Staying Childish Through Adulthood

Being childish or childlike as an adult is often seen as an insult. The words imply a selfishness and immaturity which is looked down upon in modern society. Who would want to work with someone, or hang out with someone so childish? Well, my husband likes to remind me that I married ” a 5 year old” on a regular basis. While often this references his sense of humor it also refers to his outlook on life. In his own non-childlike words he just doesn’t give very many shits about anything. Like a child he lives in the moment. He finds extreme joy when doing something he enjoys doing. He prioritizes those things that bring him joy even if that means pushing the to-do list aside (who am I kidding, I’m the list-maker in this relationship). He regularly tells me that I give WAAAY to many shits but has assured me I am getting better. I believe I am. I certainly am not letting things get to me as much as I have in the past, my lists remain but get pushed aside more often for fun or relaxation. I embracing the child I was and in doing so I’m learning about what is actually important to me.

As a child I loved climbing trees, and exploring the woods around my house. When taken to a park I would create elaborate missions and spy on the other kids, especially my siblings. At home I enjoyed outdoor activities more than indoors but when inside you would find me reading or doing some kind of craft project. One thing is constant through all of these activities. I was always 100% in. I never had worries festering in the back of my mind as I played or created. I wasn’t thinking about my to-do list or that project due at the end of the week. I was in the moment and enjoying every second of it. In fact I could care less about the clock. I would do these fun activities until someone told me I had to stop, until someone was the “adult”. Now I am the “adult”. The clock runs my life it seems most days. I’m always thinking of the next thing that has to happen, always maintaining the schedule. Luckily I’ve realized my (and most of society’s) obsession with the clock. While my weekdays are pretty tightly scheduled, we keep our weekends at a pretty relaxed pace and once a month we try to go “camping” where we follow the schedule of the sun. My watch comes off at the beginning of those weekends and doesn’t get put back on until Monday morning. It is incredibly freeing. I’m learning to tune back into the joys of the everyday moment and let myself do what I want. I’m being selfish and childish and I love it.Time to get outside!

Looking closely I also see direct correlations between these childhood joys and my current passions. I still love being outdoors which is why this tiny lifestyle works so well for me. I would rather be out exploring nature, or at least sitting outside, than inside any day. For many years during college and the start of my career, I allowed myself to forget how much being outdoors inspires me and calms my racing mind. It was only on vacations or the occasionally scheduled hike on weekends that I would glimpse that shimmer of joy that I used to relish. But always at the end of the time I would tuck it away and go back to my regularly scheduled program.  Not anymore. With this shift in our lifestyles we’ve decided to prioritize our time outdoors. Even though for now we are both still working full-time and don’t have the freedom to choose our location, like we soon will, we still spend a large amount of our time outdoors. From eating dinner on the patio, to walks with the dogs, to hiking and camping on the weekends, you will find us trying to be outside as much as possible. Occasionally, even in southern Arizona, we have some dreary days where the weather outside is not conducive to being out and about. I actually relish these days now. These are the days to be creative inside. To read an entire book if I want. Or research topics I’m interested in. Or work on my newest knitting project. Foul weather is the perfect opportunity to engage in my creative passions. But once again I learning I need to prioritize these things. If I let my to-list or schedule sneak into the back of my brain the activity is not nearly as enjoyable or creative. I’m learning to jump in feet first!

So my call to my readers today is to find time this week to be a child. Perhaps you have children of your own and you can join them in one of their all-in activities and feel that spontaneous joy that has you all giggling with glee. Or find time to do activities that harken back to your childhood days of long afternoons and endless summers. Dive into these fun activities! Forget for a while that chores need to be done, bills paid, dinner made. Be selfishly childlike.

Saturday Share: Science for the Masses

Every Saturday I would like to share with you a video I find inspirational. There are so many amazing, enriching resources out there. Hopefully these videos will bring you joy and inspiration!

Fair warning. This Saturday Share is a bit different. It’s not a TED Talk. It’s in fact comedy. Steve and I love John Oliver because he makes us laugh but does it while taking on tough issues. A couple of weeks ago he talked about our love and fascination with scientific studies and how unbelievably misleading it can all be. As someone who has suffered from food allergies and migraines, I know how contradicting studies and whole books can be on “scientific topics”. As John Oliver points out the right way to handle all this contradicting data is NOT to just choose the study that sounds best or affirms our beliefs. It is NOT to throw our hands up and say “well no one knows how to cure cancer so why do anything at all”. The right answer is to understand the science and fund better studies on these hard issues. Or not if you are more of a Todd Talk person 😉 Hope you get a chuckle!

If you have a favorite inspirational YouTube video, I’d love to see it! Contact me at courtney@astreaminlife.com or comment below.

We’re Going Camping This Weekend!

