Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another Baby Step

I've shared before that my plan is to downsize tremendously and to live totally debt free. For me, the two go hand-in-hand and form (with my spiritual beliefs) the foundation for living authentically. While I know I've come a long way, I am still far from being the world's most patient person. Between my own nature and the relentless reminders from the calendar that time is zipping by far faster than I want it to, I often long for the ability to snap my fingers and instantly be living the simplified life I long for.

Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way. Yes, you read that correctly; I crossed through "unfortunately". When I first wrote this blog entry I went on to in that vein for awhile -- why I'm chomping at the bit, the advantages of being able to make instant changes, yada yada. Then I took a lunch-and-reading break, and it hit me. Having to wait awhile to live my "dream life" is not "unfortunate"; in fact, taking only baby steps can be wonderful. I sat back down at the computer and deleted 99.5% of my post. Instead of lamenting the snail's pace of my life changes, I'm going to share why I'm celebrating the baby steps I'm taking.

First of all, smaller decisions are easier for me to make. The choices don't seem so overwhelming, and I don't freeze in the face of unknown, seemingly-gigantic consequences. Additionally, small actions give me the freedom to take a step in what I think is the right direction and then pause to see if that action has positive (or even just neutral) consequences. If the consequences aren't favorable, they are almost sure to be minor and can be corrected fairly easily.  I won't have gone too far down a particular path to change course. Of course, small steps give me time to adjust to each change. As much as I love brand new, exciting situations, I've come to realize that even positive changes on a grand scale take their toll physically and emotionally.

So baby steps it is. And the next step began the week I returned from England, when I accepted an offer on my house. Putting the house on the market was a fairly big step, but it was made easier because I signed the listing contract right at the busiest time of the semester, when my mind was more on work than on my housing situation; when the semester ended, I was busy with Christmas and with preparing to go to England. Between all of the things going on, I rarely even thought of the fact that my house was on the market. The last 3 months it was listed, I was out of the country -- free from realtor calls, wondering what potential buyers thought, etc.

I arrived back in the states on a Saturday to an offer. Thankfully, my realtor and the potential buyers understood that I was unable to give it much thought right then, and they graciously gave me some time to settle back in. Six days later, we had a contract. I may not be moving very soon, though. The buyers just listed their current home, and the contingency contract calls for their house to sell first. I'm very much at peace with that and am confident that everything will continue to work out as it should.

Now I'm taking even tinier baby steps to prepare for the move. I've begun selling (more) things I don't need or use, and I'm considering ways other than a garage sale to move a larger quantity of items with the least commotion and stress. No matter what strategies I decide to use, I'm going to relax and enjoy the baby steps to the best of my ability!


  1. A saving grace when I was clearing out vast amounts of square-footage items I'd not been able to sell was to use whatever that "free" section of Craigslist is called. I'd list things for a Saturday a.m., put them out front of my house, and I'd do a happy dance when I'd notice the cleared spot in the driveway. I used my bed till a couple days before moving. I listed queen mattress ensemble (gently used) for giveaway on Craigs, and received so many heart rending stories in emails that I wished I'd had 20 of them to give. The other source of removal for me was a set of family room furniture (from the extinct pine factory chain) that our local Habitat approved via photos I supplied, and they brought their truck and collected. Smaller household and computer related items were picked up by Purple Heart on more than a dozen trips over a period of a year.

  2. What wonderful ideas, Dena! I didn't realize Craigslist had a "free" section (have only been to Craigslist to check it out a handful of times) and love the idea of putting a bunch of items out on a Saturday morning and watching them disappear. I've never heard of Purple Heart but will check it out. Up to now, my donated items have either made a 2-hour car trip with me back home so I could take them to a resale shop benefiting a shelter for bettered women (and their children) or to a charity shop where I live now. I've not been real comfortable with the charity shop here (for a couple of reasons) and don't have time to make the trip home right now, so I'm definitely going to check into other options.