Have you ever wondered why Scandinavian countries continue to show up at the top of all surveys and research done on happiness? Especially when you consider that for much of their winters they have very little sunlight and temperatures are freezing. Still, over and over those countries demonstrate that the people who live there rate highly in what most researchers call “subjective wellbeing.” So even though that environment is near the bottom of my personal list of where to live, and I doubt the people there walk around with giddy smiles on their faces, they clearly have something precious and desirable. Is it possible that what makes living there so unparalleled is something called “lagom?” And could it be that lagom is just the Swedish word for the practice of rightsizing?
The short answer is YES! But I often find myself needing to explain why because so many people equate the idea of it with square footage. In reality, a rightsized life has little to do with size, and is instead about so much more. Then last week I had the opportunity to chat with Krista O’Reilly Davi-Digui about rightsizing during an interview for her YouTube Channel. Krista is the author/creator of the blog named A life in Progress (links below) and while we talked about rightsizing, we also talked about self-awareness, writing and living a values-based life. Afterwards I came to the conclusion that while we didn’t speak exclusively about rightsizing, all of those topics lead to what I consider to be a rightsized life. Sure many people are introduced to rightsizing by the thoughts of sustainability, getting rid of clutter and downsizing their living space—but once those are considered, the journey of a rightsized life continues on and is open to everyone at any age.
As you may have noticed I spend a lot of time looking for ways to improve myself and my world. From there, one of the joys of doing this blog is to share what I’ve learned with others. So this week in a podcast by Brene Brown I was introduced to a man named Scott Sonenshein who gave me new ways to think about a couple of topics I write about quite often. His book, Stretch—Unlock the Power of Less and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagine describes people as either stretchers or chasers. And while the title might sound like a business or motivational book, it essentially offers several good ideas about how each of us can increase our wellbeing, peace of mind and creativity. Today I am sharing four ways each of us can stretch ourselves toward greater fulfillment. [Read more…]
During the next two month Thom and I are renting a home in the mountains high above our desert valley home. We have been fortunate to do that for a month or more for over 20+ years. How? The best explanation is because we rightsized our lives. As some of you know, rightsizing is the conscious choice to design a life that focuses on what really matters to you and then work to eliminate the rest. So instead of merely downsizing (often seen as a sacrifice) rightsizing is moving toward what is more fulfilling and beneficial. Naturally people are different and we all face different circumstances, but when we take the time to be conscious about what really matters to us and our families, and then follow those directives, we can call our lives rightsized. This week while taking a walk in nature, Thom and I began talking about how rightsizing really is more important now than ever before. The more uncertainty with our health, our economy or even our social structures, the more important it is to clarify our individual requirements. None of us can control all of the circumstances in our lives, but we can work to create a life that fits our needs and current times in any given period. If you would like a bit more information about how we’ve done it, and hopefully get some ideas about how it could work for you, please visit the linked vlog. Afterwards, we would love to hear your thoughts, comments or even how you’ve managed to rightsize your life in these times.
March is always beautiful and considered “high season” where I live in the Desert Southwest. This last week it was strangely quiet. Schools are closed, traffic is a trickle, and most restaurants are closed. About the only businesses seeing a crowd are the grocery stores with people looking dismally at mostly empty shelves. Surely we are living in an unprecedented time? Perhaps our parents or grandparents who lived through the last world war recognize the sense of uncertainty that comes when something jolts our sense of safety and understanding about how the world is supposed to work. But most of us weren’t alive then and this is our first introduction to such uncertainty. Thankfully, most of us, like most of them, will get through this crisis with the right amount of care and responsible action. But in the meantime, it is SMART to remember that our how we respond to this experience is up to us. It’s also important to remember we are all in this together. In this, our third SMART Living 365 Vlog, Thom and I share several ideas we hope to implement in the days to come in order to sooth any anxiety or fear lurking inside. We hope you find them helpful as well. And if you have any tips for getting through these times as calmly, compassionately and peacefully as possible, please share them in the comments below.
Note: If you have trouble accessing the video on the link above, please CLICK HERE.
Last week I started pulling out all the tax prep paperwork to give to our CPA. Because we both still work and are self-employed, our tax returns are complicated and far above my abilities as a do-it-yourselfer. But as I began going through all the receipts I was relieved to see that in spite of all our expenses—the fun ones like travel, and the necessary ones like medical—we still managed to save a decent amount of money. In other words, thankfully we once again managed to keep our income above our outgo, or “live below our means.” While I realize that isn’t always possible for everyone depending upon circumstances, I do tend to believe that we each continually make certain choices that can help make it more of a reality than a dream. And yes, when we do that, the freedom and peace of mind it brings can far outweigh the effort.
The other day my husband Thom and I were having lunch with a friend. That’s when Susie (not her real name) asked the question, “How do you cope?” Sure we were talking about a couple of troubling current events, but the question still surprised me. Why? Because I tend to think that most of the ideas I write about here on SMART Living touch on ways to cope and move forward in a positive way. That’s certainly the way I handle stress in my life. But clearly that option wasn’t helping Susie. Then later, I happened to pick up a new book I’d been offered to review and the answer became clearer. What I’ve come to realize is that there isn’t just one right way to cope with stress or trauma. Instead, like with any “rightsized topic,” we each need to find what works best for us and then work to allow it to bring us the comfort we seek.
I know that I mainly write about how beneficial Rightsizing can be from a Baby Boomer perspective. I sure hope that doesn’t turn off Millennials, because I honestly believe that the sooner a person starts rightsizing, the better their life will be from then forward, no matter what their age. So with that in mind, I decided to focus on why I think rightsizing works even more advantageously if you begin when you are younger. And hopefully, it might also remind those of us who waited until we were older, that there is no better time to rightsize than right now! [Read more…]
Last week I explained how a big part of Thom and my ability to travel frequently comes from living a rightsized life. Yet although that’s the starting point, the successful details of our vacations usually boil down to a few simple tips—or hacks as they are often called these days. While these certainly won’t apply to everyone, they do work for us. And because a number of people seem curious, I decided to share them with you. If I can inspire just one of you to explore your options, not to mention save money, then I’ll consider it worth my time. [Read more…]