Each year, I read dozens of books. The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life by Noble Smith was the final book I read in 2015. As it happens, Hobbit wisdom provides us with advice which makes for great resolutions for 2016 and every year beyond.
Smith first read Tolkien as a child and adored the books so intensely that he re-read them all many, many times. Therefore, it shouldn’t be any surprise that he took life advice from the Hobbits who seemed generally happy and content. While living a Hobbit lifestyle may seem odd, Smith does a great job of detailing how Hobbits take pleasure in life and what this can mean for us non-Hobbits if we follow their advice.
Since I want you to read the book, I will present just a smidgen of the Shire Wisdom here.
The first step to contentment is that your home must be a ‘snug’ place. If your home does not feel warm and welcoming when you open the door, it is difficult to be happy there. *
Eat well of a wide variety of good food when you are hungry while also taking pleasure in your meals. It is hard to feel content or to think clearly when you are hungry.
Get plenty of exercise, especially by walking everywhere you can. Walking a wooded trail is a great source of contentment.
Grow a vegetable garden. This provides you with good food along with exercise. Pulling weeds can be quite meditative.
Sleep is vital to well-being. After hard work, it is necessary to sleep long, dream-filled hours in order to process the day (through dreams) and recuperate and refresh your spirit along with your body.
Be open to new ideas and great adventures. As my grandmother used to say when we were lost or something unexpected happened, “We are having an adventure!” This puts a positive spin to life’s events.
In addition to his advice, Smith also includes in each chapter relevant tidbits from the Tolkien lore. He concludes the book with a ‘quiz’ to determine how much of a Hobbit you are. This quiz is really for the deep-dyed Hobbit and LOTR fans who’ve read the books multiple times and seen the movies over and over. I’ve seen the movies (once) and read the books (once, when I was 14), so I do not qualify. But we can all use the Wisdom of the Shire to make 2016 a year of happiness and contentment.
*Advice in another book I read recently will help increase contentment in your home: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.