I Think I’ve Been Doing It Wrong

by Michelle on November 3, 2012

Randy and I have been talking a little bit about a change.

At first it was no more than our plans to move to New York City. It sounded like fun, but really, it was never going to happen.

Our baby boy is a Freshman in high school. I’ve been freaking out about that a little bit. I had my two boys 11 years apart, so I’ve had a child to take care of since I was 24 years old. Pretty soon that will no longer be the case. I am trying to not mourn this quite yet, but honestly, just typing this makes my heart feel like it’s gained a few pounds.

On the other hand…

We’ll be free to do what we want.

We’re talking about scaling back.


We’ve been talking about a small condo or small house. Cheap. Tiny. Easy to maintain. And with THAT change, other opportunities will open up. Without the overhead I could afford to take a different job. What a dream that would be. A job that didn’t make me crazy or cause anxiety. Just the thought of it makes me giddy.

At this point, we have no idea where this will take place, but I’m reasonably sure there will be water, mountains or a desert involved. This living in the middle part of the country is boring. I want to wake up and look at something pretty. Not the neighbors backyard and their stupid little yappy dogs.

As I look around I realize that MOST of our posessions are entirely unnessary and really don’t add much at all to our lives. Mostly what they’ve been is a pain in the ass to move.

Our house is not large, but really, it’s more that sufficient. And when it’s just Randy and I it will have a ton of wasted space.

I worried a bit about my family. I adore my mother and can hardly bear to think about her aging, but aging she is. Shouldn’t I stay close by? Won’t I be sorry to go away?

Mom and I talked on the phone this morning and when I approached the subject as something we were just talking about, she was instantly animated. “Go”! she said.  ”And don’t just talk about it! Do it”!

I know I don’t need my mother’s permission, but it makes me feel better that she is behind this idea. She didn’t even freak out when I mentioned Washington State or Oregon as a possiblity.

So, for all these years, I’ve worked to live a decent life. And we do. It’s not fancy, but I grew up with so much less. And now, I’m ready to go back to that. Except it will be on my terms.

We have time to plan, which is good. Because I have NO IDEA how to start.


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah November 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I’ve just done that!

I was made redundant in my job (though did have a choice in the end). I got a bit of a payout and instead of putting it towards my mortgage (of my 3 level 3 bedroom townhouse) and getting another job in the city…. I sold up and bought a small apartment on the beach in a quiet location. And moved. And that has all just happened in five weeks!

I have enough money leftover to live on for a few months as I’m keen to do some writing and blogging. I hope that when it comes time to earn some money I stick with my plan and do something mindless (unrelated to my previous life in government and project management) solely to pay the bills. With no mortgage I have the flexibility and only need to earn what I need to live on. (I have no kids though, so….)

Do it, I say. Life’s short. Etc etc.



Michelle November 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm

That is awesome. And so much what I want to do. Good luck with the writing!


Jonathan November 3, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Devin and I moved –more or less– four times in 36 months. I learned easily and he learned with difficulty that we do not own possessions, they own US. Because we started off in downtown SF and ended up in Manhattan, our space has always been a tiny fraction of what most middle-aged middle class Americans own, but even so the amount of sheer CRAP we used to own was ridiculous.

I’ll also say –with profound love and respect for the people who welcomed me during my brief sojourn in Wisconsin– that the midwest is ugly. There is nothing redeeming about it. There is also nothing about the midwest that can make up for the profoundly disturbing weather.

In my opinion, true natural beauty stems from mountains or an ocean or some other remarkable geographical feature. (In fact, the reason that NYC’s skyline is so famous is that there is absolutely nothing interesting or noteworthy nearby. Sorry New Jersey).

Lastly, you really hit the nail on the head with the money thing. From where I stand, it makes no sense for me to live in Manhattan because to afford it my husband and I have to stay in jobs we both hate. Sure, we see a ton of Broadway shows, I run in Central Park every day and our apartment is in the absolute best neighborhood ever. The problem is that if you spend all day working at a job that sucks the life out of you, none of these joys can make up for it.

