Extract Junk, Inject Living
While undoubtedly a gross and unfair simplification, I’ve always felt there are two ways one can navigate life. One option is to plot a course and stick with it, and the other is to let the wind, currents, tides, and the whims of a restless spirit and inquisitive nature guide you.
The steady course is the path of least resistance. Society applauds behaviors like putting down roots, finding a good job and sticking with it, and doing what has proven to be successful in the past. Certainly, I would never suggest that someone choosing to live by this doctrine is in any way wrong to do so, but I will point out that my personal experience and observations of others in close orbit to my life suggests it doesn’t always result in the most enlightening existence.
I, for instance, admire people who still live within miles of where they were born, and maintain close relationships with friends they grew up with. At one level, who wouldn’t want that? At the same time, I would argue that the opportunity to live in (between the two of us) a dozen distinctly different communities spread over the entire breadth of the country has exposed Margaret and me to a variety of experiences, attractions and friendships we just can’t imagine having missed. Our lives have been so enriched by these moves that we are committed to remaining open to the notion that there might be more in our future.
Margaret and I have benefited, financially and lifestyle-wise, from accepting a certain amount of risk in our career and investment decisions. While we’d love to be collecting pensions, I don't know that either one of us would trade the lifestyle we’ve enjoyed over our years together for a guaranteed stipend. And, quite frankly, life is too short to waste it doing the same ol’ thing again and again instead of trying something new.
We apply these tenets of life to our pursuit of our passions such as food and adult beverages pretty well. We both cook and love eating out, and while we have a few favorite dishes and restaurants that seem to pop up consistently in the rotation, we tend to try a lot of new recipes and regularly seek out new restaurants. More importantly, we cook almost everything from scratch or our own recipes, and seldom waste calories on chain restaurants or unexceptional dining options. We love wine and spirits, and similar to the way we approach eating, we constantly try to expand our horizons by trying new drinks instead of ordering or preparing our familiar favorites every time.
When it comes to lifestyle choices, however, we’re a little more conservative and cautious. Margaret has always joked about her father being “Captain Cautious,” and the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree. While I’m a little less risk adverse, she would undoubtedly tell you I tend to be a little cheap. I like to call it frugal, but I’d have a hard time denying the charge.
Therefore, while we are passionate about life and living, any thoughts of changing the whys, wheres and hows of our life tend to be tempered by a undercurrent of timidity. We’re intrigued by the lifestyle choices people make (such as full-time RVing, off-grid living, and downsizing into tiny houses), but our personal passion for these options is limited to watching from the sidelines as enthusiastic fans, for now, anyway.
Pop some popcorn, pour yourself a drink, sit back, and watch as we celebrate all the things we love and pursue all the new things we might love in the future.
—Alan & Margaret