One the major differences that we’ve enjoyed since coming to the US, is that life is sure a lot more simple now.
When we were making the decision on whether or not to actually leave everything behind and move to another country, we did our best to imagine what life would be like. We are both very practical and realistic people and we tried to envision a life where we would only have each other.
A life without our close friends and family.
A life where we may not have somebody to watch our dog if we chose to go away for a weekend.
A life where we knew that John would not be allowed to leave the US.
A life with only one income and one pension.
A life where if we didn’t like it, we would have to put on our big boy pants and suck it up.
We knew that we would be trading in our “forever home” to rent a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. We knew that the days of opening our back door to let Ernie run around in the backyard were over. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to afford an apartment with two bedrooms and that our new guest room would also be the living and dining room. We knew that the brand new 60 inch TV that John just bought wouldn’t make the cut to come cross-continent with us.
With that, we also knew that we would be gaining a lot too. We would get to live right smack downtown, rather in the ‘burbs. John’s commute to work used to be a solid one hour each way (on a good day), and now he literally walks two blocks and he is at work. The longest part of his commute is the elevator ride. And it is amazing! We get so much time back just from cutting down his commute time. We get over ten hours back a week, that’s over 40 hours a month…. Imagine what you would do with an extra 40 hours a month!
Living smack downtown is amazing. I wish you could bottle up the energy and sell it. There is always so much to do! There are so many options and it is impossible to be bored here. You can get anything you could ever possibly want within a short stroll.
Speaking of strolling, we walk everywhere! The only time we ever drive now is to go grocery shopping, and that isn’t even necessary. Every single day, Ernie and I go for a walk along the lake. There are so many places to go, so much to see! Going for a walk is an adventure in itself! If John and I go for a walk in the evening, we never know where we’ll end up. And time doesn’t even seem to exist, minutes and hours can pass by without you even realizing!
This simple life is great. This weekend, not a single load of laundry was done. The vacuum wasn’t touched. The dust continued to settle and invite it’s other dust friends to join the party. The ironing board stayed stuffed inside the closet. This weekend, we had three whole days together. Three whole days. 72 hours. Do you know how many chores could be accomplished in 72 hours? Well, I don’t because I didn’t do a single one. That’s right, you read me correctly… not a single one.
Instead, would you like to know what we did this weekend? We enjoyed each and every single moment without feeling guilty for a second about it!!! And it was amazing! And the best part was that we didn’t even have to leave the city! On Friday we celebrated July 4th like the best of them. We walked until we dropped, we ate and drank like it was our last meal, we watched the fireworks from the lakeside. On Saturday, a muffin delivery turned into an impromptu afternoon and evening of sore cheeks from laughing, stuffed stomachs from delicious homemade italian pizza, red lips from too much wine and FRIENDS (the real kind, not the TV show). On Sunday, Ernie had his play date with Bert and then the rest of the day we were full blown lazy. It was the best.
Back home, we tried to have a ‘staycation’ for a week in the summertime. And I sucked at it. I was a terrible staycation partner. I felt like we had a week to do everything that we never had time to do before. Everything that we had previously pushed aside, suddenly had to be accomplished within that week. There was not much ‘cation’ going on in our ‘staycation.’
Since moving to Chicago, we’ve had the opportunity to hit the reset button. I’m the first to admit that I got caught up in the rat race back home. Got caught up with climbing the corporate ladder. Got caught up with buying the fancy family home when we don’t even have children yet. Got caught up in the life tornado.
The reset button has reminded us what is most important in life. What our values are. What really matters to us. It has reminded us how we want to spend the few hours in a day that we have together. The simple life gives us so much back in return, that it’s tough to imagine that we ever once thought we would be making compromises to live this life.
With this simple life, we are both healthier and happier! Both of our health has improved, our stress levels are down and at the end of the day, we are both able to give each other our best selves. We laugh more together, we smile more together and we enjoy life for what it is!
The simple life has given us a life where we are able to truly enjoy every single day… I’m not sure it gets much better than that, my lovely.