So much going on. So little time to process all the new and crazy.
Lots has happened. And we did a lot over the last couple of months. We started school a little time this year (Teacher strike) after a long road trip going to Burning Man and Canada this summer. Unfortunately things didn't improve with husbands work situation and so we pulled the plug and ended the comfortable life line that supported us for the last 12 years. We still hoped it wouldn't have to happen but timing wasn't on our side. If life gives you lemon... so we where challenged to evaluate and act.
We got way too comfortable over the years and less giddy and adventurous while getting our kids through toddlerhood and the first few years. Now we got a lot of sanity back (parenting wise) and other insanity added to our plate. We wanted to reclaim our lives, simplify, reshuffle and prepare for a newly created future.
First, less stuff. More time. Sorted out a lot of kids stuff and random things over the last year but just couldn't do it all. We shopped a lot and I treated my anxiety dealing with motherhood with retail therapy. I overcame this and are a much more aware consumer now, but had to deal with the aftermath. Incredible how many $ go to stuff that is ending in the garage or a pile. Out of sight, out of life. The worst thing is how much energy all the stuff takes away from life. I was constantly cleaning up, putting stuff back, putting stuff away, looking for stuff. No fun.
For a while I played with the idea of having us 4 move in a tiny house to be forced to refocus on our values, reconnect, unplug, sort out, get closer, simplify, getting the pressure of Marco providing for us. We started with a travel trailer to get a feel for that life. Our friends let us kindly park it on their lot on Vashon and we spent quite some time there over the summer. The space felt cramped and didn't work at all as soon as the weather turned bad. Scratch that idea. We would drive us crazy. I also watched a young couple that lived out of a van parking in a different neighborhood each night, feeling like criminals, hoping no one would call the cops on them. That just seemed very exhausting. Also not my idea of fun.
We need a small space where we can open our doors and entertain. We want to have friends over and do BBQs, invite kids friends, play, spend time outside. By downsizing to a smaller place or apartment we also might be able to get some stress off Marco, giving him some options where and what to work on in the future. Over the last year he started rethinking and prioritizing what he would like to do rather than making rich people richer by helping shipping more brown boxes around the globe. We are pretty green, communal, conscious, democratic, more for everyone.
And yes, we reached half time (mid life) and wanted to take time to think about this. Of course, travelling, meeting inspiring people and joining the outlaws at Burning Man also benefited to question the rat race. Luckily, we found a good house coming back from our trip. The house was still affordable enough for us to pay the down payment and have a bit extra for much needed renovations to a 1963 house. By renting out half of the house we would be able to life off way less as before.
We started the process to buy while Marco planned his exit. We closed on the new smaller but larger house in Mid November, moved in the next weekend and immediately started our remodel. Four intense weeks followed with multiple trips to the Home Improvement Store, lots of hard labor, tiling, sanding, assembling, cutting, hanging, moving, cleaning, lifting, more cleaning. Early December we found new renters for our old place. Yeah!
The move made it possible to sort out lots of outgrown items from all of us. It felt freeing to drop off a whole big moving truck full of stuff at Goodwill. We only unpacked the essentials for the first weeks. Life was easier but also complicated. Living out of boxes. The kids had some anxiety over the move. Sleep issues. Our relationship got closer as we worked together and just took the most important - our family.
Mid December we left for the airport after sanding our floors all morning to visit our family and getting a small Euro trip in. This trip asks for a different blog post, so I won't go deep here. Just a couple days into the new year we came home and finished the most needed parts on the house while we lived in the lower apartment of our new house. Mid January I moved our stuff upstairs. The most fun we had with the giant mattress being stuck in the staircase. The kids helped me getting it up but it took us quite a while with power talk, meditation and all kinds of tricks.
February came along and things around the house remodel slowed down, not done yet, but hard to push through, and we finally found some time to come up with a new rhythm for our new defined life. More time, less spending, less stress, more quality.
Optimistic, curious, human bee.