Monday, October 19, 2015

Living a Life you Love

Everywhere Cameron and I have lived (5 towns now), we have had people tell us the same thing. "You guys know all the places to see around here!" We've only lived here in Winslow 2 months now and we've heard that twice from people! We don't feel like we're out scouring town every night, or off on adventures every week, but somehow we do tend to know the funky little hikes around, the delicious Mom and Pop restaurants, the festivals, and the sites to see. Most are free or cheap (because that's how we roll).

Exploring where we live is important to us. It is a vital part of our relationship as a couple, our relationship as a family, and our relationship with ourselves. We'd felt this way from the start of our marriage but last year an article from the #StayMarried blog gave us more of a social-scientific explanation: "There is a term in sociology called the 'crescive bond' - the bond created between people through shared experiences - which is vital for healthy family relationships."
"Families have memories, inside jokes, and crazy stories together. However dysfunctional family can be, the thing that brings us back together over and over again is that crescive bond and those irreplaceable memories. Taking a trip together, whether it's a two hour road trip, or an international adventure, helps create those shared experiences much more than simply going through the motions of your everyday life." 

Now, we love our Netflix binges every now and again. We love evenings at home. But sometimes we get in a rut and that's all we do. It's these times that our relationship suffers, our satisfaction with life suffers, and we find ourselves less happy with ourselves. It's so easy to come up with reasons to not do things. We're too tired. It's getting close to Darrow's bedtime. We're broke. I'm cranky. Cameron has lesson plans to write. You can ALWAYS find an excuse. 

However, when we get past our excuses and just do it we find out this exact thing over and over again:

It's so true! Going on a sunset walk through the artsy district of town doesn't really give me ideas on how to be a better mom to Darrow, but it does make me feel closer to my family and want to serve them more (and my family is definitely part of my work!). Touring a historic building doesn't give Cameron much by way of lesson material for his Biology class, but he feels so much more relaxed and has more of a clear mind when he is working on his lesson plans. And Darrow is much much happier when we get out of the house and do anything even for 10 inspires his play and obedience.

Now Cameron and I are horrible budgeters. Horrible!! We'd love to take big international trips, but we also really love that mole enchilada from E&O's Restaurant, taking last minute car rides out to see a local site, making new food at home together, and visiting family. When we look at the big picture we can't say that a big trip to Scotland would make us happier than doing these small things we love. We've come to learn that creating a life we love is so much more important than trying to escape a life we hate every now and again for an occasional fun vacation only to have to come back to our dreaded existence. Some people are lucky enough to afford both, but that's not us right now. And I imagine that's not many of you either. So instead of dreaming of escape, we've learned to make our lives something we don't mind living in. Something we love.

Now, of course there are things that are less that awesome about life. Jobs aren't ideal. Kids can be tough. Houses never stay clean. Things get hard. But there will always be hard, dumb, and less than savory things in life at any given time. The trick is to not focus on those. The trick is to learn to love life despite the trials and the mundane. 

Easy to type. Easy to agree with. NOT EASY to do. But Not Easy doesn't mean Impossible.

We've come up with our approach to this. We've found ways to build lives we love no matter where we live. Tiny house, ranch house in mountains, desert apartment, student life, parents life, summer jobs, etc. Are we happy 100% of the time and always optimistic and cheery. Of course not! But we've learned how to be content, and that is a huge step towards finding happiness in life no matter where you are. Learning to be content has taken us some years and a lot of work, but it has changed us and how we look at life. It made this recent move so much easier and more enjoyable. It's been a game-changer in our happiness as a couple, a family, and as individuals. 

Each day this week I'm going to share one thing we do to build lives we love and to become content with what we have rather than pining over what we're missing out on. I realize this approach won't be everyone's cup of tea, but maybe this will inspire you somehow if you're looking for a way to build a life you love.

I can't wait to see you tomorrow morning for Tip #1!

Links to each Tip will go live when the posts are published on the blog (7AM MST Tuesday-Saturday this week)

Tip #1: Explore Where You Live 
Tip #2: Just Do It
Tip #3: Be the Bright Spot
Tip #4: Serve
Tip #5: Try New Things


  1. Welcome to Arizona!

    I have a word for you: micro-vacation. I made it up as a term for my practice of taking just an hour or two to go somewhere exciting locally. It came up because I had neither time nor money for even a weekend away, so I stopped in Old Town Scottsdale in the way home from work and browsed everything touristy -- and it was actually enough of a break without the hassle of a big trip. So I do that a lot around here.

  2. You follow #Staymarried!!! I love that blog and I actually went to church with Michelle and Tony Peterson for a short time. They are a great couple. My husband and I always find small ways to explore our local area and have mini getaways twice a year. So far we've just been exploring our state but once the kids are older I would love to travel more with him. Its wonderful that you can find contentment where ever you are :)

    1. I love the #staymarried blog! Glad to find another reader! And how fun that you actually know them!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.