A Contented Life
I’ve talked before, in generalities, about how we are creating our “ideal lifestyle“. But, you might wonder what that really looks like. This post attempts to paint that picture. The contented life we want to live is also the experience we hope to share with family, friends, and guests of Cairn Creek.
In short, after 25 years of running a successful business (Brian) and working a stress-inducing, full-time job in management and human resources (Jennifer), we are intentionally creating a softer, gentler way of living. A slower, less chaotic, more contented rhythm to the days. Less rushing from place to place, task to task. More time spent doing the things we both enjoy most. Hanging out with the people we most want to spend time with. Accomplishing the things that are most important to us.
We recognize this is a process. We know we can’t live this harried lifestyle today and then just flip a switch into the “ideal” contented life. So, we’re easing into this more calm and relaxed lifestyle. We are making gradual shifts to our work, our budget, and our tolerance for calm… now!
This transition is teaching us how to be more mindful of how we’re spending our time and more intentional about the things we commit to. We are creating more space in our current lives and occupations. We’re looking hard at all areas of our lives to root out the non-essential. We’re learning more about what we actually want our lives to look like. It’s the ultimate journey!
Several ways we’re approaching this shift include:
Dialing back the work
I work in an environment that is always changing (who doesn’t, right?). Recently, I’ve been given the gift of a role that is a better fit for me and my strengths. By removing myself from the political aspect of my work world I have become freer to do what I’m best at each day. The schedule and stress are more manageable and I don’t feel like I’m living and breathing my job. I’m excited as Spring and Summer approach to have the time and energy to get back to doing the things I most enjoy.
Brian has also made a few subtle shifts that are allowing him to schedule his work in a more favorable way. He is less at the mercy of the late night calls and can plan his days around both work and other activities he enjoys. He can “test” these approaches to his work while we’re here and know what works best when we move to our new community.
Dialing back the budget
We have always been big fans of Dave Ramsey (there’s a whole other story of why that is here!) and I credit that program, and our dedication to working the program over many years, to our current abilities to pursue our ideal lifestyle. Ramsey is known for his quote about living like no one else. Honestly, this has been the secret to our success.
Our sacrifices were greater in the beginning but ultimately, we’ve never gone without. Rather, we have made conscious choices that have supported the lifestyle we want. Our biggest focus since paying off all of our debt years ago has been to continue to live debt free.
Over the past decade, we have borrowed money to improve our home and property. However, these purchases have been intentional, with short terms, and a solid payoff plan in place. Bottom line, we don’t live beyond our means! This alone provides so much peace. This will also be what allows us to make our move without the heaviness of debt hanging over our heads.
Dialing back the chaos
Chaos, for me, comes in many forms. My inner nature is to be still and grounded. I feel the bubbling up of chaos sooner and more intensely than others it seems. This doesn’t mean I’m fragile – I can take the storm – I just don’t like how it feels and it takes me more time to recover. Dialing back the chaos and creating a tolerance for calm is important to my sanity.
I keep the calm by scheduling out my week so that all the big things don’t happen at once (this also leaves room to handle things that inevitably pop up).
Simple daily and weekly routines help to automate regular tasks and activities so they don’t turn urgent and stressful.
Learning to care less about what others think or how others do things is helping me find my own comfort zone.
Finally, self-care is something I just suck at (always have!). So, I’ve intentionally added moments of self-care to my week. Waking up with my morning routine of coffee, yoga, and a short meditation set the tone for the day. On a busy day, taking a short walk over lunch helps me clear my head. Letting myself relax into my evenings and weekends by balancing errands with fun activities and time to just read a book or take a nap helps me feel like I’ve actually had a break.
Dialing up the JOY!
It’s not all about what we’ve cut out! Be assured there is so much more that has been added by eliminating the non-essential. Slowing down is giving us the ability to be in the moment more often and enjoy the task at hand. When our schedules aren’t packed and we’re not rushing from task to task, trying to get it all done (P.S. it’s never done!), we have the space to pay attention to our world and the people in it; to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
Being present in your day, and in your life, is so important because you’ll never get that time back. If you miss it, it’s gone. I’ve come to learn that while big accomplishments and grand ideas give us an amazing sense of accomplishment, they are scattered here and there throughout our lives. The best things in life are experienced by having margins – space between our load and our limits.
So this is the experience we will create with Cairn Creek! A place and a space to experience a slower pace, a simpler approach. A lifestyle we can enjoy every day rather than one we need to escape from. A place to relax your soul, to experience adventure however you define it, and to renew your vision and your purpose!
Thank you for following along on our journey. We can’t wait to share more after our Spring Break trip!