A good friend named Mark recently bought a new truck. To call it a pickup is grossly inadequate. Mark arrived one day in this shiny enormous vehicle with four doors, cushy soft leather seats, a fully digital dashboard with onboard space-like technology, a moonroof that spanned the entire length of both the front and back seats, and automatic retractable step-bars that lower and raise as you open the doors. I’ll admit I was a bit envious as I looked at my aging twelve-year-old Nissan Murano sitting next to it. But after hearing the “great deal” Mark got by paying only $50,000 for a $65,000 priced truck, all envy evaporated. My Murano is free and clear, still looks decent, and reliably gets me everywhere I want to go. Meanwhile, our family savings sits safely secure in investments that generate automatic cash flow. Instead of envy, I now have pride—pride in the benefits of a frugal and rightsized life. [Read more…]
Thom and I are off enjoying some “rightsized travel” so I invited another blogger friend who is living a rightsized life to share her ideas. Terri Webster Schrandt lives in Sacramento, CA and like all rightsizers, offers a unique perspective on what the lifestyle looks like in a person’s life. Thanks Terri for sharing another version of rightsizing with all of us!
Kathy and I originally met in person at the BAM (Bloggers At Midlife) 2016 conference in Las Vegas. We found each other to be kindred spirits as well as neighbors living in California!
After reading Kathy’s book Rightsizing: A SMART Living 365 Guide To Reinventing Retirement I easily identified the ways I have also rightsized my life. A big key for my semi-retirement was being able to retire from my day job of 32 years at the relatively young age of 55. After paying into the CalPERS (public employees retirement system) for years, I now receive 65% of my income as a pension. [Read more…]
Every summer my husband Thom and I rent a house up in the mountains about an hour from our home. We do it mainly to get out of the summer heat of our desert environment. But behind the more obvious reason is that it connects us to feelings of beauty and nature that we can’t get sitting at home in front of the computer in our air-conditioned house. So, when I happened upon an article that offered an even better reason why our yearly sojourns have become so important, I wasn’t surprised. It turns out that being in nature, and finding and experiencing an ongoing sense of awe and wonder, is critical to our feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Oh, and besides that, it also makes us nicer people to be around. [Read more…]
The young couple who live across the street from me are selling their home. I’ll be sad to see them go because they’ve become friends and we’ve watched their son Timmy grow from a toddler to a boy. Where are they going? They’ve decided it’s time for a bigger house in a more affluent neighborhood. Of course, it’s hard to sit in judgment after doing something similar years ago. Still, I hope they never find themselves so pressed for time that they forget what gives life meaning, and instead becoming slaves to a big mortgage and extravagant home expenses. In other words, I hope they never find themselves house-broke and unable to do anything about it. [Read more…]
A friend of mine is currently in the midst of selling her long-time family home and moving. Yet while I believe she “gets” the many benefits of rightsizing, I can tell after talking with her that several issues keep popping up that make her hesitant. That’s completely normal, because in many ways, rightsizing is contrary to what most of us have been taught. The good news is that once you know what to keep in mind, rightsizing not only becomes the easiest choice, it is also the one that leads to the greatest benefits.
What do we need to remember when it’s time to make a move? [Read more…]
Just about every day I read a post on Facebook or one of the many blogs I follow about getting older. And while many of them poke fun at the experience, most of the time the posts subtly (or not so subtly!) talk about the drawbacks to aging. But, when you think about it, every single day each of us is getting older—and thankfully so! Consider the alternative. So instead of thinking of life as a gradual decline, maybe it is time to start thinking of how life gets better as we go along—and that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. And even though I’m not facing a significant birthday for several months, I decided a good way to prepare was to start focusing on the benefits long before the day arrives. [Read more…]
Last week my post talked about three challenges that I think stand in the way of many of us living gratefully each and every day. What occurred to me from some of the comments and other conversations I’ve had during the week is that there are a number of people who aren’t convinced that we should live either gratefully or happy every single day anyway. What’s interesting to me after all the research I’ve done over the years about creating happiness, is how closely the reasoning to avoid gratitude on a daily basis appears the same. That led me to explore some of the more common myths that exist for happiness—and observe at how those same myths apply to living thankfully 365. [Read more…]
My husband Thom is much more of a Taoist than I am. In case it’s new to you, Taoism (pronounced Dow-ism) is an ancient Chinese teaching originally developed from a book written over 2,500 years ago by a man named Lao Tzu. Often referred to as “The Way,” Taoism emphasizes a harmonious relationship between nature, humanity and the divine. Put another way, Taoism is a path to simple, SMART and sustainable living. This year Thom decided to make the book The Tao of Pooh part of his summer reading. After quickly absorbing the content, he urged me to read it as well. I was surprised to discover that The Tao of Pooh offered both an entertaining and unique perspective on Taoism, as well as a number of simple living lessons that I thought any minimalist might appreciate.
“Living simply is not about living in poverty or self-inflicted deprivation. It’s about living an examined life where one has determined what is truly important and enough…and then just let go of all the rest.” ~Duane Elgin
While I don’t consider myself an expert or authority on minimalism or simple living, I do recognize the value of focusing on aspects of the practice. That’s right, I consider minimalism or simple living to be practices that lead to a more happy, balanced, and meaningful life. But because there are so many rewarding aspects to the practice, and so many juicy benefits to share—I’ve decided that a focus on each one as an individual “tip” would be helpful for myself—and perhaps you as well. So to start with, I wanted to come up with best benefit of them all. And I couldn’t do it! The truth is that since I started practicing a more simple approach to life—the benefits keep showing up. That’s when I decided that the primary SMART Minimalist tip is to let you know that simple living offers more benefits than you can imagine—and the only way to start experiencing them all is to just begin discovering them for yourself. [Read more…]
Last week, after publishing my article on Rightsizing vs. Downsizing, a discussion came up while talking with friends at Happy Hour. I could tell that even though everyone agreed that going debt free was a wonderful element of rightsizing and simple living, most felt it was out of reach for the average family. That was a great reminder that rightsizing isn’t just about the size of your house, your car, or your credit limit—instead, rightsizing touches every area of your life including (and maybe especially) your finances. In fact, once a person learns to manage their money—both expenses and income—rightsizing the other areas of life will come more easily. Down the line, a person can eventually achieve the ultimate goal of rightsizing, which is to live a life that uniquely fits and brings the greatest amount of peace, contentment and joy to that individual and family. [Read more…]