Today’s post is long and personal so if you want to skip it, here is the main message…
You can live your life to please other people or you can live your life and please yourself. And that may not always please other people.
Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, you can do both.
It’s been just over a year since we did it – many people were aghast. They couldn’t imagine what we were thinking or why we would do such a thing. They thought we were selfish, impetuous, wrong.
What was the horrible thing we did? We uprooted the only life we ever knew. We left our kids, our pets, our elderly moms, we left our friends, our security, our job – everything we loved most to start a new life on the West Coast. We gave away pretty much everything we owned and keep only a few things we loved or thought we might need.
Everyone knew, but nobody said it to my face – it was my idea, it was my dream, it was my fault. When we came back with our tails between our legs there would be some that would be thinking, ‘I knew it’.
And it’s all true it was my idea, my dream and my fault and I had a husband who loved and trusted me enough to give it a whirl. It was the most selfish decision we had ever made. It was the hardest decision we had ever made.
But…in our defense, we had raised three capable, loving, competent children who along with their partners had beautiful lives of their own to live. We had given our pets over ten years of love, caring and happiness, we had the blessing of our moms and the promise to be back within the same day they call us, we had social media connections and long term history with our friends to help sustain the relationships. Yes we were giving up financial security but we were living simply – with few wants and needs – we wouldn’t need as much money as we did when we were raising a family. It turns out the few things we did bring with us, we wish we’d left behind too.
But, but, but – it was still hard for everyone (those that came and those that were left behind) and it still is some days.
And now a year has passed, quickly, slowly, effortlessly and challengingly, so a reflection, an update seems in order.
Every day I wake up I love where I live. I have never had this feeling before. Every day I am grateful for my modest condo with it’s too small kitchen an awkward little balcony. I love waking up and watching our hummingbirds vie for the best hole to get their sugar fix from. I love having the door open with no screens and the sound of the eight am ferry reminding me I live on an Island.
I love that it took us a year to furnish our place, because we only wanted to put in what we loved. What we loved – not what would wear well with dogs or be practical with kids – just things we loved and so for example we have this incredible live edge table made from a tree on the island and every meal we sit at it (not on the couch) and we love it. It feels fantastic and looks marvelous and it’s rare and special and ours. Check out last week’s blog!
I love that The Hub transformed the entire condo from that drab caramel color to bright colours to make us feel happy even on the cloudy days. I love that some walls are still empty because we haven’t taken quite the right picture yet and that I call the spare room my Studio because it is not just a home for our Murphy bed and our guests, but for my music and my writing and my yoga – it is my sanctuary when The Hub needs his TV fix.
I love this little tourist town that bustles in the summer and is sleepy in the winter, where you can run downtown naked after six pm and no one would be there to notice. I love that I can walk everywhere and even though my sweet little convertible was awesome in the summer, giving it up to become a one-car family was a small price to pay.
I love living by the water – on a peninsula actually – water on three sides. I just have to walk five minutes to find it and it makes me feel alive and free. I kayak, I walk, I yoga, I play the ukulele there. I don’t have to be in the ocean, I just have to see it and it fuels me in a way I can’t explain. And the smell, the sea air smells delicious.
I love the foliage, the flowers, the ferns, the endless colours and ever-changing landscape that is a dozen different types of beautiful to me. I love the trees, the small mountains close by and the majestic ranges in the distance that we can see on clear days. And the scents of pines and of flowers and that yellow rose bush that I pass every day that literally reminds me to stop and smell the roses.
I love how it doesn’t get too hot or too cold – it’s just right for us and I even love the rain – how it’s soft and gentle and almost calls you to come out and walk in it anyway. It reminds me I am not made of sugar, I will not melt and all plans don’t have to change if the sun is not out.
I love seeing the eagles sore and the herons fish, the otters swim in the ocean or scurry across the land, the seals come to the surface – their gorgeous eyes begging you to drop a fish down and once in a very rare while, we see a dolphin or whale grace us with its presence. I love that almost everyone has a dog and they can be off-leash in so many places, are welcome in the stores and dog water fountains abound.
I love the nice roads, the bike lanes and paths, the clean cars and even the parkades – wow when there is no slush or salt – everything stays so clean!
I love that The Hub enjoys being reWired, he is happy, he is relaxed, he is content. I love that he gets up late – he’s never done that before. I love that he made his own business cards – “With Randy’s Help” has launched and he is doing odd jobs, painting, garden work, dog walking etc. here and there, at his leisure not at the beck and call of typical work hours.
I love the active lifestyle where we can walk and hike and bike in extreme beauty every day. We play frisbee barefoot in the park, we watch the boats and yachts come and go and the locals catch crab on the pier. I love that the ‘big’ city, Victoria, is just 25 minutes away and that we rarely go more than a couple of times a month because everything we need is here in our perfect-for-me sized town.
I miss lots – most notably our first grandchild, sweet Noah, who was born in June. We were right that if we didn’t move before one of our kids was pregnant we probably never would. We have already enjoyed two visits with him since he was born two months ago.
One cool thing about moving away is that people visit and when people visit they don’t just ‘visit’. They eat and sleep and live at your place for a while and so you get to know them in a way that you don’t when you just go out on a double date or see them at a family gathering. I know some of our relationships have gotten better since we left.
When we moved we knew that we could come back, if we didn’t like it here, we could rent out or sell the property – we had a Plan B, it was a risk but not a do-or-die risk.
It’s been a year, we are happy with the life we have started to build here, we are not planning to go home unless someone really needs us too.
Because we are home.
You can live your life to please other people or you can live your life and please yourself and that may not always please other people.
Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, you can do both.
I know that I didn’t have to go on and on about what I love, but I did that for me, not for you. It felt wonderful to write about this love and wonderful to reread it again and again.
I encourage you to take 15 minutes out of your life and write about what is filling you up with love.
It’s an awesome exercise not just in writing but in awareness, gratitude and appreciation and of course, it’s just one more way to live Your Life, Unlimited!