It’s my 36th birthday today! Beginning a new year fills me with a tremendous sense of gratitude because I love growing older. Aches, pains, and wrinkles are present, but I wouldn’t want to reverse the clock and go back to my early 20s. In my 20s, I felt compelled to please everyone in my life and an intense desire to buy a bigger house, designer clothes, and a fancy car. Now, I’m living with less and loving it.
Creating a simple life rooted in flexibility and gratitude has given me the gift of time, presence, and wonderful relationships. And for me, that’s an amazing birthday present. I still have dozens upon dozens of life lessons to learn. However, I’m grateful for the good, the bad, and all the in-between moments that have taken place over the past 36 years.
Last year, I wrote a birthday essay titled Hello 35!In the piece, I shared a list of 35 life lessons with blog readers. The list I posted last year is still true (at least for me). However, I have an additional lesson to add to last year’s list.
Lesson 36: Residing in a tiny house on wheels isn’t a prerequisite to living a simple and happy life.
I whole-heartedly agree with my friend Courtney Carver’s recent essay, A Simple Place to Live. She wrote:
Anyone who has ever purchased, sold, or built a house knows what tremendous time, money and energy that involves. What if we spent as much of our resources cultivating our relationships as we did building homes?
Love is a simple place to live. It doesn’t require the trappings of what some may define as a successful life. All you need is an open heart, time and attention.
I can be at home anywhere because feeling content and safe and loved has nothing to do with the stuff that surrounds me. Now I build those things from the inside out instead of looking for them somewhere else.
As Courtney wisely said, surrounding yourself with stuff isn’t what makes a space feel like a true home. It’s about the people you surround yourself with. For example, my mom stayed with us last weekend and my in-laws came over for breakfast. Hosting my mom for the weekend and cooking a simple meal made our small cottage feel like home.