Small Town Simple

The Simplicity Adventures of a Mother and Daughter

Dreams Can Come True

About two years ago I started wishing, dreaming, craving a more simple life.  Deep down, I knew I was ready for a change.  But I really didn’t see it happening.  At the time I had convinced myself that I needed to stay where I was – in my house, in my teaching career, playing it safe – until retirement age.  I was struck by how often teachers talked about how many years they had to go until retirement.  This isn’t a criticism.  Just an observation.  So I found myself doing the same thing.  Calculating time and money to see where I would be by age 65.  But for me personally, I didn’t like marking time that way.  I kept questioning myself about how I wanted to live today and tomorrow and next week, not 7 to 8 years from now.  During those last two years I engaged in a lot of self-reflection.  Even though I had enjoyed the renovations made to my home, I knew more were needed due to the age of the house.  So I saw a lot of dollars piling up.  And as much as I enjoyed teaching, I felt underwater with all the meetings, expectations, etc. leaving me feeling deprived of actually teaching.  I had to finally  admit to myself that I wasn’t really happy.  Not deep down.  And I have to say – it was a bit of a shock to actually admit that.   So when Lauren told me she was expecting a baby, my first grandchild,  I saw a window of opportunity.  And I just leapt right towards it.  Here was my chance to improve the quality of my life.  It was my chance for the simplicity I was craving.  I’m now 10 months into this new adventure and I’ve learned 5 simple things about myself, my time and my money:

  1. My life is not defined by what I do.  Neither monetary status nor job title has anything to do with who I am.   It has no bearing on whether or not I’m kind, helpful, patient or loving.
  2. I really can live on less.  I called my aunt on her 98th birthday the other day.  Yep, 98!!  She has always been my go-to person that I have relied on to tell me the truth.  I told her that lately I’ve been trying to figure out what I spent my teaching salary on.  I make half of what I used to make yet I’m still paying my bills, etc.  I asked her if I can live on less now, where was that “extra” money going?  She laughed and told me we never need as much as we think we do.  So true!
  3. Processed food is not only unhealthy, it is expensive. When I started shopping the perimeter of the grocery store and stayed out of the aisles, my bill went way down.  When I was teaching I could spend $100 a week on groceries.  Much of that was convenience food.    I now spend around $200 a month AND my eating habits are much healthier than they were before.
  4. I make time for the library.  Years ago I convinced myself that due to my busy schedule I needed to buy a book versus checking one out from the library because I didn’t want to read it on their timetable. You know what?  They have this nifty little thing call “renewal”!  If I don’t finish I just renew it for a couple of more weeks.  So easy.
  5. Less space really is more.  I don’t have as much to clean which means I’m reading more, writing more, or working more on projects that really interest me.

Has all of the above improved the quality of my life?  It sure feels like it.  So change, big or small, can produce lovely rewards.  And that is what I call a dream come true!

xo, Carolyn

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