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.
I can’t tell you how many people I have talked with about rightsizing over the last few years who balk at the idea of moving into a smaller home. Even when recently talking with a close friend I’ll call Carol, she clearly let me know that while shopping for a new home, she “Wasn’t into the rightsizing thing.” The thing is, I believe Carol is and will continue to, live a rightsized life because:
- Carol knows precisely the sort of home she is looking to buy.
- She has specifically narrowed down the location of the communities she wants to live in (and in some cases the exact neighborhood.)
- Carol can easily afford the price range and all costs associated with living that lifestyle.
- She has a complete list of the amenities she wants in a new house. And I know her, she won’t buy anything unless all of these elements are there.
- Carol and her husband are both in alignment with their requirements—it’s not one of them pushing for something that would not be welcome by the other.
- She also knows that every choice we make is a tradeoff and she is ready and willing to make those tradeoffs only if the property of her choice is available.
- Carol is self-aware enough to buy only a home that satisfies her and her husband’s needs and desires, and won’t make any choice based upon what anyone else thinks.
- She, nor her husband, are willing to make the change just to have something happen in their lives right now. If it isn’t “right” they won’t do it.
Of course in Carol’s current situation, living a rightsized life is mostly about real estate. But I think many of the considerations I put under the “rightsized categories” apply exactly to other choices that all of us constantly make in our lives. Choices like:
- Our job or how we spend the majority of our time. Does our occupation or volunteer work match all of the above considerations as closely? Did we study for or take a job because family or other people told us it was a good way to make money? Are we taking any work just for the money or does it match our values, our family needs and our financial obligations? Do we hate our jobs, but feel stuck to satisfy others or even our own ego? Do we hesitate leaving a volunteer job because of what others might think?
- Our relationships. Are we as clear about committing to our relationships in the same way? Are we deciding to live with or marry someone with the same considerations? Are we stuck with someone we don’t really love but can’t leave because of how others might view it? Are we choosing to have children by asking ourselves similar questions to those above? Are we overlooking how some of our friends and/or family don’t match our values or needs, but continue to keep them in our lives just to keep the peace?
- Our finances. Do our finances match our needs, values and tradeoffs, or are they only an afterthought to what is left over after we struggle to pay our bills? Do we consistently strive to live within our means and buy only what we can easily afford? Or do we allow our emotions or marketing companies to trigger us into buying things we really don’t need to numb ourselves or impress others?
- Our time. Do we squander our time in meaningless tasks to please others? Do we numb ourselves with addictions like shopping, drugs, alcohol, or toys just to get through the day? Do we put off things our souls long for while letting others decide how we spend our days?
- Comparing our lives to others. Are we constantly choosing not to make choices or decisions based upon what other people value or think is important? Do we refuse to compare our life to what others are doing or have, or get sucked into keeping up with the Jones’s even when it isn’t what we want or is possible given our circumstances?
Living a rightsized life has been instrumental in creating the type of lifestyle that brings both Thom and I tremendous freedom. But far more than that, it is finding deep peace and satisfaction in living a congruent life with our values, our needs, and our desires. It has never been about what you buy—a big house or a little house. Instead it is a focus on why you consistently make those choices and is it “right” for you.
Sure we have been more fortunate than other people in some ways, but we have also done our share of struggling and it hasn’t always been easy. What changed was a deep dive into thinking about and answering questions about how we wanted to live our life—and then having the courage to make choices and decisions that consistently answer those needs over and over again.
As I written before, rightsizing is not a destination, it is a direction—a journey. I do believe that everyone has the ability to live a rightsized life, but that life will never and could never look like any other person or family’s life. There is never a wrong way to do it—only the way that you personally choose to create the life you want. The SMART thing to remember is that the choice is always yours to make.