an interview with Himself about our lifestyle change and downsize: part 2

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If you have been hanging out with me the last few weeks, you have come to discover that we are selling our home Big Red Kitchen and moving into our wee Manderley Cottage later this summer. We are a family of five with four little pets, who for the life of us, are going to drive us nuts with their constant nocturnal play and barking. If you know anything about sugar gliders then you’ll know what I mean. It will be quite an adventure. Yesterday you got to meet my husband, Himself, or Dan in Part 1.  Here is the second part of Himself’s interview and his take on our big adventure.

What has been the most challenging decision up until this time?
“I am one of three partners in a wealth management firm here in the DC Metro area. So leaving the firm, my partners whom I have been with over a decade, and the employees has been the hardest part of this decision.  Much prayer, mentoring from friends, and discussions with Robin went into the decision. It was one I took very seriously.”

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We know Robin writes here at BRK and will look for a new CrossFit coaching job,  but what do you plan to do?
“I am joining a small wealth management firm in Williamsburg and will continue to do Financial Life Planning.  I plan to get plugged in with the Williamsburg Community Foundation, local universities like Regent University and The College of William and Mary, and other professional networks.  My son and I plan to find a Scottish Society Color Guard again as we enjoyed the one here in NOVA.  Together we will all find new friends in the area and at church, and we hope our old ones will stop by while visiting Williamsburg.”

How has the family reacted to this decision?
“The oldest was hesitant to leave his high school and friends with only one year left, but he is now looking at the move to Williamsburg as an adventure.  He is also in the middle of his Boy Scout Eagle Project, which will be difficult.  Our middle child was the most devastated and still unsure. He will be entering high school in the fall which is tough. Our littlest one said she figured she would go where ever we decided to go but will still miss her friends, and thinks the cottage is boring because there is no TV. They are all making big sacrifices.”

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If it was going to be such a tough decision due to work and the kids, what was ‘the one thing’ that finally prompted you to make this huge decision?

“We had a very small window of opportunity to make an impact on our children…”“We had a very small window of opportunity to make an impact on our children while they were still at home, on saying ‘hey this is important,’  instead of reacting to life and doing the practical thing by allowing our oldest to finish his Senior year of high school at his current school. We wanted him to be part of this. It was now or never.”

It was important to you to include your children in this adventure instead of waiting until they all left home?
“Yes, because they will see the example, and share the experience so that they can decide for themselves if it is something they would want to live out. We have given them many things, but now we want to show them a different lifestyle, an alternative lifestyle- to have less things, live in a smaller space, but to have more experiences.”
Do you think they will “get it?”  “Yes, we will help them, mentor them, it will be a process.”

What will you miss the most about living in a big house?  “It’s easier to find your own space and be alone.”
What will you do now to find space?  “Walk to the pub or go outside.”

Do you wish you had done this earlier?  “No. You are where you’ re at.”

Now that you are downsizing and getting rid of the things that you worked for, and were important and meaningful to you, what would you tell people just starting out? “Be careful  when you buy things and make sure it is important.  Is it really worth having? Is it worth moving it over and over again? If you can avoid that it would be great! Does it bring you happiness? Does it fulfill your life goal, or bring you closer to your goals? Does it put you in debt? Or what is the cost of maintaining it?”
Was all our stuff a waste then?  “You mean this new office furniture we bought less than a year ago? We didn’t know at the time we were making this big change. So no, it’s not a waste. We learn as we go. Everything served its purpose, but now we have changed. No regrets.”

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Do you have a Plan B?  “Nope, but I guess we could sell Shaved Ice in Maui. We, at one time, thought that would be cool, remember?”

Any doubts?  “No, too late now,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.


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14 Comments

  1. movedgirl
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    I don’t normally post on blogs, but I thought I would share my story with you because yours touched an odd nerve for me. My family moved from Chicago to Atlanta my senior year of high school. My father had been transferred and I viewed the move as inevitable, so I put on a positive face and just went with it. We’d moved to Chicago starting my freshman year and it was just a fact of life for me. I figured he had to move because of work and who was I to question it, but years later my mother told me that a family friend offered to let me stay with them that last year so I could have that last year. I wish I had known then, because I would have done it. The only upside academically is that I moved to a smaller school so my ranking improved.

