As I type this, our state of Illinois is going into week 2 of our "Shelter in Place" order while the President has issued a continued partial shut down and social distancing until at least April 30.
Disney has closed. Hotels are closing. Las Vegas has shut down. Even churches are being forced to close. It is all like a bad dream and I am trying to wake up.
I have struggled with what to write about this entire situation because, honestly, I just don't know how I feel right now. My emotions are all over the place.
I felt anger. Sadness. And grief.
But then I became convicted by my own selfishness.
You see, my anger was because just when the economy was thriving and my small business was starting to boom, the entire country was shut down and the future became suddenly unclear.
My sadness was because I had to cancel my upcoming trips to New York and Disneyworld. In fact, I cancelled every trip planned for this year.
And my grief was because I was looking at a future full of change and I don't adapt to change very well.
Every Single Emotion was about me.
And suddenly, I became convicted.
This crisis is not about me and my small little world. It affects us all. And it is bigger than all of us.
I had to turn off the news and stop looking at Social Media because the hopelessness displayed was too much for my brain to handle.
The situation may seem hopeless but we are never without hope!
It is okay to be sad. We will even experience signs of grief as we make our way through this new sense of normal. It is even okay to be selfish - for just a moment - as you work through the emotions.
Take a moment to cry. Scream. Whatever you need to do.
BUT THEN...…. PUSH FORWARD!
This entire situation has reset my brain. And for good.
I was spending my days always concentrating on tomorrow and what the future held while forgetting to just simply enjoy today. We are not promised tomorrow so wasting even one moment of today is like throwing your blessings away.
I have been running down the same crazy pathway claiming to be so "busy" with all my busy work and forgetting about the things that are truly important.
I pray daily for a healing for our country and for a quick vaccine for this illness that has contributed to so many deaths across the world. We may never know the real numbers of those affected by this disease but now is not the time to be pointing fingers or picking fights.
For whatever reason, we are being forced to take a break and reset our lives. I don't know the reason why. Maybe God - like any loving parent - is giving us a time out until we can learn to behave.
We now have two choices to make. We either become better or we become worse. I pray it is not the latter.
It took a few weeks of being in mourning and feeling completely sorry for myself but now I get it. I don't know what God is trying to tell you but for me, it was WAKE UP. Stop being selfish!! And start living your life!
I thought I was living my life. But I wasn't. I was always planning for the future without ever truly stopping to enjoy each moment that was presented to me during the day.
I love to travel. It is the entire reason I work so many hours. But I cancelled every single trip I had planned for this year and I thought I would be sad. And I guess I was in the beginning.
But faced with my own mortality, I realized just how non-important those trips really were. And, if I am being honest, how truly non-important most of my "busy" work truly was.
Our country is facing a crisis like we have not seen for many generations but we are strong and resilient and we will prevail!
I just wanted to share my own very raw emotions because during these uncertain times, you need to understand now more than ever that you are not alone!
It is okay to not be okay. We are in this together! We will make it through!
Sometimes you just need to shut off the noise of the world and listen to that still small voice!
Well, we did it.
We survived another year. Another decade even.
I am not really one for New Year's Resolutions because I find they just add more stress to my already crazy life so I think of them more as goals and aspirations for my daily life.
I do, however, typically take time to reflect on my life during this "new beginning" and the reflection I am seeing right now is one of letting go.
Letting go of past hurts.
Letting go of past failures.
Letting go of bitterness and unforgiveness.
And letting go of people who have already let go of me.
Let me explain. I spent so many years of my life as a "people pleaser". Always wanting to "fit in". So worried if someone was upset with me and always trying to make other people happy.
The problem was - I wasted so much time and energy trying to please other people that I forgot how to take care of myself. And so I lost myself in the process.
Maybe it is my age talking (I am not old by any means, just "mature") - but I have finally stopped trying to be a people pleaser and started trying to take care of me. That has been a tough one for me. I am a nurturer by nature so taking time for me seems a selfish act. But I have discovered that NOT taking time for me was actually doing more harm than good because I was left with little energy for those close to me.
I also made the decision to no longer waste time and energy on those who have no time for me. I do not mean that to sound harsh. Just being honest here.
