Friday, September 16, 2011

Oh Simple Thing, Where Have You Gone?

Sitting here in a giant bedroom, with huge eastern windows and hardwood floors, 12 foot ceilings and unique architecture that shows our home's age...I wonder if I'm crazy.  I should have known from the beginning that a life with Justin wouldn't be what some call normal, but then again I have never led a life that was very in line with that concept.  And having come this far without it, it just doesn't feel right to strive for it now. 
Since our marriage began, we have slowly made some pretty big decisions, always mutually after some deliberation.  The first one that stands out to me was our deciding to eat healthier, which in a way probably motivated all these changes in one way or another.  Justin couldn't handle my southern home cooking, so I strove to learn about proper nutrition and we both started eating better.  This eventually led to us deciding to become vegetarian.  I had always wanted to do it and even tried a couple of times on my own, but really needed the extra support of having a partner to do it with I guess.  Next up was to move into a bigger place.  We found a house that we loved about a year ago that had a green house and a gigantic back yard with enough space to grow a garden.  So we did it.  We moved there and had our garden, which mostly died in this summers record temperatures, and we are still living here and love this house.  A few months ago we got a pretty nice tax return back and decided to pay off all of our debt with it, so we did.  Boy, that felt nice.  And next up was our decision to sell our vehicle and become bicycle commuters.  Not everyone, but nearly everyone, thought we were nuts.  We knew we would be fine.  We talked it over, and over, and over and decided it was the right thing to do, so we did it.  With no car maintenance and no debt, that left us a little more free time and mental space to prioritize.  That is when we decided to go back to school.  I'm starting in January and Justin will start sometime within the next year.  And that leads to our most recent decision, which I have already talked about some in a previous blog and that is to move out of our huge, fancy house and into an apartment.  The surprising part of that decision has turned out to be that we have decided to go with a one bedroom.  I was inspired by a visit to a friend's home who had seven guests to dinner in a one bedroom apartment.  He was a single man, of course, but everyone ate and drank and visited comfortably in his house and when I told him how much we were paying for rent he was shocked.  He is from Kenya and he told me of the modest living arrangements there and how his one bedroom apartment seemed lavish to him, with an air conditioner and plumbing and that Americans need too many things.  He's right.  We are a society that are convinced of our own entitlement, while the rest of the world is doing without.  Here I am, a twenty-nine year old returning college student, living in a 107 year old historic home, with antique doorknobs and floors I can see my face in.  Seems a bit much.  So, I put my mind to work after we decided to stop living above our means and move into an apartment and tried to decide whether or not I could sacrifice some of the comfort that I have become use to and make our lives comfortable in a one bedroom apartment.  It would save us lots of money, that we could be storing away in the bank and also probably teach us all some valuable lessons.  I talked it over with Justin, who seemed to jump with joy at the thought of liberating ourselves from excess possessions, and we decided we could make it work.  I plan to give the bedroom to Gwendolyn, and make it just as comfy and cozy as it has always been with all of her favorite books and toys (yard-saling the excess) and this will also allow us to tuck her in at bedtime, shut the door and we can go on doing what we need to do in the rest of the apartment.  I found a really sweet sofa bed by IKEA and we plan to treat our living room as a bedroom when bedtime comes.  How great is that?  Funny how simple and genius it all seems, when really it's just what poor people have been doing forever and why shouldn't we?  We are among the poor.  (I know, $700 isn't the kind of money poor people spend on a pullout sofa, but we are selling most of the rest of our excess furniture to justify it...and if we're actually going to be sleeping on this thing full time it can't be one of those janky ones where the pole stabs you in the back all night long.) 

The apartment that we hope to move into is one block from campus and also one block from Justin's job.  We will be a five minute walk from one of the most beautiful parks in town and two blocks from our grocery store, which makes hauling groceries on a bike a lot more pleasant.  Simplicity=Happiness for us and I am so glad I can finally see that.  It makes things so much easier for us all. 


britney said...

I am proud to have such a brave, crazy friend! Its been a big lesson for me to stop comparing myself to the wrong people. In the grander, more real perspective we are doing JUST FINE. Blessed beyond measure, actually. We totally take for granted the luxury of safe shelter, clean water, warm beds. That list could go on. And anyways, all the things we thing are material "blessings" are really just distractions from the real blessings in life, ya know? Anyways, I'm preaching, haha.

I think you will be very happy in your little home :)

Happy Homemaker said...

Thanks Brit. I'll be even happier if sweet friends like you come to visit us often!

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