I thought I’d update as to how things are going, half a year into our “year of living small”. It’s been a whirlwind year of giving birth to a new business for me, a crazy busy season for my husband at the office, meeting new people, making new friends, adjusting to the new place we settled. We did buy a house in this same area- we closed a couple of weeks ago- but we aren’t moving in until much later this year, as we have a lease and the current owners are building a house. I don’t even want to think about packing and moving again. This will be the third time in three years.

I say this city is new but it’s actually the same place we first moved to as newlyweds, fourteen years ago. It’s a sister town to the one we lived in prior to buying our little homestead, we just settled in the quaint little downtown area this time. So, it’s familiar, but we have new neighbors, new opportunities, and a drastic change in lifestyle- literally a complete 180 from where we were a year ago.

The big kids are enjoying the freedoms and amenities that come from living here. Everything is a quick walk away, yet it’s safe for them to roam. The kids they grew up with are close, and they’ve told us they enjoy having their parents more available than when we were working outdoors on our property all the time. They say our family is happier here and I agree. I know they also like the fact that our financial constraints are looser, and so they get to do and experience more things. I know Stinky is getting a little tired of sharing a room with his little brother, but the situation is still very workable. Dozer is just happy to be back in this area, and also because she ended up with the nicest room in the house.They all miss having a pool of our own, even though the community pool is one block away.

My husband is less stressed, although there are new stresses with the amount of travel my schooling requires, not to mention the money it costs. I’m doing everything I can to help minimize this, and am thankful we aren’t still in our old house, or the ability to start my business and further my education would simply not exist, on multiple levels.  He’s enjoying a slower paced lifestyle, more family time on the weekends, and the overall freedom that comes with so much less to take care of. I know he’s itching to have some workshop space again, just so he can tinker and putter and build things. He misses all his little projects he used to create.

As for me, I’m okay. I’m finding that this little house ALWAYS feels dirty to me. It’s just the dingy baseboards, the need for new paint, the old grout in the tiles, flaking paint on the porch. If I owned the house, I’d spiff it up with a fresh coat of paint and have the tile cleaned professionally, and bring it up to snuff. I’d maybe buy a new piece of furniture to freshen things up, but I don’t want to because I want to wait until we move to our new space to buy anything. Also, three dogs and a cat, along with five people in this space is a lot to ask these walls to handle, and it’s starting to show. I wish I was able to make it mine, add the touches that make a house more of a home, clean it up some.

If I’m being honest, it’s starting to feel a little small in here. I don’t know if it’s just because everything needs to be refreshed, or if it’s the summer heat keeping everyone indoors all the time. What was cozy is starting to feel claustrophobic at times. What I miss the most is just a little more room- for toys to be spread out, so that dogs aren’t always underfoot, so I can’t see a mess everywhere I look all the time. What I also miss is my garden and my chickens. Fresh herbs and lettuces, golden yolked eggs, the feel of working in the soil. I’m already devising ways I can grow things and keep a few hens on our almost non-existent yard at the new place.

I realize that even having this conversation smacks of privilege, and that so many people would love to live in the space I’m in. But I said I’d be honest, and I’d write about what it was like going from our expensive lives in what we thought was our dream home, to a much more scaled down version, and so I am. I didn’t disclose this until now, but the main reason we moved is that we found out a mega-church was planning to develop the 50 acres across the road from us. The land that held our will turkey, deer, and other wildlife. That 50 acres was going to become a parking lot, with floodlights, traffic, noise. It was no longer worth it for us to stay with all that development going on. I almost threw up when we found out last month that the church is now pulling out of that project. Basically, our move didn’t have to happen.

Or did it? As sad I as I was to say goodbye to my animals, my fruit trees and garden, the beautiful views from the windows, I’ve also lived on this earth long enough to know that change can be a blessing. Following the call of your spirit leads to new and exciting vistas you never though possible. If we hadn’t left, we wouldn’t be able to show our kids other parts of the world. My thriving baby business, helping families heal, would not exist. We wouldn’t have taken the time to really think about what we want from our lives, and if we were truly living or just existing in the false American dream we’ve been spoon fed our whole lives.

So yes, this little experiment, like everything in our lives, has its clouds and rainbows. I’m ecstatic to be in this tiny mint green home, with its beautiful front door. I know how lucky I am to have this roof over my head in this fabulous part of town. It’s also true that I’m looking forward to having a little more room, having space to grow things, knowing my husband has a nice workshop space of his own. The house we bought is not extravagant. It has just a little extra space, and an office for me in the back house so I can be more available to my family when I work. Just like this little house has been perfect for us for the time we are here, I know the next one will be perfect in its own way, too.