Like many people, I suppose, I strive to “live in the moment” more. It seems I’ve spent my entire adult life looking ahead to the next step of my journey and not savouring where I am at the time.
The most recent shift in my life came 1.5 years ago when we moved from our urban 2-bedroom apartment to a suburban house with a yard. I was so excited about the move; while I loved our old neighbourhood, the apartment faced North and got little daylight. Now light streams in from all sides, all day. We also have a huge wrap-around deck. In the summer months it extends our living area to the outside. There is a huge yard with a play structure and plenty of room for me to grow vegetables.
But it’s not “ours”. We are renters. For many years now I have desperately wanted to own a home. It wasn’t long after moving to this house that I began to sour on it, seeing how much I wanted to change and couldn’t. For the past year or two I have been focussed on The Next Step in our lives, purchasing a home. We’ve saved up, the market is dropping, all was going according to plan, and I could think of almost nothing else.
Then Husband got laid off. He couldn’t find work, so he started his own business working from home. He’s not making the money he used to (not yet, anyways) but wow, is it ever wonderful having both of us at home (now that we’ve got a schedule for ourselves, that is!). I realized a little while ago that I didn’t want to him to work out of the home anymore, that I was willing to forgo a higher income to maintain our wonderful lifestyle.
And with that acceptance, an amazing transformation happened that really surprised me. I began to fall in love with the Now.
Between training for a 10km race and geocaching with Daughter I’ve been discovering many new trails and green spaces in our area lately. We essentially live on the side of a heavily forested mountain. Neighbourhoods are connected by paved walking trails that wind through small sections of forest and cross ravines where fish still spawn. There are dozens of hiking trails. Nearby is a massive Conservation Reserve where a wide, paved service road runs 11 km through a spectacular alpine valley to a region of Old Growth forest. Here are just a few photos, all taken nearby:
So while I dislike the manicured lawn aesthetic of our suburban residential street, in minutes I can immerse myself in the kind of soul-lifting natural beauty that brings me closest to a spiritual experience. I have heard the great horned owl calling, mornings are filled with birdsong from chickadees and warblers and sparrows. The staccato sound of Pileated Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers is like a musical drumbeat. And the other day while running through a wooded area I passed underneath a Black-Eyed Junco, sitting on a low-hanging branch singing his heart out. How lucky am I?
As for the house, my perspective on being a renter has mysteriously “righted” itself again. Instead of seeing the things I want to change, lately I see a whole lot of money I don’t need to spend, and headaches I don’t need to take on. Life feels simple, and free. And I’m grateful for the Now.