Wednesday, March 7, 2018

My Quest to Live Simply

Since moving to our bigger home last December, I feel like I have lost a part of my identity.  When we lived in our little farm house it felt so perfect - so me.  True, there were things I hated, like the low water pressure, and how the water would get dirty every time we had a heavy rain, or the old beat up floors, or how an occasional mouse would find it's way in. But in spite of that, I loved it.  It was quiet with a beautiful view of the mountains; I had a garden and chickens, and over the year had made both the inside and outside my own.

The shabby little farmhouse and acreage were my simple life.  We had downsized by half to move there, both in space and in possessions. Because it was a rental and in the country there was no need to "keep up with the Jones's". I was able to grow some of our food and hang my wash on the line. I felt like the best version of myself there. If we ever talked about moving it was to downsize even more....we certainly never talked about doubling the size of our house and yard work!

But life changed. Within a matter of a week we became a multi-generational family squeezed into a 1250 sq foot house. Remington didn't even have closet space anymore. There was no separate spaces to decompress other than our small bedrooms. I know this is certainly a first world problem and in many parts of the world multi-generational families live in much, much less. But it was hard for us.

In the midst of this I was still dealing with the reality of my fibro diagnosis and it resulted in anxiety and depression. I was NOT in the right frame of mind to be making another life altering decision.  But sure enough, that is what we did.

Had we to do it over again, we would not have bought this house. We have lived here two months now and from day one we could see it wasn't the best decision. However, even though we should have thought through it a bit more - it's done.  Most likely, financially it was a fine decision.  We can put a little money and elbow grease into the house and make a good return in a few years.

For me, the hard part all comes back to losing a part of my identity by moving here. With a larger house comes the idea that we need to fill all the rooms with all the things, or, the idea that we need to do this, that, and the other so it looks like every other nice house in our neighborhood.

But this is simply not true.  We don't need to do any of that. We have a sparsely furnished room with the bookcases and one chair. I thought I needed to buy a few more chairs making it into a library...even though we have a sofa and recliner in the family room where we can read. Our guest room is totally empty, and while we DO need to get a bed for the room, it isn't a priority since we have no scheduled guests at this time. Truly, we have everything we need to live a comfortable life - way more than we need, actually.

I can still be the best version of myself here....even in a house in which the very size speaks against my ambitions to live a simpler, downsized life.  I can continue my quest to live simply. I can keep a sharp eye on the finances and only buy things that add value to our lives - not something I feel like I need to buy to fill the space or keep up with other people's ideals. I can cook more often with fresh, local ingredients. I can declutter so that when we move again someday we only have what we love and use. I can continue to make time for the things that add value to my life.  A walk with Mocha, a date with Chad, playing with Phoebe, expanding my knowledge with reading, or writing to encourage myself and others.

Even more, I can appreciate those things that I didn't have before.  The wonderful water pressure, the flowing clean water, and floors that are easy to keep clean and aesthetically pleasing to look at. I can enjoy having our own space to unwind without being on top of each other.  I can sit in my peaceful backyard and enjoy the trees, birds, and wildlife that live nearby, and listen to the water flowing in the creek next to our house.

I can continue my quest to live simply. When the time comes in a few years we will downsize again, hopefully having learned a few things along the way about contentment and living our best life wherever we are planted.

My encouragement to you, friend, is to also find contentment wherever you are.  Even if your entire life doesn't line up to your ideals, keep striving towards the things that are in your control. Practice gratitude, not only for the positive changes you make, but even the negative things that may just be a teaching tool for future growth. Happiness and contentment do not come from where you live or the things you have, but from how you live your life.

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