As many of you know about a year ago we embarked on a journey towards debt free and a lifestyle of minimalism. It’s taken lots of different directions from the path we thought we had outlined in January of 2019, but all of them have worked for our good. With the recent changes in our culture, our cities and our lives due to COVID-19, I’ve been contemplating our decisions in this new reality. If I had known a year ago what I know today, would I have made the same choices? Or more precisely, how is minimalism effecting how we are living in this time of isolation? These quandaries were voiced recently by my Dad on a Sunday family call with my siblings. He asked how it was different living in a condo then in a home right now. And its a legit question..because it is different.
- At the House of Wales I never wondered who else had pushed the elevator buttons.
Yep. Living in a single family dwelling means that when you arrive at home each night and close the garage door you are in and safe and everything there is yours. In our new space, I pull in, close the garage door, walk across the parking lot, fob into a community door, walk onto a community elevator and push the number four along with the other 40 tenants who live on that floor. I would be untruthful to say that hasn’t cause me a bit of concern. But, no more than checking a mail box, or opening a door at the grocery store. The great part about living in community is that everyone is working together to beat this thing, so people allow others to ride the elevator to their floor alone, smiling when saying “I’ll wait for the next one”. No one is offended if you don’t get on with them but everyone smiles! That knowing smile of hey…you live here too and this sucks, but…isn’t it great to see another human today? I have to say I like it.
- There is no place in either of our homes that I am not aware of where MP is.
This is another truth to minimal living. Neither of our homes have a downstairs. No second floor to go spend time in. No extra bedrooms where one can just go and not be aware of the other person. At the House of Wales I had an art studio that took up half the downstairs and MP had one whole bedroom set up as a gym. They were cool spaces and we enjoyed them. But even as I type, MP is in his office/my craft room/his music room playing drums and I am in our bedroom at our second desk writing this blog. Its working just fine and I like the idea that we can both live full, invigorating lives in half the room we used to have.
- This wasn’t the plan.
When we moved here and I stopped working we didn’t know COVID-19 was on the way. We didn’t know we’d be confined to our homes for weeks at a time. We thought there would still be all this outside living at both our places. And like everyone who is being asked to stay in I know both MP and I wondered what the days would look like. It was one thing to shrink our living with the understanding we both had free roam of the outside world, but what does working, sleeping, living, breathing in 980 square feet look like when neither of us can leave? Its made us inventive. I ask about his meetings for the day and plan my routine around when he might need absolute quiet or when I want to be out of earshot of his conversation. Today I painted, I wrote, I made three cards, I worked out, talked to my daughter and read some inspiring blogs by people I admire. I have dinner in the crock pot and tried my hand at corn bread for the first time in 30 years. (I think its flat, but might still be edible). I don’t feel any more or less confined then I would have with 2000 sq feet and I’m enjoying the challenge of working together to find the space we both need.
- MP set up a gym in our garage
Gyming is a big part of MP’s life and I am finding my way back into it as well. So when we heard all gyms were being closed we had to come up with a new plan. I had been swimming while in Mesa but Boise weather is not as conducive to that form of exercise. So, MP goes down most days, pulls my car out and sets up a ‘gym’. He is really creative and enjoys finding ways to ensure a good work out. My legs and arms are sore even as I type with what some might have thought silly exercise that we did yesterday. But, obviously they worked! Now, do we have a huge weight rack and bench thing… or a treadmill or stationary bike to ride? Nope, we do not. So we get creative! MP has a bike route set up for me/us around the complex that will incorporate just enough hills to get my heart rate up for a cardio work out, while being outside and away from people. I have to wear a rain coat some days, but its better then sitting around all day doing nothing. And I really like that I’m married to a guy that is creative and rather then gripe about what we don’t have, makes a new way for us to stay fit. Is it ideal, maybe not, but we laugh a lot and seem to be just as sweaty after a work out.
So, did we know when we sold our house and opted for this minimal way of living we’d be in lock down in this smaller space? No we did not. Would it have changed my mind if I had known? No way. I’m not missing anything except our kids and their kids and a bigger house, more debt and more stuff wouldn’t have made one bit of difference in that missing. I do know, for sure, that when I see those kids of mine and their babies, I’m not going to wish I was hugging them in a bigger kitchen. I just going to hold them close, take in every bit of them, look into their eyes, push their hair aside and kiss their faces. And no amount of square footage or stuff would make that any sweeter then its going to be.
Until next time, stay safe and well.