I have a comfortable life.
My husband has worked away for most of our 25 years together which has given us a higher income than most. He is called here in Australia an F.I.F.O. worker, which means “Fly In Fly Out”, and loves his job even though he doesn’t like the flying away from home bit.
When our son was born though, he began to get rattled. He got angry easily and frustrated and I could feel his overwhelm.
I wasn’t sure what I could do to help him through this time so I simply did my best to make our house a beautiful sanctuary to come home to. You know what I mean, lovely linen, matching crockery, beautiful artwork, endless pewter photo frames that showed off the best of our life together.
I can’t even tell you how many hours I walked through the shops looking for the thing that would make him feel loved. The thing that would show him how much I appreciated his hard work. But with each time he arrived home, his anger grew, his frustration got deeper and his overwhelm seemed to engulf him.
Then I had a life-changing moment as I read a message I had just typed to him.
“Would you like me to order sand
for the sandpit or are you going
to clean out the gutters this weekend?”
Staring at the message I understood right at that moment that my husband was missing out not just by being away from home, but by having a list of jobs to do when he was home. He was missing out on our son’s first steps, first smile, and his cries and cuddles when he was sick. Right then I truly got it.
Looking around our lovely home, and our lovely stuff I remember thinking I would trade it all in a heartbeat to sleep beside my husband every night with our son so that he no longer missed out. I just wasn’t sure how to do that yet.
What I did next was one of those “Sliding Doors” moments. Do you remember that movie? Where Gwyneth Paltrow’s character plays out two possible scenarios of her life? I took my finger off the send button and deleted the message. I looked around our house at the photo frames, the artwork, the matching crockery and the lovely linen. It was time to trade it all for a different life and when my husband arrived home that weekend I took a big breath and said:
“Let’s buy a caravan and go with you to work”
I then saw something I had not seen in a long time. His face softened, his mouth curled at the edges and he exhaled. He had been seen and heard.
That moment set into motion a flurry of to-do lists and when we took possession of our newly built caravan seven months later, we had lightened our life unimaginably.
We had sold, given away, recycled, and thrown away an enormous amount of stuff.
The rest of it was carefully packed into boxes, in a huge storage shed and insured in case the unthinkable should happen.
Well, the unthinkable did happen.
After a year on the road, we understood that we didn’t need our stuff. Honestly, if that storage shed had burned to the ground, our lives would not have suffered. Not at all. Not even a little bit.
We were living in a caravan that took no more than 40 minutes to clean, including washing the floors every day. There was no room for stuff in our home, only for what we needed to enjoy our life on wheels and we lived this life for five years until our son was school aged. But the best bit wasn’t that we had hardly any cleaning to do, it was my husband seeing all the other firsts during that time.
Now I get that not everyone can or should move into a caravan! I know that is pretty extreme. Sometimes maybe we just don’t buy that latest new smart TV, trendier sofa or newer car and spend those thousands on a family holiday instead.
So where are we at now you ask? Our son just turned eighteen recently and our time on the road seems like an eternity ago. We have a beautiful home again and while we have far more stuff than we did in the caravan, I am definitely more mindful of what I spend. Our crockery has chips in it, the linen doesn’t always match, and there are still 4 empty hooks on the walls because I don’t feel the need to buy artwork.
Pretty soon the countdown will begin for offloading what we have accumulated because once again we will hit the road in a caravan or RV but this time as a couple. We want to trade in the traditional idea of working into our sixties for a cheaper lifestyle and a home that has no room for stuff.
I will still be taking advantage of “The Sale Season” though! Except I am going to receive the dollars instead of spending them. How cool is that?
Hubby and I have piled up all of our unused stuff that may be of use to someone else and will be heading to our local Swapmeet, as we call them here in Australia. We do this every year or two and I am always shocked when somebody pays me for something I thought was useless.
It’s fun and the extra money we add to our “Future Caravan Kitty”. We always walk away with around $500!! Not bad for a morning of standing in the sunshine chatting to people right?
So, I just want to say to you, when you are in the midst of amazing sales in the coming weeks and incredible once in a lifetime discounts are flashing in front of your eyes, please take a moment.
Is that amazing sale item going to give you a priceless memory to treasure?
Is that once in a lifetime discount just as fantastic as that once in a lifetime experience you have been dreaming about?
If so then spend fearlessly my friend and enjoy the rush!!