We just moved the blog over to this platform and this title, begging the question, “Ready For Less…” what?
Less stuff. We have a house full of debris, including an attic and two storage closets full (and I mean, FULL) of junk we haven’t looked at since we moved in over 4 years ago. When we go, most of this stuff goes bye-bye. We’re starting already, with putting stuff out at the curb, and deliberately not acquiring more stuff to add to the stuff we already have.
Less media. We are considering going TV-free when we move. Two reasons for this: less noise in our lives (forcing us to do the things that we say we want to do, primarily things that take place outdoors); and lower financial outlay for cable. Which brings us to…
Less money. We will have two kids in college, and may even begin taking classes ourselves. We also need to save for retirement. So we want to minimize our costs as much as possible. That means likely no land-line phone, no cable, and reducing our housing and utility expenses to keep ourselves in the black.
Less floorspace. We’ll be reducing from a 4-bedroom house to a 2-bedroom apartment. Saves money, and forces us to reduce our mountains of stuff.
Less city. We’ve lived in Chicagoland for the last 12 years, and we’ve had it. With a few small and highly-trampled exceptions, it’s nothing but pavement from the lakefront out to IL-47, from the Wisconsin border down to Joliet. There’s no such thing as “fresh air” here; there’s no place to go hiking; there’s nothing resembling a forest or a mountain or a valley.
Less traffic. We just took a brief shopping trip up to Schaumburg for some errands, and it was all I could do not to jump out of the car and kick some of these people in the grill. Once you’re 250 yards from our house, you’re at the mercy of the other (largely insane) drivers on the road with you. It used to be that the rule was you treated others out there as you wanted to be treated yourself. But in recent years the rule has changed: now, it’s “To hell with anyone else, I’m in a hurry and I’ll never see them again.” We’re not sure how much more of this we can take.
Less people. Houses packed so close together I know the contents of the next-door neighbor’s pantry cupboard. 25 lanes open at the grocery store, and every one of them 5 to 10 people deep. Two lanes at the McDonalds drive-through, both of them 10 cars deep. Traffic jams at 1am. Public transit so full you can’t get on half the buses or trains that come by. It’s insanity, and we’re at the limit of our patience.
Less urgency. Because of the kids, and work, and scheduling, and the times that businesses close, and the distance between points A, B, C, D, E, F and all the other places we need to go in a given day, the pace of our live has taken on a frantic quality that is fraying our nerves. We will be deliberately trying to s-l-o-w t-h-i-n-g-s d-o-w-n and restore some sanity to our existence.
Less chaos. With kids comes a measure of unpredictability that will, eventually, kill you if you don’t make a deliberate effort to separate yourself from it. Our situation was even more out of control, with a disabled child who would occasionally become injured or require major surgery, and a nasty and expensive divorce/custody battle that lasted 14 years. We need to get our lives back under our own control, and decide if and when we want to be unpredictable — blow off whatever we had planned to do and go kayaking instead. That kind of chaos we will enjoy. The current kind may just land us in two early graves.
Less distance. Meg and I haven’t been growing apart, we just haven’t seen enough of each other to grow together like we had hoped. Each of us was a young parent, and we had a family to take care of from the moment we started dating. We haven’t been around each other without kids in the house since we were 17 years old. We need that opportunity to close that gap between us, and become the couple we know we should be. We love each other very, very much, and it’s not a case of whether this will happen — it’s just putting ourselves in the right environment so it finally will.
That’s why we’re doing this. We have too much in our lives right now, it’s not good for us physically, mentally, or emotionally. It’s time for a change. We are taking the bull by the horns and making it happen. We are looking forward to this so much, it will be the biggest milestone in our relationship since we got married. In this instance, we are very fervently hoping that less will, indeed, be more.