I am 51 years old. I have no time for games. You either love me or you hate me but don't pretend either way. I would never do anything intentionally to hurt someone, however, I also am a very direct person so I apologize in advance if my honesty offends you.
But this is the truth. If you love me, then be my friend. Support me. Trust me. Have faith in me.
If you hate me, then walk away. Don't say a word. Don't let my name cross your lips.
The worse thing you can do is pretend to love me and then spite my name in private.
Not everyone is going to be your cup of tea and that is okay. Some people just don't mix well together. Doesn't mean we have to hate one another. Respect goes a long way.
It's a New Year! Time for New Beginnings!
I spent most of this morning in tears. Not because anything was wrong. But because something just wasn't right.
Maybe it was because we recently celebrated Father's Day and although my dad has been gone for almost 15 years, I still miss him terribly.
Maybe it was because my daughter (who is also my best friend) just left on a 6 month travel adventure and I will not see her again until Christmas.
Or maybe it was because I read where a pageant friend just lost her dad suddenly over the weekend. He was the same age as me.
Am I just facing my own mortality? 50 used to seem so far away but the reality is there are likely more days behind me than in front of me. And between the hot flashes, night sweats and raging hormones - menopause has made herself known with a vengeance and she is not taking any prisoners!
I have been surrounded by this dark cloud for a few days but like the stubborn woman that I am, I chose not to reach out to anyone to talk. Well, except my husband, who tries - bless his heart - but how do you deal with a crazy, irrational woman? If he talks to me, I scream at him. If he stays quiet, I scream at him. Poor guy. At least he loves me enough to remain patient and let me work through it.
I think the reality is that I have so many emotions bottled up inside that I'm not dealing with right now because I still have the need to be strong. I don't like to cry. I don't like to show emotion. Oh, I love to LOVE on people. I just don't like to show when I am truly hurting or in need. So I tuck it all away and just smile and wave (Madagascar reference).
Then on Friday I was speaking with a friend who began to share how she had just been in a "funk" for the past week or so. I had not shared how I had been feeling so as she began to communicate her raw emotions, I immediately felt a connection and understanding. In her words "nothing is wrong and I feel bad that I don't feel right".
I get it. We look at our lives and are so grateful for the things we have yet there are days when taking a shower is our greatest achievement. I asked my friend why she didn't call or text when she was feeling that way and she said she didn't want to bother me. Again, nothing was TRULY wrong, she said. She just didn't feel right.
This morning after my tear fest, I called another friend of mine to discuss an upcoming trip we are taking together. Again, I had not shared anything about how I had been feeling with her but as she started talking, I could immediately sense something was not right. She began to share that everything was okay - but everything was not okay. She had spent the past few days in and out of tears as she struggled to grasp her emotions. She continued to share that she just didn't feel right emotionally and was reaching out for help. I asked why she hadn't called me when she was feeling so bad. Her answer was the same as my other friend - "I didn't want to bother you."
My answer to both of them was the same - BOTHER ME!! If you fell and broke your leg, you would bother somebody to help drive you to the doctor. You wouldn't think twice about it. Then why do we think twice when dealing with our emotional health?
Ladies - and I speak to the ladies now only because we tend to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders - it is time to start bothering each other and lifting each other up.
We should not be concerned with reaching out to one another when we just are not feeling right. It's okay to not be okay. Your world can seem perfectly perfect yet you can still feel lost and alone. That doesn't make you weak. That doesn't make you any less powerful as a person.
I get it. I am the first person to not ask for help. And one of the most stubborn people you will most likely ever meet. I could have called either of my two friends last week when I started feeling bad and we could have worked through it together. But like them, I didn't want to be a bother. Everybody has their own problems - I surmised - so I will just deal with this on my own.
Here is the thing - sometimes you just can't. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to. And it doesn't have to be a long conversation. We aren't trying to save the world here - we are just looking for a little comfort as we navigate through this crazy thing called life.
I don't have all the answers. Half the time I don't even know the question. But when life gets you down, BOTHER ME! Send me a text if you just cannot talk. Or call me if you need someone to listen.
