author of the book Re-Member Yourself: A Healing Journey Through Your Innerverse. In his book, Christopher attemps to provide some answers to the question: in living for others, have you forgotten to live for yourself? A Healing Journey is a self-help book and journal and it encourages us to be recipients of our own good acts. In this regard, selfishness can actually be a good thing. Push play on the audio player and take a listen.

For more information on Christopher Felton and his book, visit Remember Yourself.

Our theme song is Pumpkin Spice by Audiobinger under Creative Commons Attribution License.

You Don’t Have to be Miserable

Welcome to Life in HD – the podcast that puts a spotlight on how we live our lives.  [LANGUAGE ADVISORY]

You and I both know how difficult personal change can be.  We are creatures of habit and we operate in comfort zones where sticking to habits, whether good or bad, bring us the comfort of familiarity.  But what if what’s comfortable for you makes you not a likeable person?  Brings out traits that you don’t like in yourself?  What do you do then?  You know the kind of person that you want to be…you can see yourself in your mind’s eye…but how do you get there?

I talked with man who, faced with that very scenario, decided to go through a personal transformation and he shares his journey with us on this episode.

John Kim, known as The Angry Therapist, was forced to face his shortcomings as a man and a human being.  After a heart-wrenching divorce, he turned to blogging as a way to explore how to become a better person.  He shares his journey and his discoveries in a new book titled “I Used to be a Miserable Fuck: An Every Man’s Guide to a Meaningful Life”  He describes, that after some deep soul searching, that he was indeed a miserable man.  He considers his journey as something of a rebirth.

In a sense, John Kim is redefining what it means to be a man.  In his work, he finds that there are many fatherless young men out there without proper role models to emulate or provide a moral compass.

In “I Used to be a Miserable Fuck”, The Angry therapist draws on his own personal experiences as a therapist and a man to help readers, men and women, start some important internal dialogue and think about who you are…and who you want to be.  He says it requires work: reflection, pain, courage, and perhaps a rebirth.  And he offers this book as a guide. 

There are a number of do’s and don’ts in this book that will challenge you to examine yourself and your definitions of manhood. Like “Do live a through me life”, and “Don’t pee in the shower”.

You can get a copy of his book from any retail bookstore.  For more information on the book and John Kim, visit his website theangrytherapist.com.  The music in this episode is Pumpkin Spice by Audiobinger under creative commons attribution license. I Hope you will find his episode and discussion to be of some help on your journey to self-discovery and self-improvement.  Please push play on the player and enjoy the conversation.

When Good Actors Do Bad Things: Smollett Edition

Actor Jussie Smollett appearing on the show Sisters Circle Live

On January 29th, actor Jussie Smollett, known for his role on the FOX show Empire, reported that he was assaulted by two masked men who beat him while using racial and homophobic slurs in Chicago.  After weeks of investigation, the Chicago Police Department has now issued Smollett a felony disorderly conduct charge. 

Joining me on this episode of Pop Life is Bob Thompson, Director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, and Leslie Streeter, entertainment writer for the Palm Beach Post out of West Palm Beach, FL to help make sense of it all.

Give a listen HERE

West Palm or Bust

Top-down cruising in West Palm Beach

My wife and I purchased a condo in Palm Beach, FL in 2017. It started as a family vacation home but has quickly turned into our likely place for retirement.

While she hails from Virginia and I was born and raised in Maryland, we have lived and raised our family in the Syracuse, NY area for over 25 years. That equates to 25 mostly brutal winters. We have both had enough.

Yes, Florida is becoming passe as a retirement destination and the state has its fair share of challenges including oppressive summer heat and the occasional hurricane, but in the year and a half that we’ve been traveling there, we have fallen in love with the Palm Beach and West Palm Beach areas. And anytime you actually close on a property 1 day from hurricane landfall when everyone is evacuating and everything still turns out fine, you know that the strength of your dream is forged in fire.

Public art in downtown West Palm Beach, FL

One of the reasons we have fallen in love with the place is the ample public art and murals that bring the town alive and pop with visual stimulation. It forces you to stop in your tracks, gaze, and contemplate.

Angela blends her beauty with the beauty of urban art.

West Palm Beach and adjacent towns like Lake Worth offer a variety of urban art, murals and sculptures. Mix it with great restaurants, mild weather, gorgeous beaches, and a vibrant cultural scene and you have the makings of our version of a dream retirement destination.

Clematis Street – downtown West Palm Beach

Our most recent visit offered an opportunity for us to give the place an “empty nest” spin. With the eldest daughter out on her own and the youngest living on campus, we were able to give our future a dry run. It was an extended weekend of discovery. New places to dine, new beaches to visit and there is always art right around the corner.

Winter in the northeast can be such a life-less time of year, especially for a child of the south, and each subsequent winter drives me deeper into seasonal depression. South Florida’s mild temperatures, blooming vegetation, and swaying palm trees seem to be the perfect remedy for us.

