The Irreverent Professor

Unvarnished realities about life, teaching, learning, and change in this wild, wild world

Archive for the tag “beach”

Things That Make My Life Easier

When we moved to our dream location last year, we vowed to live a “simpler, smaller life.”  Who knew that the biggest challenge to living simpler and smaller would be…me?  A lifetime of indoctrination into the world of more and bigger is not easy to overcome.  It requires a serious mindset shift.  And I slip…a lot.

Watching my husband set off on his bike to the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner just now made me think of some of the things we’ve put in place to keep our lives simpler and smaller.

Our beach bungalow

Our beach bungalow

  1. We right-sized our house.  Ok, technically we down-sized.  We have lived in homes as big as 3500 sq. ft. and as small as 1200 sq. ft.  The truth is, our needs are small and simple.  We need three bedrooms: one for us, one for our son, and one (or a den) to use as a home office since we both work from home.  Check.  We need a kitchen.  Check. We need a place to eat (dining room).  Check. We need a family gathering place (living room). Check. We had to get rid of about half of our furniture when we moved and I had to get rid of about half of my clothes since we now share a closet.  I don’t miss any of it.   That we have a front porch is a bonus.  That we added a (bug-free!) screened in back porch is positively decadent!  Sure, I would love to have a proper guest room for the occasional guests we have.  But guests are rare and we make due with air mattresses and a trundle when we do have some.
  2. We have a housekeeper. A splurge.  Worth the money and a great time-saver.  The time we don’t spend cleaning house is spent with each other.  This morning my husband and I took a walk on the beach together while our house was being cleaned
  3. We order our groceries online. Any chance my husband gets to avoid talking to a human being, he does so this works great for him.  We order online, swing through to the special lane at Harris Teeter to pick them up, and bring them home. Probably less impulse buying too.
  4. We use HelloFresh for meals.  We love it!  It has given my husband (the cook) three new menus to try each week (they take about 30 minutes to prepare) and the fresh food comes boxed to our door. Less waste and some new tastes!
  5. We did have a yard guy, but he wasn’t helping keep our plants alive and I can kill them myself without paying him to do it.  And we only have a tiny swath of grass that I could cut with a pair of scissors in about 30 minutes (but won’t).
  6. Next thing I want to try is Stitch Fix which will do my clothes shopping for me.  They surely will do a better job than I do for myself (I’m fashion-challenged and will wear shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops any chance I get).

I know some of my simplifying measures are just paying other people to do things for us.  But that’s the great thing about it…we would rather pay people to do some of the things for us that we don’t like to do than pay for a giant house or newer cars or rounds of golf or whatever.  Everyone’s different.  But these things make our lives easier and we don’t feel like we’re sacrificing anything.  Others might really want a golf club membership but be willing to clean their own house.  It’s all about prioritizing.  And everyone’s priorities are different.

The one area in which I just can’t seem to simplify is pets.  We have three cats and a dog.  That’s a lot of fur in a small house.  (Thank goodness for Swiffer.)  But it’s also a lot of pet love. And while that doesn’t make my life smaller or simpler, it makes it more wonderful.

Autumn, the latest addition to our family

Autumn, the latest addition to our family

Carpe easier!

To Endings…and New Beginnings

This weekend I attended a college graduation.  It wasn’t my graduation.  And it wasn’t my first graduation.  As a professor (and serial student myself), I have attended a few graduations.  What made this graduation different is that it may have been my last.

Look at all the shiny, happy almost-college-graduates

Look at all the shiny, happy almost-college-graduates!

I resigned from my professor job to move to the place where my heart is and has always been.  The place I call “home” even though I haven’t lived there in 20 years.  The place I grew up, learned to ride a bike, had my first crush, my first love, my first heartbreak.  My first prom, my first…well, nevermind.  You get the gist.

I resigned from my professor job because…well, I’m not really sure why.  My husband said, “Why don’t we move home?”  And I said ok.  We move about every three or four years at the suggestion of one or the other of us, so this wasn’t a shocking idea. But for the first time, we are moving for the quality of our lives and not for our careers.  And that makes it very different.  But home is the where of our happiness so it must be a good thing… right?

I have mixed feelings about this ending.  Although I’m excited to be moving “home,” I’m not sure what this new beginning means for me.  Sure, it means living at the beach (yay!).  And it means raising my son in the place where I grew up (yay yay!).  But what does it mean for ME, you know, professionally?  My husband teleworks, so he takes his job with him.  But I’ve been working at a brick and mortar university.  And now I’m…not.

Beach boy

Beach boy

People keep asking, “So what are you going to be doing?”  Some persistently believe I’m retiring at 47 despite my efforts to dissuade them of the notion (it probably doesn’t help that my flippant answer to the question is occasionally “be a kept woman.”  It’s a joke!).   Answering “I have no idea” seems to make people uncomfortable (including me) and if I’m not mistaken, I’ve gotten a few pitying looks…and a few envious ones.  🙂

My goal is to relax, get quiet, and spend a few months figuring out who I am.  I call it a self-imposed sabbatical, in keeping with the professorial mindset.  Marlo Thomas (whose awesome webcast I attended last week) would probably say It Ain’t Over and Jane Pauley (whose book Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life I am reading now) might call it a step toward reimagining my life.

Endings are difficult…but exciting, because they mean new beginnings.  New beginnings are scary…but exciting because anything is possible.

Carpe new beginnings.

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