Find someone to be your "Bother Me Buddy". Someone who is there for you. Not judging you. Not trying to "fix it". Just someone who will listen and understand.
Social media has made us all "friends" yet true human interaction has fallen by the wayside. Don't be afraid to bother one another when things just don't feel right. I get it - life gets busy and we get consumed sometimes with our own lives. Guilty as charged. As I sit here writing this, I can think of numerous occasions where I wasn't as available as I should have been but it doesn't take much to brighten someone's day.
Mental Health needs discussed as much (or possibly more) as all the physical ailments our bodies often endure. If our brain isn't right, nothing else feels right.
As we begin to reach out to one another and share our thoughts and emotions, we begin to realize that we are truly not alone. There is actually something comforting about knowing someone else is going through the same thing and we don't have to fight this battle on our own.
You don't have to go through this alone! Let's start bothering one another!
The abortion debate is not an easy topic to discuss because there is passion for the issue on both sides of the aisle. I am not here to debate. I am not here to judge. I am simply here to share my thoughts and opinions on the subject. I just want you to understand why I believe the way I do.
Everyone wants their voice to be heard when it comes to this subject but who will speak for the innocent? You see, I believe that life begins at conception and because of that, the very act of abortion becomes an issue of morality. We have our choices to make as viable adults. But what choice does that beautiful baby have in the decision to live or die?
I believe our choice as humans must come in the form of compassion. Those lacking compassion will try to make you believe that those tiny little cells coming together in the most perfect and intricate ways are simply jumbled masses of matter that mean nothing in the pathway to life. But nothing could be further from the truth. We know from scientific evidence that babies begin forming in the womb very early on and can even sense and respond to things outside of the womb.
Now let me speak directly to the women reading this because I know what some of you are saying right now. But Terri, it's my body. It's my choice. No one has a right to tell me what I can or cannot do with my body.
Hey, I get it. I really do. Because I felt exactly the same way.
I was raised to be a strong, independent woman and with that independence also came a little bit of arrogance. I believed, as I still do, that men and women should be treated equally and given the same opportunities for success. I also believed that, as a woman, no man (or woman) had any right to tell me what I could do with my own body.
In fact, I was so passionate about the subject that I wrote an article about a woman's right to choose that was published in my High School Newspaper. I remember writing at the time that we lived in a country where choice was our freedom and to impose your belief's on someone else would be a direct violation of our given freedoms. I was passionate. I gave every argument for the right to choose and wrote eloquently and efficiently why we needed the government to stay out of our reproductive rights. (Sound familiar? Keep in mind - this was back in the late 1980's).
I held that belief for many years after high school and even into my mid-twenties.
And then - something changed. Something drastically changed.
At the age of 25, after 5 years of marriage, my husband and I decided to start a family. So I stopped taking the Pill (you know, that one way to PREVENT pregnancy) and waited for the news of my pregnancy. And waited. And waited.
We waited for months but the news of a pregnancy never came. I think I cornered the market on pregnancy tests during that time as we anxiously waited for that precious life to begin. But months went by and still nothing. Almost a year had passed when my doctor finally prescribed fertility drugs to "speed the process along". And then it happened, we finally received a positive result on that little stick! And that precious life began growing inside of me.
We had an ultrasound at 19 weeks and I remember seeing my baby girls little arms and legs and watching her perfect little heart beat. She was a beautiful human being and I was so in love with her already. My entire pregnancy was filled with new experiences and so much raw emotion as I watched this tiny human begin to grow and thrive until she was finally ready to make her appearance into this world. And she was perfect. And all I could remember on that day was she was going to do great things in her lifetime and I had a small part in that (well, my husband helped too, I guess).
I think it was in that moment that it truly hit me. THIS was what choice was about for me As a woman, as a human being, I had a choice in this beautiful child's life and I could now watch her conquer the world.
Less than two years later, we would make the decision to add to our family and it was in that moment that I would experience the great loss of a child when I suffered a miscarriage with our second baby. Although I only shared my body with that baby for less than 12 weeks, the pain was no less real. I had already bonded with that little one and started dreaming of my daughter being a big sister and wondering if this baby would look like her. There was a heartbeat. There was a baby. And now there was nothing. Except a void in my heart.