Future Self

Photo by Lisa Mathews

Do me a favor. Close your eyes and think of your future self. Are your eyes closed? Good. Visualize yourself at 57, 62, 65 or even 70 years of age. What are you doing? Where are you living? Specifically, how do you spend your days? Walks on the beach? Enjoying hobbies? Are you living your best life? Are you retired or still working? Now think about whether or not you have the resources to live life comfortably.

A GoBankingRate.com survey on retirement savings revealed that 42% of survey respondents reported having less than $10,000 saved for retirement, including 13.7% who said they had $0 saved. If you count yourself among them, you have considerable ground to gain if you want to just take care of your basic needs in retirement. The changes that you make today can help you live more comfortably tomorrow.

In this episode of Life in HD podcast, I speak with Vicki R. Brackens, President and Financial Planner at Brackens Financial Solutions Network and registered representative of LPL Financial, member SIPC. Vicki helps us map out some strategies to reduce debt and start saving. We also tackle the common excuses people cite as reasons they can’t save. Take a listen. Your future self with thank you.

Target Audience: people who find themselves behind in saving for retirement.

Focus: establish what you’ll need – understanding the Social Security piece of the pie – reducing debt – eliminating excuses – vehicles that will help you grow your nest egg.

Music – “Pixels” by Drake Stafford under Creative Commons license.

More on Vicki Brackens

Part 2 – Change Your Diet, Save The World

Photo by Catherine Singleton

Americans consume, on average, over 222 pounds of meat per person per year. And that big juicy rib eye steak that we enjoy has an impact on our environment. From deforestation to polluted water to methane-producing livestock, the meat and dairy industry’s impact on the planet is massive and contributes roughly 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emission.

Can adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet or reducing the amount of meat that we consume reduce our impact on the planet? To help me make sense of the connection between the demand and consumption of meat and the increase in greenhouse gasses, I am joined by Robert M Wilson, Associate Professor of Geography at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Part one of this episode explored how reducing meat in our diets can produce better health outcomes for our bodies. This episode explores how the same can have better health outcomes for the planet. Thanks for listening.

Music in this episode is Ultraviolet by AA Aalto under creative commons license.

Change Your Diet, Save The World

By Unknown – This image was released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health, with the ID 2413

Are you a resister? The kind of person that is resistant to change but you actually want to change that behavior? Well you are in the right place. This season of the Life in HD podcast is devoted to change both big and small.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series on reducing meat consumption for a healthier lifestyle and healthier planet. That’s right, by simply reducing the demand for red meat, you can improve your health outcomes and limit the environmental impact that the meat industry has on our planet.

If you’ve ever considered moving to a more plant-based diet, now would be a good time to make that change. To help us think through it, I chat with Ruth Sullivan a registered dietitian at Syracuse University. She helps us understand the health benefits of a plant-based diet and guides us on the best way to get started if it’s the change we want to make. Then I check in with Karen DeVose, a busy higher education professional on her recent decision to live a meat-less lifestyle. It’s an informative discussion. Just push play on the audio player and absorb the info.

Music in this episode is Ultraviolet by A.A. Aalto under creative commons attribution license.

The Magic of Letting Go

Change is not always easy. We live our lives conditioned to do the same things over and over because we are creatures of habit. Familiarity brings comfort. And yet change, if we are open to it, can bring about some very positive consequences.

This season of Life in HD is devoted to change. Getting out of our comfort zones, shedding old habits, and striving for growth. We start things off with a conversation with Courtney Carver, author of the book Soulful Simplicity: How Living With Less Can Lead to so Much More. She also publishes the blog Be More With Less where she writes about living a simple, clutter-free life.

This isn’t a conversation about freeing up counter space or organizing closets. Instead, it’s about getting your mind and soul ready to let go of all of the physical and emotional baggage. She has an amazing story to tell and I hope you’ll give this episode a listen. Hear her describe the 3 myths of ownership and tell us about the wake up call that inspired Courtney to change her life.

Music in this episode is “Wireless” by Lee Rosevere under creative commons attribution non-commercial license.

Feel free to share the changes that you are planning for your life in 2019. Perhaps it will inspire a future episode.

Making Peace with Anger

Holidays can be a joyous time of year filled with cheerful music, wonderful food, gift-giving, and family. 

It’s the family part of the equation that can sometimes be risky.  You can get over receiving an ugly tie as a gift…but a heated argument with Aunt Sadie might not be so easy.

Family gatherings CAN be a wonderful part of holiday traditions but they can also be heated, uncomfortable and filled with tension.  What if…you’re the problem?

Can YOU make peace with your own anger for a more harmonious Christmas?  The answer is…yes.  We chatted with a man who did exactly that. Meet Tom Corner, author of the book Borrowed Eyes and Feet: Finding Enlightenment After Rage. Tom carried anger with him for a while and that anger manifested itself in very self-destructive ways.  That is until he had a break through. Listen to find out how Tom broke through the anger, made peace with himself, and contributed to more harmonious family gatherings.

To learn more about Tom, his book, and his motivational speaking…visit Tom Corner.net. (We’ll have a link to his sit in the show notes at joeblee.com) Music that you’re listening to is Ride Out by Audiobinger under creative commons non-commercial use license