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…]
As some of you know, my husband Thom and I took a road trip in July. As usual, we were seeking a way to avoid the summer heat in the desert that we call home. As planned, we figured that a road trip to the Pacific Northwest just might be a great solution for part of that time. It was. Not only was the weather spectacular, we also met with family in Seattle, old friends in Kelowna, B.C., as well as a planned meetup with some of my friends who blog. With a little forethought and design we had a wonderful vacation. However, once we returned people continually questioned how it was possible to spend several months both traveling and renting out-of-town houses for over three months, while most people are stuck at home. And remember, we aren’t retired either. Our go-to answer is always, “Because we rightsized our life.” [Read more…]
Do you listen to podcasts? Last month I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kim Acedo on her podcast Me Time Midlife Podcast. I enjoyed our “chat” so much and the opportunity to talk about rightsizing that I decided that this week while traveling I would share the episode with all of you.
I don’t know about you, but it took me a while to get into podcasts. Most of them do take a bit more time to listen to—but they are also very portable when on the move. [Read more…]
Are you a victim of “lifestyle creep?” No matter how good a rightsizer you are, and I tend to think I’m usually pretty good at it, chances are you occasionally find yourself slipping into the creep now and then. I know I do. That’s because in our culture, nearly all of us are continually lulled into slowly but surely living just a little more comfortably, a little more extravagantly, a little more indulgently than in the days, weeks and months before. How does that work?
Slowly over time, any spending that starts out as a splurge—like a $4.50 latte at Starbucks to treat ourselves, a pricey bottle of wine to celebrate, or going out to dinner on a special occasion—can gradually become an almost daily necessity if we make them routine. Those acts are often triggered when we start making a good salary or get a raise. After all, we have the extra money, right? And as that “creep” of spending just a little more than yesterday becomes a new norm, we often find ourselves needing more and more such “rewards” to keep us happy and satisfied. If we aren’t careful, we can reach retirement with nothing to show for it. Fortunately, I believe a good cure for the dreaded lifestyle creep is to stay as mindful and focused on rightsizing as possible.