All posts by Ms. Susty Themes

Did I Do Meaningful Work This Week?

Do Meaningful Work - whatever that means for YOU!
Do Meaningful Work – whatever that means for YOU! (Photo credit to Pixabay)

I always say my “mission” these days is to do meaningful work in retirement.  I don’t necessarily mean paid work – in fact I haven’t chosen to work for pay since my Encore Fellowship ended about 10 months ago.

I figure writing this down and making it public will help to keep me accountable, and also appreciate when I have actually accomplished more than it might feel like I have.

Do Meaningful Work
To me this simply means, spending time and energy on things that contribute to my personal priorities.

  1. helping family members who are getting less independent
  2. working out regularly,  and hiking with friends
  3. managing our financial decisions
  4. engaging in local climate & sustainability projects
  5. blogging and tweeting about books/finance/sustainability
  6. maintaining & building relationships
  7. working on little projects for my family members

So let’s see – How did I do this week?

Continue reading Did I Do Meaningful Work This Week?


Woo-hoo! I earned my first blog dollar today

A FUN day for Sustainable Themes!
A FUN day for Sustainable Themes! (Photo credit to Pixabay)

For a novice blogger, it’s a big day! 

I had my very first earnings today through my Amazon Affiliate link, and it’s oddly exhilarating! 🙂

Those of you with established blogs will laugh, I’m sure, at my first $2.34….. but maybe you remember the feeling?

Money wasn’t the reason for blogging, and I’m still discovering what I want to write about that will add value, but this is a FUN moment I thought I’d share.

It’s so nice to know someone was here ~THANKS ~ you’ve energized me!! And thank you to all the #PF #EarlyRetirement #FI bloggers out there who have already taught me so much!

Ms. Susty Themes

Do you remember this moment in your blogging life? 


Keeping my Universal Life Insurance, for now

A bird in the hand...
A bird in the hand…( Bollenbacher)

Now that I’ve left my “full pull” job ~ that’s what I call a full-time career ~ I shouldn’t need Life Insurance anymore, right?  Right.
Mr. SustyThemes and I don’t even have any kids, so it should be obvious. No dependents to support, both retired, so no further need for life insurance.
But…here’s my thinking.

(Note: I’m no insurance expert! But maybe sharing my thinking will trigger some ideas, or useful feedback.)

A long time ago, in what seems like another lifetime, I bought (or more accurately, was “sold”) a Universal Life insurance policy. I haven’t paid any (flexible) premiums since 2002 when I had other expenses and realized this wasn’t a good “investment” vehicle as policy interest rates continued to be reduced each year. It’s been out of sight, out of mind. I left my career almost 4 years ago, but have been busy enjoying life and doing some part-time work projects, so didn’t get around to reevaluating my insurance situation until this year. That’s the life of a joyfully semi-retired person ~ if I do one thing a day I’m satisfied 😉 But I digress….

Continue reading Keeping my Universal Life Insurance, for now


8 (Great) Recent Reads Revealed


This post is the first in a planned series called Recent Reads Revealed, where I’ll share my reading list ~ I’m curious about yours too!

Are you ever curious what other people are reading?  I am ~ especially when I know we have some similar interests!

I Love To Read and research things. So, now and then, I plan to post my Recent Reads in the hope it could be of value for others. I’d love to get a reading list conversation going within the community, so I welcome your comments!

Some of these books may eventually be reviewed in a separate Book Review post, especially if they’re related to the main Sustainable Themes topics of personal finance, environment, or healthy living. Continue reading 8 (Great) Recent Reads Revealed


There is a common theme


Welcome to Sustainable Themes!

Lately, it has become clear to me that there are some common themes running through my life ~ a common thread related to ‘sustainability’.  Maybe it’s true for you too.

I like to keep up with the news and progress related to renewable energy and other ways we could be taking better care of things environmentally.

I also realize that my interest in financial independence and planning is essentially another angle on the same topic, focused on personal sustainability.  It’s about identifying priorities, and then making life choices that align with that plan.  I think of this as building a ‘resilient’ financial life that offers a form of freedom and balance.

And I value the benefits of a healthy life of physical activity, as well as a community of friends and family that form the foundation of a happy and healthy life.

As a part of nearly every day, I’m seeking and gathering information on these topics.

So, I’ve started this site to share some of what I’m learning, and hopefully inspire more people toward what I call “common sense sustainability”.  I hope it offers some ‘food for thought’ for others on a similar path.


Sharing the “Simple Path” : Book Review


The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life  ♦♦♦♦♦
 J L Collins
 pages, Published June 2016

This past week I’ve had a few Simple Path to Wealth book picopportunities to ponder the importance of talking about money and finances with friends and family. All of us have so much to learn, and so much knowledge to share (successes and mistakes), that it’s a shame that most of us don’t talk about money and are left to re-invent the wheel as we roll down our path to financial security.

Continue reading Sharing the “Simple Path” : Book Review


“Work Less, Live More” was inspiration to FIRE

Clarity of Mind...
Clarity of Mind…

I didn’t really plan to “retire” before 55.
Here’s how I came to realize it was possible!

In my early 40’s, as many people do, I got restless about my career. I felt the need for more “meaningful work”. I was excited to find a graduate program that spoke to me, and I made the decision to work full-time and work on my Sustainable Management degree part-time…good start to my transition!

In the midst of this crazy time, on a vacation in the mountains, I found myself drawn to a book called Work Less, Live More: The Way to Semi-Retirement. I read it cover-to-cover a couple times on that trip, and my mental wheels started turning (aided greatly by the clarity of mind that hits me when I’m surrounded by the natural beauty of an alpine lake and snow-capped mountains).

Five years later, I had an education in a new field that was meaningful to me, and 2 years after that I took what felt like a big leap of faith and left my high-tech corporate career.

Continue reading “Work Less, Live More” was inspiration to FIRE


Book Review: Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change The World


Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change The World    ♦♦♦♦
by Bill Nye
352 pages, Published November 2015

Here’s a book that could be interesting to quite a broad audieUnstoppable book picnce.

The dedication sets the tone: “To the Next Great Generation. Embrace science. Solve problems. Make things. Change the world.”

I learned quite a bit of science and technology that I believe increases my ability to understand more about climate change, and options and alternatives being debated. It’s a bit like a textbook – that’s got its pros and cons. If you skim/skip sections that are a slog for you personally, you won’t miss the overall message.

The book conveys a positive ‘can do’ attitude; about technologies that are vital to pursue to change the way we manage energy and water, and the importance of laws and policies that will guide us to do more with the resources we have.

The title isn’t referring to that climate change is Unstoppable, although a certain amount of warming and disruption is definitely baked in, rather that our species is unstoppable when we decide to rise to the challenges we face.

To be the Next Great Generation, we all need to step up, through our personal efforts, innovations we create, the policies we support, and the people we vote for.


Book Review: What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other


What We’re Fighting For Now is Each Other    ♦♦♦♦♦
by Wen Stephenson
256 pages, Published October 6th 2015

So maybe you don’t really consider yourself an ‘activist’, but you understand and are concerned about climate change and its likely consequences, and struggle with what you could or should do to engabook pic - wen stephensenge?  If this strikes a chord with you, this book could be a thought-provoking read for you. It was for me.

This book is going to stick with me.

It’s not a climate science book ~ this book is something different.
Continue reading Book Review: What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other