I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got

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
  • concerts
  • plays
  • movies
  • festivals
  • day trips
  • subscriptions
  • and a safe, comfortable home that is low-maintenance.
This month we have a 2-day metal festival, another rock concert, a casual family wedding, the Parade of Sail (Tall Ships Festival), and more. Life is good!

Parade of Sail in Halifax NS

What are you happy to have freedom from? Freedom to?


  1. Needle Lady

    I think we all make decisions about where to spend our time and money, whether conscious or unconscious.

    I have freedom from not having a pet, not having to see the latest and greatest movie (allergic to popcorn) so I get to see everything a little later in the comfort of my own home.
    I live a fairly simple life with a half time position, so I can be with my family. I may not have a lot of money, but I have time to spend with my kids while they are still growing up (early teens) and for me that is more valuable than money. Being a single mom, it can be challenging, but its worth it to be there for them.

  2. SarahN

    This is a wonderful post, it really is! It’s sad that you can’t travel with Link as much anymore (I think I now ‘get it’ with regards to my parents still semi-funding us adult children to travel with them sometimes). I enjoy your honesty in picking a life partner without big hobbies – it’s something I think about when I’m meeting people (and it’s one of those things that are front and centre on dating sites – the hobbies… which is odd to me because I am more than a ‘hobby’ – I too like to eat out and cook meals, but neither seem to be hobbies to me, but also, hobbies don’t show the ability of two people to talk about other issues in life etc…)

    • Funny you should say that – I suppose some people do meet because of shared interests, but I bet that most don’t – I think temperament and communication are more important! Also, “domestic life” probably doesn’t sound so hot as a hobby on a dating site 🙂

      • SarahN

        Hahahah you’re right, domestic life will hardly sell you to a potential match! My recently engaged friend recently told me that they have ‘nothing’ in common, except values. Which I think is the key. And they have the communication thing in spades!

      • What wise friends you have!

  3. Pingback: An Exacting Life is One! « An Exacting Life

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