We have now been in our apartment for just over a month. It has been a month of lots of realizations. A few surprise moments. Mostly good times and a few not so fun times. For a couple who spent the last 19 years living on acreage in rural SW Montana living in the apartment has gone much better than I had imagined it would.
Confirmation: We are ready to downsize and need much less space than we imagined. After living in an apartment with less than 800 square feet we have all realized this downsize is not going to be hard. The house we are building is bigger than it needs to be we have learned this month in the apartment, even if it is smaller than our previous house. We have discovered that little rooms are just fine. A small kitchen isn’t great, but we can make it work. Lack of countertop is a little bit of a bummer, but it is not a show stopper to cooking good home cooked meals.
Discovery: We’ve never had a breakfast bar before. We have discovered we’d rather eat at a table than sit side by side for dinner looking into the kitchen. If we are going to sit side by side, we might as well sit in the living room because we actually see one another better in the living room. Our new house has the so in vogue open floor plan with an island and breakfast bar area for stools. Thank heavens it also has dining area for the table we moved.
What are your thoughts on the breakfast bar/islands with stools? Do you have them? Do you like them?
In life it is easy to get into a holding pattern. We say to ourselves when we have enough money, get a new job, get married, get divorced, have kids, the kids leave home, and the list goes on. We find ourselves in a holding pattern right now. RangerSir and I find ourselves saying when we get into the house. In reality that is a long way away and a lot of time to waste waiting.
I had not thought we were living life in a holding pattern until I got my local library card and checked out some books. I got an assortment of books: cookbooks, house organizing, watercolor painting and a retirement book. It was the retirement book that made me realize that I was putting most of my life on hold. Yes we were settled in our temporary quarters. Yes there are a lot things we can not do. But there are somethings you can do that will move you forward in the continuum of life.
I realized that journaling, cooking, painting and other creative outlets I was pursuing daily was not really moving me forward. As much I love them and the fact that often they were the only thing between me and insanity of boredom, there were not moving me forward. These are activities I do most days home, travel or in an apartment waiting for our house to be done. I realized that these were part of me. There were like breathing. I needed them desperately in these times, but they were not moving me forward.
There are lots of things we can’t do like signing up for our utilities and getting our homeowner’s insurance. Somehow we focused on those things and let it obscure what we could be doing. We could update our legal paperwork i.e. wills, health directives, pick a dentist, find an primary care doctor and so much more. We do not have to wait until we get into the house to do things like this. It doesn’t matter that we are living in an apartment in a town 50 miles from our final destination.
So don’t confuse a busy life with a life moving forward. They are not the same thing. You can busy and just existing. Don’t wait moving forward even if it is little steps.
The book I was reading is “Who Will Take Care of Me When I am Old?” by Joyce Loverde. It was not full of pages of things RangerSir and I had not thought about. It was full of reminders of what we had done right, what we might want to revisit, and even a few things that had never crossed our mind. I have since returned the book to the library and purchased a used copy for lifetime reference. I recommend it it. Planning for aging is never easy. It is a good reference.
Everything about living in the apartment is different than living in our home in Montana. It is more than the size, or that it is urban. We can’t surround ourselves with things we have collected that make our nest feel feathered because our belongings are in storage. I have found one thing in spite of all the challenges of a temporary living situation is I can cook. Feeding my family and friends has always been a way I showed love. So figuring our cooking is a step that makes this move, this place feel like home.
One of the biggest challenges in decking out the temporary kitchen is that I have a lifetime of collecting things that make an awesome kitchen. All of that is in storage, so the idea of going out and buying things I already own seems a lot pointless spending of money to me. Instead I am challenged to think about things that maybe I wanted to try, but have never done so. I am also tasked with finding things in either a thrift or discount store that will work for us for the next several months.
So far thrift store pickings have been some of the worst I have ever encountered. I’ve always found a fair number of things this way. This time and this location so far I have found no treasures. I find myself comparing prices in discount stores and Amazon. After three weeks I have managed to set up a fair kitchen.
The three big items I have purchased so far are: an instant pot, a countertop modern toaster oven, and a indoor electric grill. Stay tuned as I tell you what I discover about these purchases.