One of the things that we are looking forward to the most in our post-retirement lives next year, is that we will be able to move our home where ever we like. We can decide what we will see when we wake up and open the Airstream door. Will it be mountains? A lake? A creek? The middle of the desert with no one within sight? Yes to all of these. While we love living in our Airstream now, and wouldn’t switch back to a sticks and bricks home, we are living a stationary life right now and wake up to the same views and chores each morning. The KOA (Kampgrounds of America) that we are staying at is actually beginning to feel like home. When we had our first move with Steve’s parents a couple of weeks ago it was amazing how just moving to another campground up the street felt like an adventure or a vacation.That got us thinking. Why not spend as many weekends as we can “camping” somewhere new? We had always planned to camp in the future but why not now? Isn’t that one of the golden rules of a happy life, to not put off for tomorrow what you can also enjoy today?Continue Reading

How Living Tiny Has Made Us Even More Frugal

When we took the plunge and decided to drastically reduce our lifestyle, buy our Airstream, and move into our tiny home, all while retiring by the end of this year we obviously had to take a hard look at our spending. With big HONKING CRAZY plans like these we didn’t have the luxury of the occasional Starbucks, Amazon movie, or vending machine candy bar. For any of you who followed our retirement blog in the early days we accounted for every cent we spent, down to the money we saved by bringing our own bags to the grocery store. We also budgeted every category and would reassess as needed. Many people would have considered us majorly frugal, perhaps even cheap though we always knew there was more we could do. While our savings goals were of the utmost important we still wanted to enjoy our lives so alcohol, books, and cigars were accounted for in the budget. Honestly I didn’t expect any of these categories to change much once we moved into the Airstream. BUT living tiny has actually made us MORE frugal and once we’re done selling our last home this month I can’t wait to update our budget spreadsheet to account for all the changes I’ve seen.

6 Ways Living Tiny Has Made Us More Frugal

  1. We don’t have a lot of room for things, so we don’t buy them.This one is obvious and we knew it going in. Obviously living in a tiny space means less room for things, and therefore many less things. What I didn’t expect is that the impulse wouldn’t even come up. Someone mentions a new fabulous thingie-mer-jigger and I don’t think “O I wish I could get that, but we don’t have room”. I just think that’s cool for them and move on. It’s like the thing is not even an option. The best I can relate it to is how I feel when there is dessert in the kitchen at work and when I go to get some it’s chocolate. I don’t like chocolate…at all (I know I’m WEIRD). What’s funny is I don’t even feel bad about not getting the dessert, I just don’t have it.
  2. Since we don’t have a lot of room for things, the things we display or use must be both functional but also beautiful to us. If we needed/wanted something in our old lives we usually only considered one of two rational for buying it. Do I need it to do something? Is it pretty and make me happy? Now we have to ask ourselves BOTH questions before making any purchases. When you have very little you have the chance to carefully curate your possessions to be both incredibly useful and meaningfully representative of your life, values, and personality. That’s a lot to ask from a salt shaker I know but it’s true that we now put a lot more thought into every purchase.IMG_1662
  3. We don’t have room for the “what if’s”, “just in case”s, or buying bulk. Have you ever been in the grocery store and saw something that while not on your list it would be good to have? The spices always got me. MMMM Chinese Five Spice? Why not! That would be fun to cook with. Meanwhile my spice drawer was full of expired exotic spices and I always used the same core 10 or so. Now I just don’t have the room for those impulses, or that giant bag of sugar that’s on sale. Buying in bulk can be great for the wallet as long as you actually use it all. Now we don’t even have the option.
  4. We spend good quality time cooking delicious meals together in our tiny kitchen or out on the grill while sitting together on the patio. While eating out is fun, the food is very seldom better than what we make at home, and the whole experience costs quite a bit. In fact while out at a fancy dinner this weekend (free to us) we discussed that while fun to get dressed up and drink cocktails we could have a very similar experience at home for A LOT CHEAPER. Though as Steve pointed out, we would still have to do the dishes.
  5. Goodbye monthly utilities. When we owned our sticks and bricks home we had the normal bills: Electricity, Gas, Water, Sewer, Garbage etc. (notice cable was not on this list). Now that we’re living full time in our Airstream we pay rent for our spot, electricity and the occasional propane bill when we run through the tanks. Water, Sewer, and Garbage are all free. So is cable (though we still don’t watch it). We’ll see how bad the electricity gets this summer but you have to remember that we are now cooling a 200 sq ft room instead of a 1500 sq ft house. Overall we’re going to come out way ahead.
  6. We’re spending less money on GAS. Now this one doesn’t directly relate to moving into our Airstream but it does relate to WHERE we decided to move it to. Steve works from home so his commute is minimal to say the least. I meanwhile have to commute into the office most days. I used to fill up the gas tank 4x a month on average for my 1 hour + in the car each workday. Now my total commute is 30 minutes and we fill up the car 2x a month. That’s a nice savings in both money and my time.

Hopefully the more time we spend in the Airstream, the less we will need and the more frugal we will become. Once we’re on the road we plan to boondock a lot and won’t even be paying those site fees or electricity. We will see how the budget progresses but so far, so good!

Saturday Share: The “Get Better” Mindset

Every Saturday I would like to share with you a video I find inspirational. There are so many amazing, enriching resources out there. Hopefully these videos will bring you joy and inspiration!

