When the world turns upside down, things shake loose. Curiously, after the dust settles and you take a look around, you may just find that those things that were falling fast, needed to go anyway.
The loss of nearly everything in the real estate market crash of 2008-2009, coupled with the sobering reality of back-to-back job losses, caused us to look at life and our expectations of it from a different perspective. Finding ourselves plunked down soundly in the center of financial and economic square one after nearly twenty years of building our life together made us numbly sit down and take stock. What was most important to us in this life, really? The well-paying job in a city we didn't love? The large mortgage payment and other debt? The compound stress of trying to make ends meet when the jobs went away?
As we slogged the torn battlefields of emotional upheaval and loss, we began to listen more closely to the quiet desires that were with us all along, yet had, somewhere along the line, been drowned out by the rumble of the American Dream.
Those quiet desires began to bring a new vision to focus. They began to write for us a returning to who we really are - country kids from Montana - but with a new interpretation. It was a small vision that was large with life. And everything about it pointed toward simplicity.
The great simplicity shift began slowly for us, in both conscious and subconscious ways. We began by carefully considering what could stay and what had to go. We gave up much. We gave away much. We sold much. But we gained even more. We moved to small-town Wyoming. We moved to ancient mountains, clear streams, and clean air. For us, financial security was no longer linked to the size of the portfolio or the potential of real estate holdings; financial security now meant zero debt and a job well loved. Home security meant building a 665 square foot portable guest cabin, placing it on rented land, and living there while saving our cash to buy land and build a house. Life security meant adjusting parameters to ensure more time for passions, and less for obligations.
A new and simple life had come to pass.
We look back now on the bit we've come, and we can't help but smile. Now, we live with intention; purpose marks our days as we learn and we grow, with falling down and rising up, in this new life.
We've traded burdens for breath.
We will never go back.