AKA, why I don’t hike, swim, boat,or camp in the summer!
During the summer, “the good life” is constantly on display. This includes vacation time, reduced hours, travel, a summer cabin, swimming pool, jet ski, and more.
I respect my family, friends and co-workers for creating the lives they want! Especially when accomplished without debt 🙂 But I have chosen very few of these things for myself.
One major factor is that I grew up at a lake, in the country, and I had my fill of swimming, hiking, canoeing, water skiing, and bonfires. My parents have maintained their home, and I can visit and continue these activities any time. When my kid, Link, was growing up, I made sure that Link filled up on all of those things. But as a “mature” adult, swimming and boating are not part of my lifestyle any more. There are other things I’d rather be doing.
For the past 12 years, I attended two family reunions annually where we enjoyed lots of togetherness, shared meals, bonfires, and even occasionally swimming and hiking! That was perfect for me because the time together was key, and we each could do as much or as little as we liked of the active or expensive activities!
One set of my relatives has given up hosting a reunion because the folks are older and less able to travel. The other continues to meet, but because Link is no longer living at home and is job seeking, we couldn’t travel together this year. So I am feeling a keen sense of loss, both for being unable to see everyone, and knowing that as an empty nester, it is no longer a given that we can plan trips and events as a family. Obviously, we will do our best to get together, and enjoy our trips whenever we are able. But it sure makes me realize that a chapter of my life has closed!
On the other hand, I have an unprecedented level of freedom. Although a cabin retreat would be lovely, I know that neither Rom nor I wants the responsibility of maintaining a second residence and ensuring its condition and safety year round. It would be 100% sensible for us just to rent a cottage if we wanted a getaway.
One thing I looked for when choosing a mate was that he not have expensive and isolating hobbies! I successfully avoided marrying someone who spends their weekends sailing, golfing, or rebuilding antique cars. THREE of my closest neighbours (men) bought motorcycles this summer. We’ll see if we can avoid mid-life crisis toys: so far, so good!
I am also grateful right now to be free of some of the big commitments of busy family life. We don’t have a dog that needs to be exercised and pooper-scooped. We don’t have daily routines around daycare or summer camps, or the expense of hockey camps or band instrument rentals. It really makes our life very uncomplicated.
So that’s my “freedom from.” But what counts is the “freedom to”!
Because of the things we choose not to do, we have time and money for the things we value most:
- good, real food at home
- restaurant meals
- day trips
- and a safe, comfortable home that is low-maintenance.