The Internet is full of posts, articles and photos of people who are embracing a more minimal lifestyle and promoting the Small House Movement. Just Google if you’re curious. One guy has remodeled a trash dumpster and now calls that home. Others are living in RV like structures with only 200 to 300 sq. feet. Even though some of these homes are adorable and decorated to make the most of small spaces, there is only a minority of us in the U.S. that will ever embrace that lifestyle for any length of time. But that doesn’t mean that the focus on a small (er) home isn’t worth promoting. In fact, my experience has convinced me that it was one of the best moves we ever made. [Read more…]
A musician friend named Rudi Harst wrote a song titled, “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.” It’s both a catchy tune and a great reminder that feelings of regret can hold us back from living a happy and fulfilled life. But I suspect that one reason why the song makes us laugh and wince at the same time is because we all wish on some level that we could do one or two things differently, that we’d made at least one other choice along the line, or that we’ve neglected to do something we wished we had. Still, what I’ve discovered over the last couple of days is that regret isn’t one of those negative emotions like fear, shame or jealousy that has little or no redeeming value. Instead regret can serve as a signpost for pointing out choices and changes that can help us lead a SMART and happier life—365. [Read more…]
Yesterday I read an article about the coming season of Lent. It’s not something I’ve ever observed or celebrated before, but certain aspects of the ritual appeal to me. That got me thinking. Regardless of where a practice comes from, who says we have to be religious to learn and benefit from them? And even if we consider ourselves completely non-religious, we all routinely practice habits and other traditions, every single day. So why not mix the two ideas together into a powerful way to experience greater wellbeing and happiness? With the Lenten Season beginning next Wednesday, let’s consider whether a variation on the tradition can help us to be more mindful and eliminate a couple of bad habits at the same time. Interested? [Read more…]
For the last two years I have volunteered for a local organization called The Ophelia Project where I mentor teenage girls enrolled in high school. While not well known, I first learned of the organization from another volunteer named Sandy who told me how much she loved the experience. She explained that although it was an eight-month long commitment per year, adding up to about 12-15 hours a month, the time spent was some of the most rewarding things she did in her life. Right after that conversation, I got in touch with the director of Ophelia and signed up. [Read more…]
Last week I noticed a very suspicious looking blemish on my cheek, and I started worrying. I was especially nervous because when my mother was my age, she developed skin cancer under her right eye. Then several years ago my sister Ann had an angry looking sore on the back of her leg that wouldn’t heal for months. Even though hers turned out to benign, the experience made for some anxious times. So it didn’t require much imagination on my part to convince myself that my blemish could require a big chunk to be cut out of my cheek, scaring me for a lifetime. Or worse.
Finally, after waking up in the middle of the night with worry on my mind, I called the dermatologist. Although he couldn’t see me for a week, I realized that I could continue to allow fear and worry to control my life for the following seven days, or I could do something else. But isn’t that choice something we all face every day in this thing called life? Fear and worry? Or peace and happiness? We decide. [Read more…]
I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve been around long enough to know that most of the time they might seem like a good idea on January 1—but they seldom have the power to make it through all 365 days of the year. But what I do believe is that you and I have a great deal more influence on what happens in any given year than we give ourselves credit for. And much of the time that influence can be consciously directed to create both a fantastic year, and a fantastic life. If you would like to experience the “best” year of your life, I invite you to consider the following ideas that you can use to do just that! [Read more…]
The end of 2013 marks two and a half years of blogging at SMART Living 365. From a statistical perspective it is an excellent reminder that perseverance is one of the best qualities a writer can bring to her craft. At the end of 2011 I had barely 50 email subscribers and a handful of feed subscribers. Now two years later I want to thank the thousands of readers who have stopped by and made SMART Living a part of their lives.
With that in mind I went through and looked at my top posts during the previous 30 months. With so many new followers I’m assuming many of you may have missed some of them. As usual they reflect some angle of what I consider a SMART Life. And always my goal is to share ideas that will help us all live a more happy, peaceful and meaningful life. Here they are: [Read more…]
Most of us know that one of the best ways to live a SMART, happy and fulfilled life is to practice gratitude on a regular basis. As Mathew Henry said, “Thanksgiving is good, but Thanks Living is better.” Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me it’s far too easy to get stuck in our routines or troubles and let the doing of it slip our mind on a daily basis. That’s why for the second year in a row I am challenging myself to highlight aspects of “Thanksgiving” here on my blog in a way that keeps much of my focus and attention on both the feeling and expression of gratitude every day throughout the month. And hopefully, just like last year, you will be inspired enough to join me and “share the gratitude” in any way that you can. [Read more…]
Having a background in real estate is handy for many reasons. While I’m not actively involved in basic buying and selling these days—I still keep my hand on the pulse of what’s happening by writing about it. And one thing I’ve learned in the process is that location is more critical than is usually considered. Not only should it be near the top when evaluating any move—from a minimalist or simple living perspective I think it deserves closer consideration. That’s why I thought it might be SMART to make a list of the advantages that come from living in the right location—no matter where on earth it is.
If you follow my blog you know that a couple of my recent posts feature the practice that I call right-sizing. What I hope you’ve picked up on is that right-sizing is actually a way of life—at any age—not just those entering retirement. For anyone just joining us, I define right-sizing as creating a life that uniquely fits and satisfies you and your family with the greatest amount of joy and contentment and the least amount of stress or worry. While the lifestyle offers tremendous benefits to those of us in midlife or contemplating retirement, every person who is interested in a more simple, meaningful, and happy life will benefit. The first post “Step One” focused on the consciousness behind a right-sized life, while “Step Two” got down to the nitty-gritty of finances. In this, the final step to right-sizing your life, I want to throw out a few random thoughts that can help to increase your understanding and awareness. Finally, I’m hoping that each and every one of you who reads this post will offer at least one small suggestion you already practice, or think will benefit you, so that we can all learn and grow together as we right-size our lives. [Read more…]