    My senior year was an odd year. You’re staying within your state so your son won’t have the same curriculum issues I had, however it was very strange coming into the senior year traditions of people I had never known. It was, for me, a wasted year and it colored my decisions for the rest of my life. The only people I knew at school were those in my classes and homeroom. Joining clubs was limited because most of them were already cohesive with the groups that had formed freshmen year. The class trips I attended were fun, but tinged with a hollowness that comes with suddenly being put into the role of observer of years of in-jokes that had nothing to do with my experiences in school.

    Subsequent to moving, I tried to go back to Illinois for college, a decision that perhaps was not the best, as I was trying to get back to a place that had formed me when everyone I had known was trying to get out. I loved being in Chicago, but I never had closure with the group that I knew until my 10 year high school reunion, and yes, I went to both, but the former school was the one that I most held dear. The school that sends me the most notices, the one I spent 1 year of my life at? I really don’t care. Of the 60 people I probably interacted with I keep up with the ones that became friends. I feel like that experience was robbed a bit. I did appreciate where I came from, though, and having had vastly different experiences at both schools certainly helped my worldview.

    That being said, the experience of moving my freshman year was a bit like going to college. The friendships I formed are very much the same people I keep up with today, network and all. That gave me the opportunity to reinvent myself without all the embarrassing baggage of learning how to be a person in grade school and middle school.

    I know it’s different for everyone, but I hope you considered looking at ways for your eldest son to complete his senior year with his friends. It is a life changing experience in more ways than you are expecting.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

      Movedgirl- Thank you for your honest testimony about your experience. We will have our son read it and explore more of his feelings. Hearing your side as someone who has gone through it, maybe this will open a conversation for us to help him transition and what needs to be done. He has some friends in Williamsburg already, but like you said it may not be the same as the ones he has been with since 2nd grade. We are going into this with eyes wide open and when people share their ideas , like you have here, it really helps us! Thank you! Robin

    • Moved girl
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

      Feel free to email me if they have questions. All I can do is share my experiences and some hindsight, fwiw, but if it opens up some dialog, I am happy to chat.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

      Thank you!

  2. Posted June 4, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    This sounds like quite a lifestyle change and if I saw both homes I’d probably have an even greater appreciation. No TV?

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

      Larry, no TV. But we will have internet and we like Netflix. The pubs have TV to watch the big games:)

  3. jenn in GA
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    we had a motto when we were newly married: LIVE MOBILE. while i can’t say we can fit everything we own into a medium sized UHaul like we did when we moved into our first home, i still feel like we attempt to live streamlined and not acquire mindlessly.

    i think that your children will thank you for this experience, and that the faith you are demonstrating and the goal setting you are modeling and the authenticity with which you are living cannot return void. remember this when the times get tough. 🙂

    i’m sure you will be influencers wherever you plug in. i would like to know how you will determine which activities will be worthy of your investment, since the goal is to live simply. having 5 different things that pull you in 5 different directions isn’t simple.

    God bless as you seek to follow His leading!

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

      Hi Jenn! Activity choosing will be interesting since there are 5 of us. I should write a post on how we handle this now. We place boundaries on our time and activities. But the traffic here is swallowing up much of our time!

  4. Ken Young
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    A bit sad to read the “My son and I plan to find a Scottish Society Color Guard”. We are hoping that you will remain a part of our one. You guys are part of the family and it will be sad if you dont continue to participate when you can. That coming from someone who is also leaving.
    We wish you the best of luck and will definitely make a promise to come and see you on our home leave.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

      The Guard will miss you too Ken! I think they may make a few of the biggies like the Games in The Plains. But isn’t there a big march in Scotland next year 2015, when a certain person we know turns 50 in Sept? :)Robin

  5. Posted June 5, 2014 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    Dear Dan and Robin, but mostly Dan. We are so proud of what you are doing. We know it has not been an easy decision. Thank you for opening up and sharing your heart. You are a good husband, dad and provider. You’re okay as a son-in- law too. Ha. Love you, MA

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

      We could not have done it without your prayers and wisdom! Love you both!

  6. Stephanie
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    So proud of you and Dan! I know I’ve shared with you our story of going from 4500 sq ft and six acres to <1000 square feet in a new country. Things were hard, and conversations were long, but we have all grown from it…from all of it. Adversity grows you or makes you bitter. All our children chose to grow. I would trade those eight years for NOTHING!
    God bless you! Thanks for your testimony of faithfulness.

    • Robin
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

      Thanks Stephaine, It has been 2 years of transition but we are loving life and growing more!

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