A little more than a month ago, my husband and I sold our house in Tennessee, loaded up the moving truck and headed south. It was the culmination of a long and sometimes extremely stressful journey, but the end result was worth it. I’d long wanted to live near the beach, even though I have no plans to actually go in or on the water itself. I like being water-adjacent. 🙂 It’s peaceful, relaxing, warmer! We raced out of Nashville right after we signed the papers selling our house, in between two snowstorms.
Our journey to a simpler, less-stressful life actually goes back about four years. That’s when my husband retired early after being severely burned out by his corporate job. To me, it was worth losing his salary to see him put himself on a road to being physically and mentally healthier. The difference in him between then and now is huge. He’s happier and that makes me happier.
About a year later, I lost my mom. It was heartbreaking, and I had to get through the first year of the grieving process before I was finally ready to make some big changes in my life. That’s when we started what I like to call The Great Culling — selling belongings on eBay and Craigslist, having yard sales, hauling stuff off to the Goodwill or giving it to friends. We had way too much stuff for two people. And our house was too big, too expensive to maintain. While most people don’t think of Tennessee as a cold state, I was still miserable from about November through at least March. There was occasional snow and ice and single-digit temps. None of that made me happy. Quite the opposite. And dreary, cloudy days usually accompanied the cold weather.
I’d wanted to live at the beach, or at least nearby, for a long time. So we made that our goal. Last year we went through some very stressful renovations to the house to help it sell, two different contractors, and having the first two buyers back out. I fell and broke my wrist, had surgery and rehab and all the lovely medical bills that come with that. When we finally signed the papers selling our house to the third buyers, I almost couldn’t believe what I’d dubbed the Year of Suck was over.
We didn’t know if we would buy or rent, so we booked a vacation condo for a bit more than a month. We leave here tomorrow for our apartment. We’re going to try apartment living again for a year to see if we like it. We haven’t lived in an apartment in more than 15 years, but the idea of not having to do yard work or be responsible for maintenance and having way less space to clean is attractive at this point. Will we feel the same in a year? We’ll see. I like the flexibility it gives us, too. If we wanted to up and move somewhere else in a year, we could without having to worry about selling a house.
We’re also cutting the cable cord and going with streaming. This relieves the frustration of having to deal with cable companies, their random price hikes and mysterious hidden fees. We’re trying to get fitter and healthier. We’ve been walking almost every day since we arrived in Florida. It’s not a trial when you’re staring at the sparkling water of the Gulf of Mexico. Our new apartment complex has an exercise room, so we’ll be making use of that as well. And eating better. I’ve lost count of how many shrimp I’ve eaten since we arrived here. 🙂
The hubby, though retired at an early age from a “day job,” stays busy with the financial stuff to make sure we can continue to live this less-stressful life and still pay our bills. He’s also the main cook and deals with all the time-suck activities such as figuring out our health care insurance, things that would take away from my writing and editing time and probably make me pull my hair out.
It’s taken a while for us to get here, but I’m looking forward to seeing what our new life has in store and exploring the area. If all of my besties would just move here, too, it would be perfect. 🙂 Making big changes are often scary, mainly because we get in a set pattern and place and it’s hard to heave ourselves out of it. Change is hard. But I believe sometimes in life, making the big change is exactly what’s needed.