Did you ever play house as a kid? I did. And while once in a while my play house would contain a family with kids, most of the time my play revolved around adventure and the experience of living somewhere new. Then like most of us, I assumed I gave up playing house when I became a teenager. But this last week I realized that in many ways I still play house on a regular basis. In fact, every time Thom and I rent a vacation rental we are “playing house” in a similar way. Taking that a step further, this last week Thom and I bought a Park Model in Tucson and it hit me—this is just another way to play house! What about you? Did you play it as a kid? And are you playing a variation even today? [Read more…]
When Does A Person Arrive At Their Golden Years?
Last week a blogger friend died unexpectedly in her sleep. Rena McDaniel was 55. I didn’t know her well. But I’ve been following her online since I began blogging over 12 years ago. Her first blog posts focused on caregiving her mother with Alzheimer’s. Then when her mother passed on five or so years later, she switched to writing about blogging itself—how to do it, best programs, and even served to help others with repairs. In other words, Rena was someone who spent her life helping others. While I never had need of her services, her presence in my blogging world was always there. And now it’s not. I’m only guessing, but from my perspective I don’t think Rena ever reached her “golden years.” That got me wondering about how many of us ever really do? What does “golden years” even mean? And like so many thoughts I have these days—maybe it is time to stop waiting for some time or some “place” in the future—and instead live life right now. [Read more…]
2022 Best Websites and Blogs for Retirement, Positive Aging & SMART Living!
It’s that time again! For the last five years I have considered it a privilege to scour the internet to find what I consider to be the best blogs and websites I can find. Like SMART Living 365, these are personal blogs and not commercially driven websites to make money. I tend to focus on the topics of positive aging and retirement but I decided to include all my favorites this year. Why not? And while my list certainly doesn’t contain all the sites available on these topics, I think that they are noteworthy and offer thoughtful, creative and provocative insights.
While some are the same from past years, as always, I have added some new ones and trimmed a few old ones that are no longer active. Thank you to each of the authors and creators who put in the time and effort to provide such helpful ideas and information while sharing their lives and experiences with all of us throughout the year. They cost nothing except the time to read. [Read more…]
Is Lagom The Swedish Version of Rightsizing?
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?
Taking A Short Break
Is A Rightsized Life Right For Everyone?
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.
Are You A Stretcher Or A Chaser?
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…]
Why Rightsizing Is More Important Now Than Ever
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.
Soothing Anxiety In Times Of Uncertainty
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.
10 SMART Ways To Live Below Your Means
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.