The first time I took my mother to see the “little house,” it was below freezing in Connecticut and there were about twenty feet of snow pushing up against the garage. We trekked through the drifts to the back door and stepped inside the kitchen of the 728 square foot dwelling.
I knew what was going to ensue. The look on my mother’s face was one of horror.
“You’re going to … live here,” she said in a statement of disbelief.
The house needed a lot of love, paint, mousetraps (for the fridge especially, since mice were building a fort in the freezer), curtains, sunshine, and electrical work, just to start. We barely got approval for the loan, as the banks were nervous about giving a mortgage to us, as it was being sold “as is.” And it was a far cry from the 3-bedroom condo that my husband and I occupy.
How did we get here, to a place of downsizing and simplifying? Moving from 1700 square feet to 728, getting rid of tons of stuff, basically overhauling our life?
What put me over the edge?
It was this nagging feeling that we were in a rut.
Now … let’s define “rut.”
I had just finished a ten-month petal-to-the-metal project for a global animal health company in the mergers and acquisitions space. It included 20 business trips in nine months. In March, my husband and I ran from the New England cold to Hawaii for two weeks – three islands in 14 days. Professionally, I run my own business as a communications consultant and executive coach, and my husband, a 29-year veteran of UPS, averages a busy 55 hours per week. We spend overnights in New York City. We travel. We spend time watching my nieces and nephew, which includes an assortment of outings and adventures. In general, our life is humming along at a pretty good clip. So really not fitting your typical definition of a rut.
And yet. Life seemed to be a whirl of complexity, technology, constant movement and stimulation and yet … nothing-ness. Unsatisfying, at least for me.
I started to think about making a difference in the world. What would our contribution be in the second half of our lives? All of a sudden I wanted to … garden. Make homemade chicken broth. Volunteer. Be one with the land.
Fast forward to one of our overnights in New York. “MyUPSGuy,” who is fascinated by all things real estate, looked up from his tablet, “Wow, there’s a piece of property in that farm area we like in Southbury – four and a half acres with an old house on it.”
The rest is history. We closed in May and put our beautiful condo on the market.
Our initial plan was to eventually build a small farmhouse. But then the downsizing process took hold. And I have to admit, the little house seems like a haven. And the niggling voice in my mind has quieted as I pack things up for the second hand store. Who knows, maybe we’ll never build, maybe we’ll live in the little house and travel with the money we save.
This all sounded great until the first day we arrived at the new-to-us “little house,” key in hand, champagne toast planned … and were greeted by a mouse, who jumped from a kitchen drawer.
Welcome to no longer being in a rut. Welcome to … the country.