We hope the first 9 days of your 2017 have been going splendidly. The past month for us has been a time to slow down, enjoy the holidays and get off the road for a bit. Homer the camper has been quietly tucked into his spot on my sister’s driveway, probably feeling a little abandoned as we live it up indoors.
After we arrived in Texas, we promptly went from the 60 degree weather in TX to the negative whatever degrees cold of Iowa to celebrate Christmas with Marc’s family. We played cards and built gingerbread houses and opened presents. Just the simple act of being together is what we loved the most. We got in a few days earlier than what we told Marc’s Mom so we could surprise her at her retirement party and the look on her face was one of the best moments of the trip. We hope she loves retirement!
Honestly we’ve never been truly lavish gift givers, but we have typically bought presents for those much-loved kids in our lives. This year, with no income and living off our savings, even those presents weren’t really in the budget. We consciously decided that the thing we wanted the most was time with the people we loved and the gifts didn’t really matter much.
As our Christmases grew nearer, I found myself fighting the urge to just run out and get something small to wrap up and put under the tree – then, at least they would have something to open from us. But I held strong and resisted the voice (it kind of sounded like Michael Scott’s voice from The Office) that told me buying gifts would somehow prove how much we love them. I had to remind myself multiple times that there were other great ways to let people know how much we appreciate them in our lives.
In Texas, we made each person’s favorite holiday cookie or treat for them. We were so glad to do these things and they were fun ways to spend time with each other and create memories and experiences. I admit to twinges of guilt as we sat there opening presents, but when it was all over it was the right thing for us to do this year and the guilt faded quickly as I realized it was just as fun as other Christmases when we spent money on gifts. Sometimes we get glimpses into how some families with kids struggle with the influx of toys into their homes and the work it takes to keep them clean, organized, and stored. Knowing how much time we spent on downsizing our own home before the trip, it felt good to know we weren’t contributing to anyone else’s full houses either. This was such a treasured holiday season for us having been uprooted for the past 9 months. It reinforced one of the biggest life lessons we have gained – most of us need less things and more of each other.
We spent the last hours of 2016 playing board games and drinking fancy cocktails with our favorite Texans. I love how Texans go crazy with the fireworks on New Years. When you walk outside at midnight, you can see fireworks in every direction and it sounds like a festive warzone.
I have always been a sucker for the New Year and the feeling of a fresh start. I’m not typically a resolution maker because I’ve never kept a resolution in my life, but I do love the turning of the calendar as a reminder to look back on what has been and look forward on what is to come. It is such an exciting time in our lives because we don’t know exactly what 2017 will bring us. The biggest change is that we have decided to land back home in Colorado in another month or so! So 2017 will be full of changes and transitions and decisions. Stay tuned for our next post that explains more about why we decided to head home!
We hope that 2017 brings lots of new adventures. We have two wishes for you this New Year:
1)That you experience more of the things that matter and less of the things that don’t, even though sometimes it’s hard to figure out which category to put something in.
2)That you remember this life is really just learning by trial and error. Nobody has it all figured out. So keep trying, keep exploring, keep learning. We all are.
Sarah & Marc