“The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” ~ George Vaillant
Those of us into simple living or minimalism knows that identifying and eliminating any thing superficial and nonessential in life is critical. In fact, the television show “Hoarders” illustrates weekly the extreme burden that too much stuff can bring to a person’s life. But I’ve just come to realize that there is something that actually should be hoarded—and that “thing” is a friend. Actually, an abundance of research now shows that finding, keeping and appreciating friends is good for our physical and mental health, good for our occupations, good for our creativity, will add years to our life, and enrich our experience in every way possible. If we are willing to accept that as true, then understanding the science of friendship is one of the most important actions each of us can take to create a life of happiness, meaning and purpose during our time here on earth. Continue reading
Got Bills? Maybe it’s time to rightsize your finances!
Last week, after publishing my article on Rightsizing vs. Downsizing, a discussion came up while talking with friends at Happy Hour. I could tell from the direction of the conversation 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. Continue reading
Can you guess which one gets 12 MPG and which gets 40+ MPG? It’s all about rightsizing!
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. 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. Continue reading
With all the talk of minimalism and simple living on the Internet these days I am still constantly surprised to see how many interpretations there are. I’m also seeing lots of confusion. I think that’s because most people are attracted to certain people who are writing about the subjects without concern about what either of those labels really mean. And while I’ve stated numerous times that I don’t believe myself to be an “expert,” I do feel the topic is not only valuable—but deserves explanation and exploration. For if SMART Living 365 is a way to fill our lives with meaning, purpose and happiness, then knowing about ideas that help that manifest is important to the journey. Continue reading
If you’re anything like me you might not have thought much about inequality over the last week/month/year. If you are white, upper middle class, have no debt, a good family income and are healthy—it doesn’t cross our mind much. Unfortunately, if you don’t fit in any of those categories, there is a good chance that you experience inequality in dozens of ways on a regular basis. Even worse, you might not even be aware of how your opportunities for a better future for yourself and your family are slowly being eroded. But because SMART Living 365 is about waking up and living consciously, responsibly and sustainably in everything we do—and then making choices and decisions that lead to greater happiness and wellbeing—learning about the growing inequality in our country is essential. Continue reading
Our Wedding Photo 10.9.1977
This last Tuesday was Thom and my 35th Wedding Anniversary. I’m delighted to say that not only is our marriage getting better every single year, the experience has been more than I ever imagined. And believe me, both of us had pretty high expectations. In fact, before Thom would even agree to marry (yes, I asked him), we both vowed that we would end the relationship if it dissolved and we became miserable. Where did we get such an idea? It surfaced because neither one of us could remember a couple ever telling us how much better a marriage could be over the long haul. That’s why I’m here to confirm that not only can it grow, deepen and transcend—if you are with the right partner, are reasonably lucky, and follow certain guidelines, a good and healthy relationship is one of the very best things you can do to live a happy and SMART life 365.