Today is my thirty-third birthday. Not an important milestone birthday, but an important day nonetheless. I have been slowly and quietly thinking about my life for the past twelve months, the gears of my priorities shifting away in the background, and today, I put fingers to keyboard to keep a sort of record of this change to a simpler life.
No long-lasting change ever happens suddenly, and mine is no different. I remember visiting friends a couple of years ago, and being a little astounded and a lot jealous. The couple lived in a gorgeous, tiny, one-bedroom colourbond shack on the beach. Their little house contained what they needed- a little furniture, small but selective wardrobes and just enough stuff in the kitchen to cook and serve delicious meals, and share a beer with friends. They displayed beautiful photos and artefacts from travel and their family histories- happy meaningful memories. At the time, I left the party thinking "What on earth do they do without a TV?".
It's not until some years (and two children, promotions, study, career changes and The Big Move) later, that I begin to realise how little time our family life allowed for self-reflection, time together, clear-mindedness and just simple joy. We were tumbling ahead, rolling through days without a clear sense of what we were working towards and how we really wanted to live our lives. We had set up our life in our nice comfortable suburb with nice stable careers, because, well, that just what you do, isn't it? We were working hard to gain financial freedom to buy the next house and the next car, constantly striving towards buying bigger and better.
I don't even remember what prompted the Big Discussion and the Big Decision, but I know we visited these friends again around a year ago, this time at their new house. The Husband and I both adore the sea and had romantic notions of raising our family by the beach, but it was always a silly far-off idea. When it came to making a decision about how to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, it came down to a trip to Europe, or the Big Move. In a moment of crazy-clearmindedness (because if we had thought about it a second longer, we would never had gone through with it) we chose the Big Move. I left my stable job, assuming I could pick up casual work. The Husband decided the the long daily drive was a sacrifice worth making. We rented out our house in the suburbs to my mum, and found a place to rent.
At the beach.
Best thing we ever did.