Plans change, or in our case, have to be thrown out the window. Dreams of tropical luciousness in an equatorial paradise, where our children frolic in the sand and we find our calling for the next journey have been seriously altered. There’s no money. Damn the money! You would think that both of us working, paying no mortgage or school tuition, would create a pretty hefty savings for all the adventure we have planned, but life seems to be costing a bit too much. We still have our bills, our debts, student loans, paired with my need for good, organic food and m’s need for musical accessories. Other money-saving drawbacks involve childcare costs and feeding and clothing my eight-year-old in a 13 year-old’s body. I guess my version of “living simply” is not quite simple enough. We don’t have enough cash to fly us anywhere at the moment- we don’t even have enough to get us to New Jersey. So, now, I’m rethinking adventure.
One of the reasons we want to go abroad is to be free from the financial stress we’ve been living in the last nine years. We are both educated and work hard, but never have caught up with the expenses we have or the things we need to live comfortably in our society. The dream is to live where happiness is not measured in big screen TVs and SUVs. To not worry about how to pay for groceries and keep the lights on at the same time. To redefine what we consider commodities. To relax. These are things we desire, but as I think of them, it is what we have here.
We don’t have enough money to take our family to Bali, but we do have enough to live the way we want here, in the valley next to the orchard. It is free. Not in terms of money, but in liberty. Not in terms of patriotism, but in wildness. I awake in the morning and watch the sun rise over the hills illuminating the frosted grass in pink and red. I watch the deer and heat a kettle on the stove. I do Yoga. Wake the kids and start our simple, beautiful day. It is fall and the trees look like fire, coloring our drive to school and waking us up because they are so bright. We arrive at the farm where people are smiling and animals are mooing and baa-ing for breakfast and the kindergarten always smells like lavender and apple pie. I walk to my simple job and cook with amazing food while talking to magical people who don’t own SUVs and probably don’t even have a TV. Everything is slow and people always have time. There are things to eat everywhere- in the woods, from friends, and even from strangers. My children are starting to take for granted the kind people offering fruit and vegetables from their yard. The community is small but diverse and offers so many possibilities. I have already fallen in love with several women and new friend crushes develop every day. There are children everywhere, running amuck in big, sticky masses and enough adults around to not worry about them too much. I pick up my kids and we look for mushrooms or drink chocolate milk from the farm store. We go home, make dinner and run around with the dog. I yell and get frustrated because I feel alone with them, then we all make up and snuggle in our warm beds. I go to bed content with the quiet and feel free. We have enough to sustain this lifestyle. Enough right here.
Is this an adventure? Do they have to be challenging and exotic or can they just be something new that revives the soul? To be disappointed in not being able to go away at the end of the year feels like a scam. Deep down, I don’t feel sad, just boring.
For now, we are on a new savings plan- hoping for at least a vacation when the snow gets old and I’m tired of scraping my windshield every morning. Tropical luciousness will be waiting with the next adventure, but for now the excitement lies in the maple leaves that remind us of the light.