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…]
I am very pleased to announce that my latest book is now published and available in either print or as an ebook on Amazon. Titled Rightsizing * A SMART Living Guide to Reinventing Retirement, this book is the second in what I hope will continue to be a series. What is Rightsizing? Simply put, rightsizing is the conscious choice to create a life and a lifestyle that more sustainably aligns with your unique Self in the best possible way at every stage. This small volume compiles the best of what I’ve written on the subject here on SMART Living 365 along with some bonus ideas that presents them in a way I think most readers will appreciate. The good thing about rightsizing your life is that it doesn’t matter what your age or situation. Although many reach retirement before finally making it happen, rightsizing can benefit everyone and leads to more happiness, fulfillment and peace of mind than ever before regardless of circumstances. Of course, just like most things that are desirable, it comes at a price. Here is a list of the most common obstacles that keep many of us from choosing a rightsized life. [Read more…]
Is your happiness sustainable? I’m not talking about that rush of pleasure we get when things turn out the way we hope and expect. I’m also not taking about the giddy experience we get laughing with friends or the thrill of accomplishment that overtakes us when we get what we want. To me sustainable happiness is the sense of good and wellbeing that comes in the middle of the night when you are alone with your thoughts. It’s a deep and sustaining sense that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, where you are supposed to be doing it, at exactly the right time in your life. And the good thing about finding it is that regardless of what is happening in our lives or circumstances, we can still count on it comforting us when the going gets tough. [Read more…]
Chances are good that you’ve heard that California is in the midst of a severe four-year drought. If you don’t live here you might not think that has anything to do with you. But if you live in the U.S., there is a good chance you’ve eaten some of the food grown here—or at least used to be grown here. And if you live elsewhere around the planet you likely know that fresh drinkable water is becoming more precious everywhere humans live. But rather than scare ourselves to death about the dwindling supply, I instead want to remind myself of this precious resource that deserves our protection and appreciation. When we love something, when we value something, it is always easier to do whatever it takes to insure its continuation. So this week’s post is my tribute to water. [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…]
I keenly remember my mom working a garden in several of the homes she lived in later in her life. One was little more than rock and gravel patch of dirt, yet she managed to harvest a few tomatoes and zucchini in spite of the inhospitable ground. And while I always enjoyed the taste if she had any extras, my life was far too important and fast paced to even imagine having the time or interest. Now here I am so many years later, spending time nearly every day nurturing tiny green plants in my care. Though it’s taken a while, I’ve gradually come to realize that many of the hidden benefits my mother harvested from her garden went far beyond the obvious. In fact, after reading up on the benefits of gardening I’ve come to realize that this simple action might be a cure for what ails many people, as well as the planet herself. [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…]
This photo was taken at Pebble Beach on the Northern California coast. The quote comes from a SMART Living 365 Facebook fan who came up with it when we asked for suggestions. Thanks Eema!
Click on photo to enlarge. For more photos go to: SMART Photos by Thom
Hi, I’m Thom, Kathy’s partner in life,
Starting today, and in the weeks to come, I will be sharing some of my photography with you on SMART Living 365 and a linked Tumblr account.
Inspiring words and photos have always uplifted my soul…and what I plan to share are my attempts to mix my photography with words in ways that will shift your mindset and help to create a more happy, peaceful and meaningful life—365! We’re calling this series “SMART Photos by Thom” and you can see all my pictures at any time by going to the link under the photo. Oh, and please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments under each post. Thanks!
Click on photo to enlarge. For more photos go to: SMART Photos by Thom
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…]