Posts Tagged ‘Gretchen Rubin’

Service of Storage: Good or Bad Idea?

Monday, April 8th, 2019

Photo: movinginsider.com

I heard David Levine interview author Gretchen Rubin about her new book, “Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness,” at a Science Writers in New York event. Levine is co-chair. During the Q and A, the topic of storage–that I mentioned in passing in a recent post on moving–came up.

Photo: everettdowntownstorage.com

As I wrote, I’ve moved from substantial to small spaces. To counter my groaning about giving away, selling or tossing yet more stuff friends and family have suggested storage. Figuring that it’s doubtful that I’ll be moving to larger apartments or homes anytime soon, I resisted tucking away things in a storage unit. It didn’t make sense, unless the bin was in the basement of the apartment as at times it has been.

I’m either in the minority or folks conducting the storage industry’s forecasts are off. SpareFoot, reporting on the self storage industry, calculates that the US has 50,000+ self storage facilities or 2.322 billion square feet of rentable space.

As I’ve written previously, I believe in storing winter or summer clothes at a dry cleaner’s to address miniscule closet space. Some dry cleaners store suitcases. That makes sense if you own a large one and live in a diminutive studio.

Do you store things? What? Is it expensive? How often do you visit your belongings? What do you expect to do with them eventually?

Photo: 140mini.com

Service of Optimism

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Optimism

Americans are encouraged—even expected–to be happy and optimistic. Corporate, popular and sports cultures promote a “you can do it, anything’s possible” approach: it’s the Declaration of Independence’s “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” in action.

"Making the Bed," Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

“Making the Bed,” Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

New York Times best-selling authors such as Gretchen Rubin study happiness and travel the world sharing tips encouraging small changes to achieve it. Making your bed daily is one antidote to consider if you can’t correct big things such as a miserable job. Rubin recently addressed The American Society of Journalists & Authors as a result of which David Levine interviewed her for a blog post “Gretchen Rubin: serious about happiness: The bestselling author of The Happiness Project talks about the discipline of happiness – and what you should avoid doing.”

I thought of our culture and of Rubin in reading Walter Russell Mead’s opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal: “For the U.S., a Disappointing World: The chaos in Iraq is just the latest evidence that history doesn’t follow America’s optimistic script.”

The foreign affairs and humanities professor at Bard College pointed out the similarities between Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush in their approach to foreign affairs: “While it is true that both presidents got some important things wrong, it is what unites them rather than what divides them that is the root cause of our troubles. Both Messrs. Bush and Obama, like many of their fellow citizens, radically underestimate the dangers and difficulties in the path of historical progress.

Rosy the Riveter“Americans tend to believe that history is easy and that things usually work out for the best. When the French Revolution began, many Americans followed Thomas Jefferson’s lead in thinking that the overthrow of Louis XVI would lead rapidly to democracy in Europe. Before World War I, most Americans believed that another great European war was unthinkable; when that war ended, President Woodrow Wilson was sure that a global democratic peace was on the way.”

He pointed out that the American standard of living has always been higher than others– starting after the Revolution—and that it affects our rosy attitude. He wrote: “This happy history shapes our thinking about the world more than most of us know. Whether conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, Americans tend to think that history doesn’t matter much, that win-win solutions are easily found and that world history is moving inexorably toward a better and more peaceful place.”

Additional excerpts from his thoughtful piece: “The holiday from history came to an end on 9/11, but the Bush administration’s subsequent approach to Iraq and the Middle East dramatically underestimated the difficulty of building stable democracies in a troubled region.”

isolationMead also observed: “Today we see a very different world. We are being forced to remember something we’d rather forget: that history is hard, that the choices it forces on us are sometimes harsh and that not everything ends in win-win.”

Isolation isn’t the answer, he concluded. “What we need instead is realistic goals and historical modesty—perhaps, at last, a foreign policy that is more about preventing catastrophes than constructing utopias.”

Do you think that too much optimism can be problematic and that our eternal search for happiness and peace for all is unrealistic? Does this approach steer our leaders into making inappropriate decisions?

road ahead

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