Well so much for moving gradually into a new lifestyle. Originally we thought of slowly tearing down our old lifestyle and slowly piece together our new lifestyle. After a while of trying this philosophy we changed to another approach……………..KABOOM!!!
In the span of one month we had sold our home in the city, bought a new home in a smaller town on the coast & given notice at work. The next month included packing, finishing up with work and moving into that new home. When it came down to it we just had to. These changes were so important to us we couldn’t wait any longer.
A month before listing out house for sale, I had taken a week off work so we could build the framework for FamilyNavigation.com. During that time I wrote the blog ‘Balanced Family Life – Our View’ . This blog was a much abbreviated version of an early morning emotional & frantic writing session – kind of like in the movie Jerry Maguire when he wrote his ‘mission statement’. Now that our old 7-4 (didn’t work 9-5) lifestyle is in the past, I thought I would look back at that blog and see how we are making out and if we are getting the benefits of having a balanced work life and family life.
Work – The old cliché, you have to love what you do. Well, so far so good but this one will take some time to see if we are successful or not. We are starting with FamilyNavigation.com and have many other sub-ideas we would like to try. We have 2 years in the budget to make this work before we have to look at other options. As long as we have moderate success I think we will be on the right track with this one. In these early stages, the amount of energy and enthusiasm I am bringing to my daily work is much higher than what I had at my past job. We are also excited that any success we may achieve has a direct impact on our income.
Location– This one is complete as we have moved to where we want to be and where we want to raise our kids. We live in one of a few small towns that make up the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Together they have the amenities of a small city, but individually they have a real small town charm. Both Lisa and I grew up on the coast and we are very happy to be back in our home environment. Choosing your living environment is a very personal decision and I realize the things that we see as positives, many see as negatives and vice versa. When we were deciding what environment would be best for our family we concluded that the coast, with its slower pace and natural setting, was where we should be, and so far I think it was definitely the right decision.
Focus on Experience, not material goods – Like we have a choice on our current budget – we do not have jobs. We have had a great summer and have been able to add so many little experiences to our children’s inventory. Forest time looking for bugs, beach time swimming and looking for shells, and growing things in our garden has all been new experiences for our kids and we have all enjoyed our laid back and relaxing summer. The toys in the playroom do not stand a chance.
Health – This one is going to take a while as we, mostly me, are completely out of shape. As a family we are now spending a lot more of our time outside and spending a lot less of our free time sitting down (do we still have a TV?). Our hope is that with our new focus on healthier eating and incorporating exercise into family time we will reach our goals in time. Instead of doing a starvation or fad diet we have changed our eating habits to what we feel is sustainable and healthy. We do not have the time, money, or the desire to live at a gym. Since we have slowed down our daily routine we are now spending time gardening in the back yard, walking instead of driving wherever possible, and playing energetic games in the backyard.
One of the side effects of our new lifestyle is the amount of family time we have created. I will go into further detail of our daily schedule in future blogs, but we have removed a lot of the wasted time in a day (time spent getting ready for work and commuting to work being the most obvious). We are now working 7 days a week but only one of us is working at a time, which means each of us has work time, time with the kids, chore time, relaxing time alone, and family time altogether throughout each day. It makes for a busy day and busy weeks but we really like the fact that each day is fairly balanced and we both get to spend quality time with the kids. We do take days off, or partial days off, as well if there is a family outing we want to do or something unexpected comes up.
We have a long way to go to see if we really accomplish all the goals we have (including numerous goals not listed above) but we have gained a new level of energy just for the fact that we are trying. We are not people who do drastic things normally, but in this case we are glad we blew things up to start again to make a lifestyle more true to who we are. Only time will tell if we reach our goals and if the right decisions were made but at this moment in time it looks like we are on the right track.