Thursday, January 1, 2009

Shall We Get Re-Acquainted?

I think January first is a good day to take a step back an evaluate your position in life. And it's a good time for me to re-introduce myself here and sum up what I'm trying to accomplish.

My name is Jennifer. I'm thirty-nine, married and have four children. I'm a writer. I'm shopping around for an agent for my young adult novel. I homeschool. I'm not religious.

Four and half years ago my family lived in Santa Cruz, California, a beautiful coastal town. We owned a brand new house less than a mile from the ocean, but we didn't get to see the ocean very much; we were working too hard trying to make enough money to pay our bills. My husband had already quit his job and had started his own independent game company, but I was stuck running my daycare - a beautiful job when you're only caring for a few children, but an insane proposition when you're caring for fourteen or more of them.

So we decided to quit. We sold our house, sold one of our cars, sold most of our stuff, packed the rest and set out for the east coast. After a five-month decompression period visiting my family (who I'd rarely seen over the previous decade), we packed up again and drove northwest, to a small town in British Columbia about 500 miles due north of Vancouver.

That was our first exercise in "halving". Our bills today are roughly half what they were in Santa Cruz. Our car usage has halved. One of us doesn't even work (that would be me).

Now I'm trying to halve our bills and possessions again.

Why?

Two reasons:

1. I'm convinced that all these things and bills are like a cage we build around ourselves to separate us from actually living life.

2. Because I'm also convinced that if everyone on this planet is to have their chance at a decent existence, then some of the wealthiest of us need to consume less.

Call it my mid-life crisis, but I'm sick of shuffling my stuff around, sick of cleaning it, storing it, organizing it, re-organizing it. I want something more. I want time, experiences, friendships, real work, sunshine, dancing; I want to live my life, not be possessed by my possessions.

I have worked hard at halving these past four months, but there is so much more to do. I'm just a novice. Maybe you know more than me. I hope together we can take a journey of real discovery of what life is, what's truly important, and how much is enough.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I so enjoy reading your blog & find it so inspiring. I'm hoping to start us on the road to halving our things too....

Thanks for sharing all your thoughts & ideas.

Looking forward to the upcoming year!

Stacia

Kim said...

Beautiful. I understand and am right there with you. We too have been on this same mission and will continue until we are debt free. Good luck to you!

Jennifer said...

Thanks, you two. I hope both of you will share your triumphs with me, too. It helps to know other people are doing this.