Xan & Bob

Choices led us here…8 weeks ago

Today we celebrate eight weeks in our new home. To be honest I think we celebrate it everyday! It has been quite the adventure already and it has only just started. We still say to each other, “We live here” as we walk around the vineyard, or on the beach, or wander the streets of Sitges or as we drive to new places to explore. It has turned warm this week and the blue sky against the green of the vineyard is just breathtaking. I said to Bob today, “do you think we will get sick of the blue sky here?” I don’t ever want to take it for granted.

I am enjoying the freedom I have right now to do things that I love. Writing this blog, taking photos again, keeping a journal, going for long walks. It makes me think of all the things…busy things…that kept me from doing things that I love. I think most of us are guilty of filling our days with so much of “what needs to be done” that we don’t make time for “what we really want to do.” Trying to climb the ladder of the corporate world and when we know we really aren’t going to move up in the current company we work for we still sacrifice our personal life to prove that we are a “team player.” Work long hours, work through lunch (if we remember to eat lunch), take work home. We don’t take time off to do simple and important things like go to the doctor or dentist. If we take time off someone will notice that we aren’t there and there is always so much to be do. How many of you don’t take vacation time? How many of you lose vacation hours at the end of the year because you simply have more than the company will roll over to the next year? Think about how crazy that is. I am as guilty as the next. I skipped the routine or needed doctor’s appointments. I didn’t take the trip to California to see my Mom because…well…it just wasn’t a good time at work. Let’s be honest, there is never going to be a good time if that is the way we think. Why is this such a normal mindset now? Why are the employees who have no personal life and work all the time the ones that are deemed the “team players” but won’t necessarily be rewarded? Why is it called Work/Life Balance? Why not Life/Work Balance? Let’s start putting living first. When I look back now on what I sacrificed and where it didn’t get me it makes me all the more determined not to let it happen again.

I know this is hard. I’m sure some of you are saying, “well, you aren’t working right now and you don’t have kids and you don’t have this huge yard to take care of.” And you would be correct. But I have made choices in my life to get what I have right now. I can’t work right now which means we have taken a cut in income…this was a choice. I didn’t have children – my choice. But I do have a fabulous stepdaughter, Danielle. We no longer have a huge yard we need to take care of – again a choice. Our last yard was over half an acre covered with fabulous trees however that meant that raking was a never ending job. I spent seven hours one Saturday in the front yard raking leaves and still didn’t finish.  Seven hours out of a short two day weekend. For what?! How many weekends do we have in a lifetime? What are we spending them on?

We all have the ability to choose our path. You can make simple changes in your life to start doing more of what you want. To move here we got rid of so much stuff. Funny but we don’t miss anything. We kept what we needed and what was really sentimental to us. We misplaced something this week and laughed as we searched for it, “we don’t have enough stuff to lose it in here.” Having less stuff means keeping the house clean is much easier. We have a fairly large courtyard and today we made a fountain for it. We have put in some plants and have more to do but we also know that we want it to be easy to take care of. As my dear friend, Sondra, just texted me, “Good plan. You need to be able to care for yard in a simple manner…watering hose in one hand, glass of vino in the other!” Exactly! Bob said he has been doing this wrong…must get the vino in hand.  🙂

You see… choices. We are not looking to impress anyone with our home, our yard or the car we drive. If they don’t like something we couldn’t care less. We are happy and that is what matters. Life is too short.

So, I guess what I am trying to say on this soapbox is this. Make those choices that are right for you. Make some changes so that you have Life/Work Balance. Take care of you! Some people in your life may not be agree with your choices, some will not understand and some will outright criticize you saying that you are being selfish. Who cares? They aren’t living your life…you are…or at least you should be!

I look back on what it took us to get here and as crazy as it was and to be honest sometimes still is…I wouldn’t change it for anything. We are now living life on our terms. No, it isn’t perfect. We have plenty of frustrations but that is life. We made a choice to change our life and to make this crazy move and I for one am going to embrace it! Flaws and all.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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