Alan and I have moved around a lot in our time together. House to house, town to town. It’s always felt like a big adventure and I don’t regret a thing.
We’ve been in our current house awhile now. Seven years this month, which, for us, is a really long time. Really long. Add that to the fact that we’ve been in our adopted city, off and on, for twenty five years and, whoa! History!
I wasn’t really paying attention to any of this until this summer when two things happened to make me realize.
We were sitting on our favourite summer patio, awaiting the arrival of our wine. Brought out by a very tall, very pleasant young man whom we’ve known since he was much shorter and helping out at his mum’s stand at the farmer’s market.
“Did you ever think that that little guy would one day be pouring us drinks?” I said to Alan. “Nope. It’s pretty cool.”
And then I bumped into the little boy who not that long ago had charmed me into buying a subscription to our local paper. He, too, is now taller than me. He was holding his niece and announced that he’d just got his first job as an airline pilot.
Location independence is a very popular topic these days. There are blogs and books and courses that tell you how to do it. You can run a business from your laptop, hop on a plane and explore the world. Adventure awaits, my friend. You never have to settle down!
And that’s pretty cool. To be able to put in your work day and then go out and explore a new city has an appeal to it. And a life of constant travel will challenge you to draw on your inner resources in a way that a more settled existence won’t.
But it’s not the only way to live a big life.
Settling in to a place, exploring it deeply, getting to know its people and its seasons. Watching it change through the years has a sweetness and a richness to it.
I kind of like the fact that I can make plans for the garden and actually follow through on at least some of them. The little staghorn sumac I planted in the backyard a few years ago has grown and multiplied. In fact, it’s taking over back there and we’ll need to get a gardener friend over in the spring to tell us which ones to prune out. The same thing is happening with the lilies and the irises I planted out front.
I was planning to paint and spruce up the kitchen this fall, but after a very busy summer, I’m just too tired for that. So it will wait for spring. There was a time in our lives when that kind of waiting wasn’t an option. We’d be selling up and moving on and things needed to get done in a hurry. That was fine for that time in our lives, this is good for now.
It’s not a matter of which lifestyle is objectively better. Some people are more drawn to one than the other. Our circumstances may dictate which one we can follow. I think it comes down to appreciating the good bits of whatever lifestyle you happen to find yourself in. Explore your surroundings. Open yourself up to the people around you. Enjoy the moment, whether those moments add up to twenty five years in the same city or a life lived at all points of the compass. We carry our joy with us, no matter where we may be.