So, I'm sitting at the South Bend Chocolate Company Cafe in downtown South Bend remembering my life as it once was. Before I was married and had kids, I was a young urban professional living and working in the downtown area of our little metropolis. I was a crazy, idealistic, fresh out of college, working professional. I thought there was nothing better than walking to work, eating at a wide variety of cafes for lunch, running along the river after work, and partying at the local hang outs on the weekends.
Not only was I foolish enough to feel confident walking home by myself at 2am along the deserted streets, but I was also foolish enough to buy my first house all on my own. It wasn't just any house either. It was a dilapidated Victorian owned by a slum landlord. My purchase agreement actually stated that one of the conditions of closing was him removing the animal feces from the basement stairs. I was smart enough to get creative financing for the project and knew just enough about construction to be dangerous.
It's only been 8 short years since I bought that house (the "blue beacon" in the middle), but it seems like a whole lifetime ago to me now. If you had met me during that time you would have never guessed that less than a decade later I would be a stay-at-home-mom with two little children. If you had even suggested the idea to me at that point I would have told you that you were absolutely crazy. That was before. Before I met my adoring husband. Before I had 2 amazing children. Before I discovered to be comfortable with myself.
Do I miss it some times? Absolutely. But it's not the independence or the naive ideals that I miss. It's the wide variety of experiences. Being here today I'm reminded of how easy it is to confine ourselves to our comfort zone. It's easy to continue with the simple little routines and limit ourselves to the familiar places that are comfortable. Let's be honest. We do that in so many aspects of our lives. We become content to "see the world" through the screen of our computer.
Tim and I talk about staying motivated on our financial journey by keeping our eye on the "prize". For me, the prize is definitely travel. I can't wait until we're in a position financially (and age-wise with our kids) that we can just pack up and hop on a plane to the great corners of the earth. For now, I'm content with packing up the car and finding little adventures in our back yard. Coming here reminds me, though, that I need to do it more often. I can't wait for this summer!
How much has your life changed in the past decade? Has your world grown or shrunk? What is your prize?