• Happiness,  Life

    Why Bad Things Happen

    The other evening I had a moment to chat with a young friend. This person needed to share the burden of some personal problems and wanted to seek my advice. In the course of the conversation it became apparent that my young friend was placing far too much importance on what, in the end, was a rather trivial situation. To…

  • Happiness,  Life

    The Art of Stepping Back From Your Problems

    In 2011 I achieved the dream of being a stay-at-home single mother for my daughter. I had managed to build a successful writing business that supported us for several years. Then Life happened and the Internet changed. I saw my book royalties dropping and couldn’t think of a way to fix it due to the panic I felt since it…

  • Happiness,  Health

    Do Nothing

    In a few short days my life is about to get extremely busy. While I would like to say that I am approaching the busiest I’ve ever been, thanks to the minimalist practice of eliminating the unimportant this would be a lie, so I refuse to mislead you. Regardless of the exact details, the truth is that I have undertaken…

  • Happiness

    A Bit of R&R

    I had the house to myself during my day off yesterday. I woke up early, knocked out my daily tasks, and then curled up with my current book. It was so pleasant to simply exist. I didn’t have to go anywhere. I didn’t have to do anything. I could simply be… …Until the messages and the phone calls started, that…

  • Happiness,  Personal

    I Don’t NEED Anything

    Yesterday. Walking to work. I was crossing the street after checking the free stack at the local library. That was when it hit me: I don’t NEED anything! I really, really don’t. I have a roof over my head that I can easily afford even if Katie moved out tomorrow. I have clothes on my back. A surplus, actually, that I will use…

  • Business,  Happiness,  Success

    Paid Vacation

    Yesterday I received a treat that I’ve not had for many years: My vacation slip. In my years of focusing upon my children, I would stay at home during summer vacations, taking so much time off from jobs that I rarely ever saw one of these. In fact, I do believe I worked through the last paid vacation I earned.…

  • Happiness,  self-improvement

    Breathe

    I had a small panic attack this morning. It happened as I sat down to plan my day. My mind wandered to all of the things I want to accomplish this year when it suddenly became difficult to breathe. Every inch of my body tensed up as I tried to force air into my lungs. I stopped, set my pencil…

  • Finances,  Frugality,  Happiness

    The Diderot Effect

    The Diderot Effect has been used as a lesson against mindless consumerism since the minimalist movement began. The moral of the lesson is always the same: buying something nice will lead to us buying other nice things until we’re broke and miserable. I was right on board with that thought from the beginning. Why should we strive to buy better…

  • Happiness

    Grumpy Gus

    “Watch out,” my trainer whispered into my ear during my first day on the job. “The guy who just got in line is really mean. He’s made cashiers cry before.” I glanced up to see an older man with graying hair and a decidedly sour disposition, tapping his foot impatiently as he waited his turn. He loudly remarked that if…

  • Decluttering,  Happiness,  Minimalism

    Minimizing Relationship Stress

    It’s painful to watch friends self-destruct, to watch them slide down the slippery slope of insanity. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You’re unable to turn away. You reach out your hand, only to have it slapped away time and again. Either they realize they are slipping and don’t care, or they’re enjoying the ride. Regardless, you…

  • Happiness,  Uncategorized

    Notes to your Future Self

    Katie and I started a little tradition when we defrosted our refrigerator for the first time several years ago. We didn’t know how long it had been since we had defrosted it so sensing an opportunity we each wrote little notes to our future selves (Katie even left herself a gift) and stuck them in the back of the freezer…

  • Happiness,  Simplicity

    The Magic of Decision

    I’ve lived in this little house for close to seven years. In that time I’ve never gotten around to making the little touches that turn a house into a home. I didn’t see the point since I didn’t know how long I was going to live here. Was I going to upgrade to another house, move into an RV, or…

  • Happiness

    A Word on Coping

    There was a study done about drug addiction a few years back. Scientists took two rats. One was placed in a basic cage with no mental stimulation, while the other was placed in “rat heaven,” a cage filled with mazes and other things that the rat could use to keep occupied. Each rat had two water bottles. One bottle contained…

  • Happiness,  Success

    Fighting the Good Fight

    Life, no matter how you arrange it, is far from perfect. We all have things that we need to deal with. In my personal journey, I am dealing with a brain disease as a result of an injury I suffered some time ago. I have a choice: I can sit on my ass, whining and crying, or I can plow…

  • Happiness

    Gratitude List

    One thing that has really helped during my current challenges is keeping a gratitude list. Sometimes it is a mental list, other times it is a written list, and frequently it is a combination of the two. Here are a few things I am thankful for: We have a roof over our head with electric, water, and Internet. I have…