If you only know me from my blog posts you might think I’m a very serious person who thinks way too much. Actually, I am one of the most upbeat, optimistic and happy people I know. While I do enjoy digging deep into subjects that catch my interest, I also love to laugh, dance and have fun as much as possible. Some of the best ways to do that is to listen to uplifting and happy music. With that in mind, I went through my itunes playlist and came up with fifteen songs that I believe make it impossible not to want to smile and offer the potential to lift your spirit this summer. [Read more…]
When I sat down today to make up my to-do list it occurred to me that this was going to be a very busy week. And to make matters worse, I had no one to blame except myself. For much of my life I’ve had trouble saying no to people, especially when it comes in areas I think are important. But as I’ve mentioned before, I recently read Essentialism—The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Not only does the book focus on eliminating everything that is unessential in our lives so we can focus on what really matters, McKeown suggests that learning to say “No” is a critical and courageous step required to do just that. So for those of us on the path to simplifying our lives or those of us who want to live by design rather than default, it is very SMART to learn ways to say No from here on out. [Read more…]
One of my blogging friends named Bethany turned 35 a couple of weeks ago and she wrote a blog post listing 35 different lessons she’s learned during her life. After getting over the shock of realizing I’d been married longer than she’s been on the planet—I realized that with my wedding anniversary happening this week, I had learned a great deal during the last 36 years of marriage. With the hope that some of these might prove useful to others, here’s my list: [Read more…]
I usually stay away from politics here on SMART Living, but for an obvious reason healthcare is on my mind this week. But let me be clear, I don’t think that healthcare is or should be a political issue. Instead, our health and its care are two issues that touch every single human on the planet—including those of us who practice simple living or minimalism. Unfortunately, with all the blogs I follow—everything from minimalism to personal growth to spirituality—no one seems to be talking about this very all-encompassing concern. So, hopefully, by bringing this important subject out into the light we can recognize how vital it is and arrive at more conscious, aware and responsible actions for our future. [Read more…]
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…]
It doesn’t take a genius or a scientist to know that music has the ability to lift our mood and make us feel happier. In fact I’ll bet every single one of us can think of a song that played at a pivotal moment in our lives and be instantly transported back to that time and place the minute it plays. Or I’ll bet you can remember a time when your all-time favorite song spontaneously came over the radio and you burst out in song and/or dance with a smile on your face. But if we all know music can make us happy, why don’t we use music more regularly to experience greater happiness and motivate our actions when necessary? More importantly, are we willing to consider that music might even alter the very chemistry of our bodies and positively influence our overall health. [Read more…]
Back in our twenties, Thom and I wanted to be millionaires. TV shows like Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? fueled the desire to amass our fortune. Then somewhere along the way someone really SMART asked Thom, “Why a millionaire?” and forced him to consider what he meant by that idea. For the first, time Thom began listing experiences and feelings that he hoped to achieve if and when he/we became millionaires. To which his friend said something like, “So it’s really the feelings and experiences you want—not the money itself?” From that moment forward, we began realizing that the labels of being rich, poor or somewhere in-between had little to do with the actual quality or experience of our lives. In fact, the things we thought most important could be realized with far less income than we ever imagined. That’s why through the years we’ve come to believe that “right-sizing” is a much better way to describe the unique and priceless lifestyle that brings you happiness, purpose and peace of mind regardless of your age. Once you have that clear picture of what brings you a happy and quality lifestyle, you can begin to figure out the second step of where money fits into your life. [Read more…]
Last week was my birthday. Or I should say, one of my birthdays. That’s because we all actually have many birth-days or major turning points during our lifetimes if we choose to remember and acknowledge them. Each one of these birthdays marks a significant turning point in our experience here on planet Earth. And even though there are always a large number of major and minor days of significance for each of us, I believe my life contains four extra-ordinary days of beginning. By sharing my special days with you, perhaps it will be easier for you to pinpoint and acknowledge similar events and birth-days in your life that you might want to honor and commemorate.
“He who would travel happily must travel light.” ~Antoine de St. Exupery
After nearly a dozen overseas trips I’ve learned that you really don’t need to take as much stuff as you think you do. In so many ways, that also offers us all a lesson in rightsizing. Of course it is easier for guys because they can get away with a pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts. But even though I’m responsible for toiletries and toothbrushes, I’ve learned that the penalty for lugging around a ton of stuff while trying to enjoy yourself is not worth the benefit of having it “just in case you need it.” And that made me think about all the other things I’ve tried to over-pack throughout the years, and a few things I’ve discovered about eliminating unnecessary clutter.
Last month Thom came across an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) with a headline that said, “Everybody Says You Should Downsize. Everybody May Be Wrong.” We both found that statement to be so incredulous that we had to reread it. And we weren’t alone in our surprise. Most of the other comments online also questioned many of the negative points offered in the article. Clearly the author herself had not downsized and it was also obvious that her focus came from an outdated definition of the concept. Naturally that got me thinking that maybe most of us approach the topic from the wrong direction to begin with. Instead of thinking of it as “down” sizing—maybe we should consider it to be “right”-sizing. And once we get the label right—it is much easier to consider the real benefits that come from living a lifestyle that is right-sized from the beginning. [Read more…]