I didn’t wake up one day thinking “I want to totally change my life today.” It was more like a slow burn. An idea we got while on vacation. It sat in our heads for a while, at least a year, niggling in the back of our heads until we took another vacation and realized that we could live this way. Every day.
Once we said it out loud though, it took off. Before we knew it, we were researching land and purchasing a 5+ acre semi-cleared lot in a quiet rural neighborhood. Six months later, we listed our house in California for sale and started making plans for The Big Move.
Everything revolved around The Big Move. “Don’t buy that beautiful glass bowl, it’ll just get broken on the move!” “No, I can’t buy that pressure cooker, even though it’s a great deal. One more big thing to pack!” And so forth. We went on like life was normal, yet it wasn’t. Major events loomed. Excitement. Adventure.
Moving day finally came. Looking back, I still want to cry. It was so much harder than I thought it’d be, but we got through it. Even leaving an adult child behind, I got through it..though I think I cried more than I ever had before.
Things happened quickly after we made the cross-country trek with our caravan of vehicles and our personal 53′ trailer full of possessions arrived safely the day before we did, as a two-tire blowout on the SUV pulling the RV delayed us a full 24 hours. We stayed with family while we chose a new house and completed escrow. My husband’s job hunt was successful relatively quickly, and the kids settled into their new school settings.
I only wish I could say that we settled into our new roles as easily. My husband was used to being home much earlier on a daily basis; he likes to be an involved dad. I was used to having friends drop by for coffee, or meeting me at a local Starbucks. (Yes, that is a frequently mentioned theme in my blog! You can take the girl out of the city, but….) I was used to having friends, period.
Fast-forward two and a half years later. The house is for sale and we’re patiently waiting for the buyer to come along so we can do the whole thing over again.
Was it a failure? Is changing your life not a good thing? No, not at all..unequivocally, no, it was not a failure. (Would I do it again, had I known? No, equally unequivocally!)
Changing your life, even if it doesn’t turn out like you’d hoped, means you tried. It means you looked at trying something different. For many of us, moving to a country farm carries a romantic appeal. It looks homey and sounds ideal. For many, it works. For some, the things you still don’t have take away from what you do have. If you don’t try though, you never know how it would have turned out. It sounds like the cliche that it is, but it’s nowhere near as simplistic. Sometimes a big change, successful or not, is the kick in the pants you need to see things differently. I know now that my old stomping grounds weren’t ideal; we weren’t living where we wanted to, and if we’d moved to another local CA neighborhood just to get away, we’d have moved without really planning and thinking through where we wanted to go. Chances are, we’d already be moving again, losing yet more money.
We’ve had two and a half years to ponder. Where do we really want to live? What kind of life do we really want? What’s important to us? More often than not, our shift in priorities made those answers all evident. When we learned that family here really didn’t want to be family, we appreciated our own that much more. We learned what we can tolerate, and what we can’t.
Staying stagnant in your life, while wishing you could change, is stressful. Making a major change is stressful, too, but I sure learned a lot more this way. Would I recommend something this big to everyone? No, but I do recommend shaking things up now and then. Small changes. Baby steps. If you’re bored or unhappy, or just not sure what you want, try something new. Maybe it’ll turn into something big, or maybe that one step will be perfect for you. You never know until you try!