God was good to us as He always is and blessed us with our amazing baby boy just a few months later and so our family was complete. He was perfect. And again, my husband and I had accomplished a miracle in this precious baby boy. (And by the way, he looked exactly like his sister).
And so my thoughts and ideals began to change I began to feel empowered. Who else on this planet can create a Human Baby inside their body and nurture that child until he or she is ready to make their appearance? What an amazing accomplishment! We are women, hear us roar!
I think too many times in the argument for or against abortion, the one part that gets forgotten is that beautiful little baby just waiting to see the world.
Look - I understand the Pro-Choice argument. I lived it for many years. And I firmly believe that more needs to be done to provide affordable contraceptives so the choice can come earlier not later. But I will also ask you to research completely Planned Parenthood and ask yourself why they so strongly push abortion over prevention? Follow the money trail. Do your own homework so you can make your own decision. Seek out the facts.
For me, the decision was easy. One look at that ultrasound; one moment to see that little hand move. There was life displayed on that computer monitor. A beautiful, tiny, miraculous life waiting to take on the world.
Who are we to deny that life?
I woke up today feeling just "blah". No reason for it. Although it was a little cloudy in my hometown, the sun was peeking through the clouds and at least it wasn't raining. I certainly enjoyed seeing the sun It has been a while for us as our area recovers from a very wet spring.
I stepped outside this morning onto the back deck and allowed the sun to warm my skin. Vitamin D is good for the soul. I guess I was hoping it would be a good cure for my melancholy mood. It was not.
I began to ponder all the reasons why I was in this funky mood and could gather absolutely no reason that made sense to be in this funk.
I was just not okay.
I tried to get my mind off of myself for a while so I began scrolling through social media. Well, that was a mistake! Let me tell you - the worst thing you can do when you are feeling bad about yourself is to scroll through social media! All the perfect people posting the perfect pictures of their perfect lives. Ugh. Enough to make me wanna puke. Nobody's life is that perfect.
Wait? What did I just say? Nobody's life is that perfect. And that's when it hit me. No matter what you see or read on the news or online - nobody's life is perfect.
Sometimes life just sucks and it's okay not to be happy about it.
I get it. We need to have a positive attitude about life and yes, that is very important. In fact, a positive attitude can help completely change your circumstances. But that is not what I am talking about here.
I am talking about the constant struggle to appear "okay" or in control of it all. The incessant desire to appear in control and on top of it all. I have that need. I have that desire. I am my father's daughter after all. He raised me to be a strong, independent woman who took the bull by the horn's and was always in control.
Teaching your children to be strong and independent is great. But teaching them how to ask for help is an even greater gift. Show them how to stay in tune with their emotions and you've gifted them for life.
You see, part of learning to understand my brain is knowing when to ask for help and when to relinquish control. I felt so out of control and betrayed by things that happened in my childhood that keeping control of - well - everything - was my coping tool. I needed to be strong and in control and I needed to always be okay. To not be okay meant I was weak and there was no room for weakness in my world.
So I learned to smile and wave and hide the true emotions lurking behind those teeth (I have a really huge smile). But trying to hide the pain was exhausting and only made me fall deeper into that hole of continuing darkness.
And then, little by little, God chipped away at me and I began to realize that sometimes I am just not okay. And that is okay.
Sometimes life just comes at you and it takes your breath away. You try to smile and you try to be happy but sometimes it takes too much energy and so you just hide away. But I am telling you that you do not have to hide away. It's okay to not be okay.
Stop trying to fit the mold that somebody else created. That wasn't your mold anyway. Understand that life isn't perfect and sometimes stuff just happens. It's okay to take a breath for a moment and recover. But then keep on fighting!
Give yourself permission to be human and let God do the rest!
Today I am taking a break from life. And I am not going to feel guilty about it.
We have all been there. Overwhelmed with work, family, responsibilities - a "to do" list that seems to grow bigger every time you mark something off as three more things are added. Running our bodies on empty as we try to accomplish 30 hours worth of work and activities into each 24 hour day.
As women especially, we have an innate desire to handle it all. Perhaps it is our God-given nature of being nurturers that keeps us focused on everyone around us without thinking even for a moment about ourselves.
