As I mentioned last week, I confess to watching a certain amount of television in my ofttimes. While I tend to avoid reality programing, I do admit that every now and then I flip on HGTV. A few of the shows I’ve seen in the past are, House Hunters, Love It Or List It, and The Property Brothers. Yet even though I realize that these shows are meant as entertainment, I still find my husband Thom and I asking ourselves: “What are those buyers thinking?” Or even worse, “Who can afford that kind of house—and why would they want to?” If you have ever watched one of these shows and reacted like us, you might also wonder if the messages being portrayed are actual “reality” and whether the shows should come with a disclaimer attached. With that in mind, I came up with five SMART disclaimers that I think every program on HGTV should include. [Read more…]
As every writer knows, words matter. But what about the words that come out of our mouths or the words we hear in our heads when someone is talking? Perhaps one of the greatest things we can learn, and teach one another, is how to speak and listen with empathy, kindness and connection. Sound simple? It’s not. In fact, after reading Say What You Mean—A Mindful Approach To Nonviolent Communication by Oren Jay Sofer, I am convinced that I have much to learn and years to practice. Ultimately it’s SMART to remember that communication, especially the mindful nonviolent kind, is far more than figuring out the right words to say in any given moment. Thankfully there are books like this that offer perspectives and tools to increase our awareness, fulfill our mutual needs, and build relationship.
Some of you might not know that I have been a licensed real estate broker for the last 35 years. While I did sell a number of homes in my time, I am a far better researcher than a salesperson. That’s why I first began writing about real estate, and then eventually created my own writing business from there. And although I have written volumes about that topic over the years, I gradually transitioned into writing about other subjects I enjoy even more. Still, real estate has been very good to my family, many of our friends, and where we hold our primary retirement funds. So it always surprises me when I read so little about the advantages of real estate investment as a great strategy for retirement. Why? Maybe there aren’t enough of us pointing out how real estate investing can be a golden goose for your retirement over stocks and other investments.
In case you haven’t noticed from my writing, I love to travel. Fortunately, Thom does too, and we intend to do as much of it as possible while we are physically able. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy. When we were young our work and our finances often took priority. Then we rightsized our lives and most of that changed for the better. But one thing that has always been a concern is what to do with our pets. Kloe, like each of our former dogs, is a big part of our family and adds an incredible amount of good to our lives. But managing her needs with our travel needs can be tricky. Fortunately, we have discovered a great solution. After three very successful experiences, I’m finally ready to recommend this service to everyone who faces a similar challenge with wanting to travel while cherishing a pet. Not only does it cost a fraction of traditional care, I think it provides Kloe with the best attention possible. [Read more…]
Happy New Year! This is my final week away and I’m happy to introduce you to Pat as my guest blogger. Pat is another blogger who writes about and explores many SMART Living ideas that we can all use to create a happier and more meaningful life. She also has a lot of wisdom for those of us entering the “third act” of our lives and readily shares it on her blog Retirement Transition. Thank you, Pat, for filling in for me and for explaining how we can create happiness by design and then put that design into action.
As we enter this New Year, I ask myself, how can I better live my values?
I’ve often said that our life will happen, either by design or by default, and it’s our own responsibility to make it what we want it to be. Personally, I want to design my life at this stage. So I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want this stage of life to look like.
But there is design, the plans and intent–and then the real action, or what you actually do. Sometimes intention does not turn into behavior. At this time of year, that can become very apparent with New Year’s resolutions!
So it’s not just about designing your life, it’s about activating it as well. [Read more…]
This week I’m happy to introduce you to Michele Vosberg as my guest blogger while Thom and I are traveling. Michele is one of the most recent bloggers I began following in 2018, but when I began reading her posts I knew without a doubt that she fits into the SMART Living lifestyle. With a strong intention to help people become all they are meant to be, her blog Life Redesign101 is sure to help any of us who appreciate self-awareness and personal growth. Thank you, Michele, for filling in for me and sharing some of your ideas about rethinking (and rightsizing!) our goal setting for the future.
This is the time of year that many of us are focused on goal setting for the new year. At this stage of life, we are likely accomplished goal setters. We have successfully navigated the demands of the working world. We’ve also successfully juggled the responsibilities of caring for homes, children, pets and even parents.
We have manipulated our Day Planners and multi-tasked our way through many projects and life challenges. We don’t need another lesson on S.M.A.R.T. goals (not to be confused with SMART Living!) We don’t need a bigger planner with more hours in the day. We want to get off the hamster wheel, live in the moment and enjoy our lives without checking off our accomplishments on an endless to-do list. [Read more…]
Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a store and be handed an instruction manual for living a happy and healthy life? A man named James Doty was offered exactly that back when he was twelve years old. This last week while I was researching another topic, I stumbled upon a podcast by James Doty and immediately knew that his story had the potential to change lives. Of course, even when we have a map right in front of us, that doesn’t mean that we always take the right turns at the right time or the path is without peril. Still, Doty’s story offers us all a glimpse of things we can each do to create the life we feel called to live. [Read more…]
As many of you know, I’ve been writing about rightsizing for several years now. The concept of rightsizing constantly helps me to focus on designing a meaningful life journey—not a particular destination I’ll ever fully experience. So when I recently came across an article about how values offer a similar perspective, it caught my interest. I’ve since learned that values, like rightsizing, are a direction. Sort of like getting in the car and heading north. You might be more north than you were yesterday, but you’ll never arrive. Once we discover how to live our values or how to rightsize our life, we are better able to appreciate the road we are traveling, regardless of whether we hit a few road bumps or we ever even reach a final destination. [Read more…]
A favorite parable of mine is the story of a poor farmer who owned a horse. One day the horse broke free and galloped away. All of his neighbors witnessed the calamity and rushed to his side to sympathize with him for this misfortune. He simply responded with a shrug and said, “Maybe yes. Maybe no.” That story illustrates just one of the valuable points made in the book The Geometry of Wealth – How to shape a life of money and meaning by author and investment educator Brian Portnoy, Ph.D. While most of us are familiar with the assertion that beyond a base level, money doesn’t make a person happier, Portnoy offers a more thorough perspective. At the same time, he reminds us that there are usually at least two sides to every situation. And it appears that money may be exactly the same. [Read more…]
Years ago, Thom and I went to a seminar to hear “relationship guru” Barbara De Angelis give a lecture. How did we know she was a relationship guru? She had written a book, was doing the lecture circuit and told everyone right up front that she was an expert because she had gone through so many breakups and knew what didn’t work. Sorry? Even at the time Thom and I both knew that we didn’t want to take marriage advice from someone who wasn’t living the ideal experience. De Angelis may have discovered what doesn’t work, but she was only guessing at what did. This week, after celebrating 41 years of marriage with a man I love and appreciate more each and every year, I’ve put down a few thoughts that might be helpful to others. And it never ever hurts to remind ourselves what we are grateful for in our lives. [Read more…]