I think having a plan to downsize and to move to a place where you wake up every day and think “yeah, this is pretty cool”… that’s something worth working towards.


Michelle November 3, 2012 at 9:37 pm

That’s awesome! thanks for that. And yes, the midwest is not pretty. It’s my home..it’s what I know..but I’m ready to leave it behind. I’m stil kinda jealous of you, though. I’ve only visited NYC a few times…but I fucking loved it like frozen crazy. And if you’re gonna hate your job to live…better to do it there than fucking Ohio.


Lisa November 3, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I agree 100000%! I like this plan and I think you should do it. But really do it. Set a date. If its about the boy, set the date for te day after he graduates from highschool. Having a date will make it real!!!


Ragemichelle November 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

yeah, we have to commit. At this point we couldn’t even to agree where to go..although, it seems that the area we seem to agree on is Washington or Oregon. Even though we know NOTHING about either place.


Deb November 4, 2012 at 3:35 am

Do it! This is a fantastic idea and if you make it real, you will be my hero! (Okay, so you’re already my sarcastic, funny, bitchy hero but that’s besides the point hehe)

You said it- you’ve worked for the life you have now, now goo out and change it to something you can really enjoy!


Ragemichelle November 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

Okay then..I guess I’ll buy a cape. :)

I am terrified to move..but I can get past it. I am sad to see my baby boy grow up..but that is inevitable. Might as well finish up with a bang, right?


Lauri Rottmayer November 4, 2012 at 7:42 am

Go for it for sure! When we thought we were moving to Saudi, I got rid of so much “stuff” and you’re right. It’s just stuff. Since then you’ve seen us move to Little Rock, into an RV, and now out to a cabin on a ranch. Ultimately, we plan to end up in Fiji and, truly, how much “stuff” do we want to haul all the way over there?

I adored the time I spent a mom to our boys. But this time with just David, getting to do what WE want, is a treasure. And we’re having so much fun!

Good luck deciding! I look fotward to reading about it. ;-)


Ragemichelle November 4, 2012 at 8:28 am

Yeah..the stuff has GOT to GO. My neighbors have yard sales all the time. I think I might have to get in on them from now on…

You certainly make this idea sound that much more attractive!


Joanna November 4, 2012 at 9:55 am

I want to move so bad.. but not to downsize, to upsize. Wait.. not really upsize.. upgrade. I’m so tired of our piece of crap house. I want a family home that my kids can enjoy while they’re still young, and they can return home to when they are grown up for holidays and family gatherings. I don’t want to move too far away from where I live now, because the area is beautiful where I live.

But, enough about me. I totally agree. Commit and DO IT! Dreams are meant to be followed.


Ragemichelle November 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm

We have time to plan…it will be a little while..but I am all about it.


Lisa November 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm

This is awesome, Michelle! Do it!!! I’m ready for simplicity and the beauty of living near water, of course I’m broke and with small children…but you’ve always been an inspiration for me so thank you AGAIN for planting such an awesome thought in my head of actually making it happen. You deserve to be happy EVERY DAY, not just weekends when you sleepily open your eyes and realize you don’t have to report to Hell that morning. Make it happen!!!!


Ragemichelle November 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

We have a few years, but yes, this is definitely something we will pursue.


JessRoten November 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

What a great idea! After working your butt off and taking care of kids and the house, why the fuck not?!
In eights years, when my nine year old leaves home, I’m moving to a one room apartment (cubby) in NYC. Maybe we’ll visit in the city if that’s where you relocate to. I don’t care about the size of my apartment, I care about doing things on my own, living somewhere busy and beautiful.
Now comes the hard part, agreeing on a place. Maybe you guys could live in one place part time, and elsewhere the rest of the year?


Ragemichelle November 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

You know..we’ve discussed that as a possibility. It may be two little single wide trailers…but still…


Joni November 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I’m thinking RV–drive until you find someplace you want to stay.


Ragemichelle November 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm

that was actually in discussion


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