I don't know at what point in my life I decided that it was up to me to save the world but I have always taken all the responsibility upon my shoulders with never a moment to ask for help. I am the strong one (I told myself). I am the one who can handle this (I can't). I don't need any help (I do).
I was raised in a household where children were expected to be perfect and my parents offered no help in my pathway to growth. There was no compassion. No "I Love You's" in my household. "Love" was earned by achieving things and acceptance was only given when I did things for them. Then after a traumatic event in my early teens, I realized very early on that I was on my own as I navigated through this thing called life.
And so it began. At a very early age. Working very hard to "achieve" things in my life while also working very hard to please others (that whole acceptance thing again). Aspiring to be better is always a good thing. Doing things for others is always a good thing. But when you lose yourself in the process - things can go bad quickly. And they did. For me.
I was working so hard in my life to gain the favor of others and never disappoint anyone that I lost who I was in the process. I was trying to handle EVERYTHING that life threw at me - by myself - and it almost cost me my life. I was sinking fast but I was too afraid to ask for help. In my warped perception, asking for help was a sign of weakness. Strong people don't ask for help.
Oh, but my friend, it is quite the opposite. Strong people can only remain strong because they DO ask for help. What I didn't understand then was my body and mind just needed a break sometimes. But taking a break - for me - meant I couldn't handle the things life was throwing at me and I certainly didn't want to appear weak to anyone (I was - after all - my father's daughter). So instead of asking for help or understanding - I did the only thing I knew how to do. I ran away.
Yep. That's right. I didn't understand what was happening in my brain. All I knew is I needed to get away or I would go crazy. So instead of being rational and explaining to my husband that I needed some time away - I just - well - ran away. Several times. Never very far. Usually just to the lake and always only for a few hours. Once I had shed some tears and prayed a few prayers, I would pull myself together and go back home much to the relief of my husband.
Now my husband is a very understanding man. All I would have had to say is I need some time alone and he would have been fine with that. But asking for time alone somehow meant I could not handle everything in my life right now (again, warped perception). Taking time for "me" was selfish (it's not). But these were the thoughts that permeated through my brain and the reasons I spent so much time alone at the lake.
Fast forward a few years and I have learned - finally - that it is okay to take some time and just recharge. I have started to listen to my body and my brain and learn the signs when it's time to shut down for a while. And that's what I do. Whether that means curling up on the couch and binge watching my favorite shows or taking a girls trip and leaving the laptop at home - I have finally realized what it takes to maintain a healthy balance in my life.
But most importantly - I have started communicating that need to my husband or kids. I mean, most of the time they already know I need some down time because I usually become quite a witch when I'm feeling overwhelmed but at least finally I am able to communicate that need to them without feeling guilty about it.
So today is a nothing kind of day. My son and husband went fishing and I had planned to attend a yoga class with my daughter but I cancelled and just stayed home. And I was honest with her and she understood.
Today - I woke up feeling drained and exhausted so I listened to my body and just chose to rest.
And I am still a strong woman because of it.
So it's been a while since I have written on my blog. Maybe you missed me. Maybe you had no idea I was even gone. Either way, it has been a few months since I have checked in.
2018 was a year of change for me and I suddenly started losing track of who I was or what my purpose was in life. We sold our home and moved into a camper as we tried to figure out what we wanted to do with our lives. While we thought we were improving our lives, we mostly ran in circles. And during that time of change and reflection, I suddenly lost my voice.
I have always been a very independent person - never afraid to voice my opinion or share my beliefs. I grew up in a world where differences were embraced and no one got offended when you shared your opinion. Now - granted - I do often have issues with (what is the word?) - oh, yes, TACT. But that is because I simply try to speak the truth and don't believe in candy coating reality or tip toeing around my words. I created this website as a ray of hope for those in need. Because when you are in that dark place like I was - you just need the truth.
But then last year - for whatever reason - some past insecurities began rising up inside of me and I started questioning everything I said or did. I became fearful of the judgment of the outside world and what they would think of me if they knew the truth of my struggles. So I shut down. And I shut up.
And I stayed silent for a long time.
