Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Big Tiny Plans

So, after much consideration, hours of admiration, scheming, dreaming, and self evaluation, I have a new goal in mind: I want to build a Tiny House.

I first came upon the Tiny House movement when I realized that I couldn't keep my marital house post divorce. To do so, would require me to earn $70K + a year, and I've learned that such jobs involve way too much time and stress. I gave up stress, so I tend to avoid putting myself in situations that cause my blood pressure to rise. I decided a while ago I want to live a simpler life, with less things. In that quest, I considered life in an airstream or similar situation. That option is still on the table. But, the idea of a tiny house on wheels is has captured my imagination and hope for possibilities.

Here's a few reasons why:  

1.  I like the idea of building my own home. It's a great project that will require a lot of new skills. I like the idea of expanding my knowledge as well as my capabilities.

2.  Although it will cost me a good amount of money, it's not cost prohibitive. Most Tiny House projects run at about the $25K range, but there are a lot of exceptions. Some homes were built for as little as $11K. I'm a master of doing things on a shoestring, and I'm pretty confident I can source a lot of what I need at a discount. Plus, once it's built, my housing costs will remain low, and I can take it with me where ever I go. 

3.  I'm already accustomed to Tiny living. I've actually lived Tiny several times in my life.  In the Army, I lived in a very small barracks space and much of my life fit in two duffle bags. More recently, while I going back and forth between California and Japan, and between California and Canada, I aspired to be able to fit my life into one check bag and a carry-on. It's a work in progress. 

4.  I have a place to live. When I return to California in 2015, I will move back into my childhood home with my sister, where I can stay indefinitely at a very low cost. This will allow me the freedom to save money for my build as well as provide the stability safety net I need to take on this project.

I know there are a lot of hurdles and challenges ahead. There's a lot to consider: where to build, where to place the sucker, other debt that needs to be paid down prior to building. I also accept that at some point I might decide it's just not feesable to build my own home, although I'm totally in love with the idea. For the moment what I have is the desire and the beginnings of a plan.  The most important thing for me is that I know what I want to do, and have a general direction I'm heading towards. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ducks and Chickens

A New Year is coming, at least a new calendar year is. I like many other burners tend to mark my year by the moment the Man falls. Yes, Burning Man is still a very big part of my life. But so are a lot of other things:  my kids, my love, and my pets. 

I've recently come to the realization that moving to Canada on a permanent basis is a lot harder than I may have anticipated a year ago when I first tried. I'm currently here on a six month visitor visa, and will once again spend my summer and spring back in California. when I do come back to Canda next year though, it may not be for the full season. I still have debt to deal with, and other somewhat lofty goals that will require full time employment on my part. I still have a great many ducks to line up, so because of this, when I return to California, my stay won't be so transient. 

Creating a new life can be lots of fun. Oh the possibilities. I like having options. But right now, my options are somewhat limited by finances. So, my current goal is to change that. And by having that goal, I'm open to a few other possibilities, like maybe returning to a professional career, if the right opportunity comes along. I've had a couple cross my path lately.

The most important part of all of this is being open and flexible. I'm more ok with what life throws at me. Yes, I do have some goals, but they are not achievement based. They're lifestyle goals. I want to live simply. I'd love to build a tiny house. I'd like to raise chickens. And I'd like to be able to see my Man  as much as possible. 

Some of my ducks are lining up just right. It gives me hope that the rest will at least decide to swim in the same general direction. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fear Not

Fear not! For I bring you good news!

It's a hopeful message. We could use some hope these days. It's getting hard not to fear what may be coming. But for now, I'll enjoy what I have: time with my boys, time with my love, and hope for the future.

Solstice came and went, and we now enjoy a minute or so more of light every day in the Great White North. The boys are here enjoying time with mom. We are mostly spending the time cooking and hibernating. We did make it out to ice skate yesterday. Luckily my boys are low maintenance and easy to please. They appreciate the cooking lessons, and I appreciate their indulgence of such things. 

It's a different kind of season for us. There are no longer toys to wrap, but we still maintain some traditions. There will be the viewing of "A Christmas Story" tonight as well as donuts in the morning. I think, I hope, we've reached the point where the holidays are less about things and more about being together. I'm thankful for the time we have, and hope that the boys are too. 

I've been putting a lot of thought into the future. I have some goals maybe. I've gotten kind of spooked with the idea of goals lately. Fear of failure is very real for me these days. It never was before. Regardless, I still spend a good amount of time visualizing a new life. Knowing I can be happy with less is a real breakthrough that leaves me feeling better about myself and life in general. 

I know I can be ok with a mellow job that pays less, but I'm beginning to entertain the possibility of a professional life again. But this time, if I go, I go in with my ambition in check and entirely different goals.

I'm starting to feel like I'm coming up on a tipping point, but instead of a crazy ride down the other side, I'm hoping for a long mellow coast. Maybe it's not as exciting, but it would allow me to enjoy the view and the feel of a breeze on my face. Contentment beats exhilaration every day. And I'm good with that. I really am.