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 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.
I don’t know what type of space I’ll call home on my 37th birthday, but as long as Logan, my fur babies, and loved ones are nearby, my abode will be filled with love and happiness.