But then God intervened - as He often does - through the words of a friend who encouraged me to continue sharing my story and not to be afraid. She told me that if just one person heard my story and was helped - then my job was done.
And she was right. I don't know who reads my blog or if this website even helps anyone but for now, I am going to obey the leading in my Spirit and begin to share my testimony again.
I am a little old fashioned so you might find the things I have to say a little outdated but they are my thoughts and feelings so take them with a grain of salt.
Have you been having trouble lately finding your own voice? Or have you come to a point in your life where you are seeking your identity? If so, you are not alone. I turned 50 last October and I am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
Although I don't have my life figured out yet, one thing I do know for sure is I will no longer allow my candle to be blown out. We all have a fire burning inside of us - we just need to learn how to control it and use it in a positive way.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that your thoughts and opinions do not matter. Even greater than that, don't ever feel insecure or inadequate just because your opinion is different from someone else's. Embrace the differences of your fellow neighbor and speak freely as we learn from one another.
No one person has all the right answers. And no two people will agree on absolutely everything. But that is what makes this world so entirely wonderful! I never get offended when someone believes differently than me or disagrees with what I have to say. That is how we grow as human beings - we learn from one other.
2019 will be a year of growth for me as I find my voice again. And I begin to live my truth.
What truth do you need to start living?
I have a daughter. And I have a son. And the events of this world scare me for the both of them.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the events transpiring in the media and around the world. I needed to understand it before I talked about it but the more I studied it, the more I became scared for my children.
As the parent of a strong, independent young woman, I want her voice to be heard. God forbid something happens to her but if it did - I want her to be able to rise up and speak her truth. And I want her to be believed. And not be afraid.
As the parent of a strong, independent young man, I want his voice to be heard as well. God forbid someone accuse him of doing something so foul - that he did not do - I want him to be able to rise up and speak his truth. And be believed. And not be afraid.
We cannot live in a society where a person’s gender determines his or her believability. My heart aches thinking that my daughter would experience a traumatic event and not be believed. And my heart aches thinking my son could be falsely accused but not receive a fair trial simply because of his gender.
We must tread lightly on this subject and try to set emotion aside in the search for the truth. Men and women alike deserve to have their truths be told and we cannot become a society where people are guilty until proven innocent. Facts never lie but facts often get lost in the shuffle of emotion.
Now- before you accuse me of not having empathy for victims of sexual assault, let me assure you that I understand exactly how they feel because I am a victim as well. A victim at the age of 13. By a family member. And my parents did nothing about it.
I understand what it feels like to be the victim. I understand what it feels like when no one wants to hear your voice. And I understand what it feels like to be a mom who now wants nothing more than to protect her children.
Instead of hating each other, let’s become a society where our validation comes from understanding each other’s beliefs. Let’s continuously seek the truth until we find the answers. Think to yourself: what if this was my daughter or sister? What if this was my son or brother?
Parents - raise your children to be strong and independent. Teach them respect. Male and female. There should be no gender bias on respect. Teach them to ask questions. Thomas Paine once wrote “question everything, even the existence of God”. Find your truth.
I am not saying if you are a victim of assault, that you must remain silent. Quite the contrary. If the battle is yours, then fight it and never give up hope. There are so many brave women stepping forward now who must be commended for their strength and perseverance. Their stories deserve to be heard and we are listening.
I am only cautioning you not to turn this into a witchhunt. Yes. I get it. There are horrible people in this world who do horrible things and for that - they deserve to be punished. But we cannot conclude that every person is bad because of the actions of a few.
Maybe the fault lies in us as parents. Are we teaching our young men how to be gentlemen? How to have respect for women? How to have respect for themselves?
I don't want my daughter to live in a world where she is scared to leave her home for fear of being harassed by someone. And I certainly don't want my son to live in a world where he cannot even pay a woman a compliment without fear of repercussions.
Let’s create a world where both our daughters and our sons will feel safe. And loved. And believed.
“The greatest of these is love”. Stop the hate.
In March of this year, my husband and I put our house on the market with the idea to downsize. Little did I know how much "downsizing" we would actually do.