How you deal with a challenge, with change, and with creativity greatly depends on one thing, your mindset. Do you have your mind in a good place to grow? Or are you in a mindset of proving yourself? As a recovering perfectionist I have too often in the past based my self-worth and my accomplishments on how well I’ve done at a task and what I’ve proven to others. It’s been quite a process to come to a mostly “get better” mindset where I am focused on my own growth instead.

What about you? Are you mostly living a “get better” life or a “be good” life? Have you noticed a difference in your tasks based on your mindset at the time?

If you have a favorite inspirational YouTube video, I’d love to see it! Contact me at courtney@astreaminlife.com or comment below.

Moving our Tiny Home for the First Time

So if you follow us on social media (specifically Twitter or Instagram) you would have seen us moving our tiny home for the first time this past weekend. We were lucky that Steve’s parents (who were full time RVers for over a decade) volunteered to come down to Tucson and help us work through our checklists and relieve our minds.  Honestly we weren’t too worried about most of the moving process, except for hitching and unhitching the Airstream from the truck, but they caught a number of things that we either didn’t think of or weren’t doing quite right. Nothing that would have ruined our move, but things that would have been seriously annoying.

We hitched up Charlie to Clifford Friday morning and drove about 10-15 minutes down the road to another full-service campground where we unhitched and setup at our new home base. Then on Sunday morning we did it all again (this time with a much better checklist and with Steve’s parents looking on but not participating) and moved back to our original campground but to a new shady spot (just in time for our 1st forecasted 100+ degree day this weekend). While not relaxing, the weekend certainly was not stressful and in fact I think overall it was exciting. It showed we can do this and soon we WILL be doing this whenever we want. Now the hardest thing is to stay put for the rest of the year. You can be sure that on any upcoming weekend that is cool enough we will be out boondocking somewhere in Southern AZ, just because we can and now we know how.

I hope you enjoy our video montage of our move!!

One Month of Tiny Living in our Airstream

Steve, myself, and the girls have lived in our Airstream for a little over one month now.  I thought I would share what we’ve learned in our one month of tiny living and what we have come to understand about ourselves in that time. The passing of one month to the next is often not noted in today’s world. We don’t often sit back and think of the past 30 some days and reflect about what April meant to us. However when you change your lifestyle significantly refection seems to come more readily. We’ve certainly noticed a number of changes around us, and within our family as April progressed into May and those changes are helping us refine our WHY and continue shaping our lives to match and reflect our values.Continue Reading

Saturday Share: Dare to Disagree

Every Saturday I would like to share with you a video I find inspirational. There are so many amazing, enriching resources out there. Hopefully these videos will bring you joy and inspiration!

We live in THE age of information. Almost anything we could want to know is at our fingertips. However many would argue that most of the population thinks less than previous generations did. We have less well-thought strong personal opinions than our ancestors. Yet we have access to more data. Why is this? Why are we not a thinking society? Why are our organizations not thinking organizations? Why do they fall into the same traps over and over? Margeret Heffernan believes it is due to our fear of conflict and I for one agree with her. I do NOT like talking politics. I avoid it at all costs due to the conflict that the topic has caused within my family. Just the idea of talking politics makes my insides clench. So I can honestly say I don’t research as much as I should. I don’t have those tough conversations where both myself and the other person could grow. As Margaret says I am (like the rest of our society), “willfully blind to information because we don’t want to deal with the conflict that could arise”. So I’m going to try and embrace the conflict on the tough issues both in my work and in my life. I’m going to ask the tough questions and do my research to defend my answers. I’m already the devil’s advocate at work so I just need to work up the moral courage to stand up for what I believe and questions things I don’t in all aspects of my life.

What do you think about conflict as a way of thinking? Do you have that person in your life to prove you right or wrong but in love?

If you have a favorite inspirational YouTube video, I’d love to see it! Contact me at courtney@astreaminlife.com or comment below.

The Geo Method: Black Tank Stink Be Gone!

I recounted our trials with black tank stink last week. We’ve been faithfully following the Geo Method ever since and it seems to be working well! Since we struggled to find more details on the Geo Method while dealing with our stinky issue we decided to put together a YouTube video to help others out in the future! So take a look!

 

If you want to see more how-to videos along with our up and coming Airstream house tour please subscribe to our YouTube channel. Also if there are any topics you would like to see videos on please let us know! We have a lot of videos planned for the future but will prioritize the ones people find the most interesting!

Airstream Bar Organization: Why Is the Rum Gone?

This is the first in a series of posts about how we’ve chosen to organize our lives in our new home, a 30 ft Airstream Classic Limited we’ve named Charlie. So I thought I would start with some of the most important items we own… the alcohol! Just kidding! Though trying to figure out where to store tall and oddly shaped GLASS bottles is a concern when you’re house has wheels, not much storage space, and is prone to bump and move quite a bit. So this is what we came up with, and don’t worry we still have the rum!Continue Reading