Thursday, September 19, 2013

Soul Searching

A lot has been going on in the last few weeks and in some ways my life has been turned up-side-down. In other ways, it remains the same. We celebrated our 9th anniversary a week ago and got away to Manitou Springs with just the two of us. My love for Michael is still the same and the feeling we have as a team remains unchanged. Really, it's quite impressive when you think about it.

His gift for me? A journal that he wrote in every day for the last year. Every day he wrote about the things that he loves. Most of them were about things I've done, but many of them were things the girls have done. It was quite a feat - writing every day for an entire year - but the result was magical.

With the layoff, floods, down-sizing, etc... I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately and some of it has taken me by surprise. I really feel like Michael and I have made great strides this year in defining our priorities and living life to stay in alignment with them. So some of the thoughts that have come to mind in the recent weeks have taken me by surprise. Here are some, in no particular order:

In reading his journal there were a few references to how much Michael loves my blog and how we're documenting the things we love about parenthood, and how the little stories brighten his day and help him stay focused. In reading these entries, I was hit with the feeling of "Oh yeah! I love writing in my blog and I haven't been doing a good job of that lately." I've been a bit ho-hum on the whole parenting front. I wonder if the two are related. In trying to accomplish so many other things, the blog has kind of suffered for it. I really feel like that needs to change back.

Had you asked me a couple months ago what I would do if I was laid off, I would have said I'd jump all-in into the Beachbody coaching business. It would be, and is, so rewarding to help people reach their fitness and health goals, while attacking a real honest world-wide problem. So, it came as a surprise to me that when presented with the opportunity to do just that, I don't want to. I feel strongly that I'm not ready to give up my engineering background just yet. The engineering world has not seen the last of me!

Additionally, Michael has been more and more stressed by the business. What used to be the REASON he was able to improve his outlook on life and his priorities, now has become a hinder on those very same things. He has a family history of anxiety and mental break-down issues, and has started to feel some of those symptoms of anxiety for no apparent reason, other than it appears to happen when thinking and stressing about the coaching business. It's not worth it to us to risk going down that stress path. So, we are probably going to give up the coaching business all together.

We've spoken about what he would do with his time and we've come up with a few options that will really focus on the family AND his engineering career. So I am pretty excited about that. He is in a good place and feels like Beachbody and the people we've met deserve the credit for that, but it just got to a point where it was having the opposite effect on our lives than it was intended to do.

So that leaves the gnomes... I love the gnomes and their magical effects on me. I will be focusing on my gnomes again and that makes my heart sing.

As for my career, like I said... the engineering world hasn't seen the end of me. Wish me luck!

As for life in general, we've had a really big pull on our hearts to simplify. It's something we've been thinking for quite some time. I think it started when we visited my pen pal in Germany and saw how incredibly simple she lived her life. In a place that was smaller than my living room / kitchen area, she had everything she needed. Instead of it feeling crammed like we expected, it felt relaxing. It made us realize how cluttered our lives have been, even though we felt like we have done a pretty good job of living below our means. We won't go to the same extreme as what Katya lives. After all, this is America, where we simply have TONS of space that Europe does not.

But we do have a significant pull on our hearts to down-size and simplify our lives. As such, we're putting the house on the market. Once it sells, we will move into a smaller place (currently our house is 3,000 sq ft w/ 5 bedrooms and lots of extra space, and we're thinking we need 2,000 sq ft w/ 3 bedrooms and a place to exercise). We will take the remainder of our equity and use it to purchase another rental investment property. There is something about the concept of having a little place that is full of things I love that appeals to me. In our current home, the mode of operation is "We have space to fill, so we need to buy something for that corner." Instead, I want to live in the mode of "I only have so much space, so let's be sure everything in it is exactly what I want." Instead of filling the empty space with more stuff, I want to fill the space with cherished belongings.

Am I weird?

Maybe. But sometimes that's the conclusion that comes out of a major soul-searching session like the one I am still processing.

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