We spent most of January and February getting the house ready to sell and it officially went on the market on February 21. We figured since it wasn't spring yet we would have plenty of time to find the land we wanted to build on and get it ready before the house sold. We were wrong.
February 24 - just 3 days on the market - we received an offer from the first people who came to look! Not only was the offer within negotiating range but they needed possession within 30 days because they were relocating!
Well, needless to say, we were excited - and panicked - at the same time! We have sold enough houses in our lifetime to know that you move when the offer is right. But we didn't have a place to move to and didn't want to rush into a decision we would later regret.
So - we decided to purchase a camper to live in until we found the land we wanted to build our home on. We found the perfect Fifth Wheel in Kentucky that had two separate bedrooms which worked perfectly since my son lives at home and attends college. We rented a storage unit for the necessities and then sold or donated everything else. We had just purchased a flip house on 2 acres so the plan was to move the Fifth Wheel to that property while we renovated it and had time to regroup and rethink our lives.
Although excited for this new opportunity to downsize, living in a 3500 sq ft home and a 41' foot Fifth Wheel are two completely different things.
Here are some lessons I have learned from living in a Fifth Wheel:
1.) You don't need what you think you need.
Although I have never been a hoarder (I actually despise clutter) - I did have a lot of things that I thought I needed. But as I began to go through the house, I realized that most of the "stuff" was just that - stuff. I took only the things I needed to the camper and put a few totes in storage for later use. But honestly, I cannot even remember what is in storage so I guess that means I really don't need that either?
2.) Simple things make you happy.
We had to park the Fifth Wheel at a campground for the first 6 weeks because the closing on the flip house kept getting delayed by the seller. We didn't have water hook-up in the 28 day site (the lake view was more important) so showers were taken in the shower houses. Once we moved to the flip house, we quickly renovated the bathroom so we could shower in the house. Like I said - it's the simple things.
3.) All the "bells and whistles" are just bells and whistles
Living in a Fifth Wheel meant doing laundry at the laundromat which was a 2 hour ordeal not counting the drive time. I made the boys wear the same clothes two days in a row if they weren't dirty so I could cut the laundromat down to one day a week. We finally finished renovating the inside of the flip house so I decided to purchase a washer and dryer. My last washer and dryer had all the "bells and whistles" - so many cycles that I lost count and wrinkle care for the dryer. To be honest, I don't honestly know half of the stuff it actually did because I never used it. When it was time to purchase a washer and dryer for the flip house, I just went with the basic affordable model. No bells and whistles. Just wash. And dry. And I love it! Best washer and dryer I have ever owned! Again - it's those simple things that make you happy.
4.) Experiences are worth more than material things
I have never been a materialistic person but have always tried to have nice things. I make no apologies for that - my husband and I have worked hard all of our lives to provide for our children. However, some of those "nice things" came through loans or even credit card debt. What a wonderful relief when we sold our home to be able to pay off all of the credit cards and most of the other debts. Now our money is spent on trips or experiences with our family. The freedom has allowed us to take vacations that would otherwise be impossible and the experiences are worth it all.
5.) Downsizing means - well - downsizing
We had sold another home prior to this one in 2015 with the intent back then to "downsize". But both kids were still living at home so when we purchased again, it was another big house (smaller than the previous one but still big by today's standards). Once my daughter married and moved out, we realized that we truly did not need the space. So we sold that house too with the intent - again- to downsize. And this time we are truly going to do it! Thanks to the time we have spent living in the Fifth Wheel - I truly understand what "downsizing" really means. In fact, building our 1200 square foot home will now seem like a luxury after months in a Fifth Wheel camper!
Life is all about perspective and it is often our life experiences that determine our perspective. My perspective on life has changed greatly since selling our home and living in the Fifth Wheel. I have realized I want to travel more and buy things less. I want to take time to read more and clean the house less. I want to find the joy in everything - no matter how small.
Although my life still remains in limbo right now as we continue to search for the perfect land, one thing will always remain the same: it's the experiences that make us who we are.
My life is a constant roller coaster but I am thankful for the experiences.
Life is a journey, after all, so you might as well enjoy the ride!
I hope you enjoy my ramblings about life. I promise to always be honest. No pride here.