In April, I met Martha Stewart. I asked her:
Q. What's your best advice for people who want to live well?
You have to be interested, curious and passionate. You have to work at it. You can't slough.
Lesson: The secret to living as beautifully as Martha Stewart is to step it up and care.
In May, I gave my slightly musty house a fragrance makeover. I called on fragrance expert Helen Feygin, owner of Intuiscent, a fragrance supplier in Middlesex, N.J., for help.
“People often overlook their homes' smells, because we adapt. We must be mindful that when others come in, what you no longer smell will seem strong to them,” Feygin said.
Lesson: Home fragrance comes in many forms: potpourri, spray mists, electric diffusers, reed diffusers, candles and aromatic salts. Choose carefully and don't be cheap. The best smells are blends (mandarin bergamot and citrus verbena) that smell like nature.
In June, my brother and I made the tough call to move our parents into assisted living.
As they both turned 90, their living situation grew rickety. Mom took a few spills and was becoming forgetful. Dad was losing weight. My brother eventually convinced them they would be much better off — safer, happier, healthier — in a home with some help.
Dad warmed to the idea of a social life, cooked meals and no yard to maintain. But six months later Mom still wants to “go home.”
Lesson: After talking to experts, I learned this difficult decision boils down to five criteria: Safety (they've had falls, injuries or driving mishaps), health (balance, memory or stamina is failing), hygiene and housekeeping have slipped, and they're eating poorly. The right choice and the easy choice are rarely the same.
Join me next week for 2012 lessons from the year's second half.
Marni Jameson is a syndicated columnist, author and speaker. Contact her through www.marnijameson.com.