We are getting ready to leave in less than a month.
In less than a month, we will be leaving our home for two months. This will be the longest amount of time that we will be away from this house. When we spoke with the house sitter today about our plans and our expectations, he said, “That’s pretty cool how you guys designed your life.”
While I intellectually know that all the choices we have made led us here, I sometimes forget how difficult they were to make in the first place and how it is still difficult to justify the choices we make to the outside world. They just don’t make sense to some people.
But the thing is, it makes sense to us. My husband and I sat down after the birth of each of our children and talked about the life that we wanted. There were many drafts of the plan, revisions, amendments, compromises, and total re-writes. Early in our marriage, we used to have short-term and long-term goals as part of the plan. These were mostly monetary goals. We didn’t have much in the beginning and so money was the priority. A home. An operational car. Daycare for our daughter.
We changed our plans again after my husband and I were working day and night to support our growing family. It became less about money and more about time. We added more goals but I noticed how our priorities changed again. I wanted to stay home. My husband wanted to spend more time with the kids and work less. That was a pretty crazy decision. I stayed home just as my husband left the corporate world to start his own personal training business.
After our fifth, we adjusted our plans again. We re-evaluated our previous goals and instead of creating new ones, we just talked about what was essential in our life, essential for our family right now, essential for the life of our dreams. What is always in our mind is the fact that the kids’ childhood is short. They are little for a decade or so before they enter puberty and then it’s a brief hop over to adolescence, and before you know it, they are letting you know their own life plans.
It comes down to what is essential. And at the end of the year, we not only clean our house once again, we clean our hearts. We declutter the nonessential so that what is really important to us can take centre stage once more as take a look ahead.
I looked around at my home tonight, at the life and home we have created together. My oldest daughter was out at an arts event for youth. My second daughter was at her very first babysitting gig. She left after she finished a challenging art piece that she had been working on all afternoon and after she came home, glowing with pride, she said that this was the greatest day ever. My third was busy reading her third novel of the day. My fourth was at the dining room table teaching herself cursive. My fifth was sitting beside me, drawing using his new how-to-draw cartoon characters book from the library. And the love of my life is still right here with me to watch it too.
This is our normal which happens to be what is essential to our life and the life we starting designing almost 18 years ago.
If you are following my little self-reflection challenge for the next week, here is your fifth prompt, the fifth step in choosing a one word intention/theme for next year:
What is truly essential to YOU? What can you let go of to leave room for what is essential? What are your priorities and do they line up with the life that you lead? What makes you happy? Can you find perfection in the imperfections?