Recently my hubby and I were leisurely walking at a farmers market and the woman asked me, “What do you do?” When I told her we’re traveling and exploring the world, she said, “Good for you! So many people talk about and dream about being free, but no one does it.” Of all my friends, no one is doing what my hubby and I are doing.
In 2019, my hubby and I both knew we wanted to make a BIG change in our life and housing. It was time to shed the ‘big ole house’ that we had lived in for 11 plus years. Why? The house no longer fit us. It was like we wore gorgeous size 10 shoes but they just didn’t fit into our size 5 feet. Our three kids had flown out of the nest, and the home that housed 7 people, now housed two. So our once, comfortable home felt uncomfortable. Most of the rooms we filled with furniture that was no longer used. Our beautiful home had to go.
So, we decided to make a huge shift in our lifestyle. Along the way, we’ve learned a few things about letting go.
Here are 5 steps to let go of the past and make room for the future.
- Discard anything holding you back. It took so much more time and energy to get rid of our ‘stuff’ than we could have imagined. We had to move 3 generations of ‘stuff’’. We had to let go of much of Bob’s parents stuff, our stuff and our children’s stuff. This was no easy feat, yet totally necessary.
Marie Kondo talks about discarding anything that doesn’t give you joy. Nearly everything we had held sentimental value and brought me joy. We had to go deeper than that. So, the question that really helped us shed decades of coveted items was –
“Would I buy this item again today?”
Oooohhh, that question cut through the clutter faster than a ginsu knife. Here’s the thing, we collect so much that fits in a certain season and after that season is over, it’s time to bless someone else with your items.
2. Feel your feelings (with limits).
So many emotions are guaranteed to surface when you’re making a big move. Sometimes those emotions can feel overwhelming and like a tidal wave that is washing over you.
Recognize and acknowledge the emotions and express them. If you’re feeling upset, reach out to others. You’ll want to express your emotions with limits. Ask yourself the question:
Is this helping me or harming me?
Say things like:
- I feel sad and empty .
- I feel guilty.
- This is uncomfortable.
- I feel lonely.
Realize that when you express your emotions they will shift. Stick with the uncomfortable feelings and let the feeling bubble up and out.
Realize that the pain will pass. Even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
3, Embrace uncertainty and live in day tight compartments.
I have said, “I don’t know” more times in the last couple of months than I have in decades. Life does not come with a GPS for everything you need to know.
Know that each person has a different tolerance level for change and uncertainty. Honor your level of comfort or discomfort.
My husband is fine with getting up and going with the flow. I’m a planner and find comfort in routines. When everything is up in the air everyday, I get very antsy.
4. Hold a vision of the future.
What do you really want? Where are you moving to? Those are the questions you want to answer before you make a big jump. Long before we put our house on the market, we came up with the type of lifestyle we wanted. We traveled to different areas of the country and tried them on for size.
Come up with a list of what you really want. When we were thinking of areas we created our priorities. Don’t rely on others to create your ideal life, it’s yours and whoever you’re bringing along.
Here’s a short list of what we wanted in our next place.
- Natural beauty and weather most of the year.
- Proximity to our families in Atlanta and Connecticut.
- Creative culture.
- Intellectual pursuits. We want to be near a college to take classes and / or teach.
- Food scene. We’re foodies and want a place that offers a variety of unique style restaurants and farmers markets.
- Convenient amenities – airport, shopping and high quality medical care.
- Mid size city.
- Near water. The closer the better!
- Strong sense of community with activities like festivals, parades, etc.
- Chemistry – Does the area feel like a good fit and like ‘home’.
5. Stay connected with loved ones. Traveling and not having a home can feel exhilarating and adventurous. It can also feel incredibly lonely and stressful.
Be open to continually changing and realize that you can change again if things don’t fit. Stay connected with your values and flexible with your vision. As you go, you will grow. New information will inform new decisions.
At this point, we’re traveling and renting homes through VRBO. We’re planning for the next few months and staying about a month ahead of our next adventure.
We must let go of so much to make room for the new.
Ultimately, we believe we made the right decision to let go of our home and area. We’re moving in the direction of our dreams and wonderful new opportunities are opening up.