How important is having fun? I mean on a scale of 1 to 10 how important is it to you and your family? For us it ranks up there with shelter, food and water. It is our lifeline, it is our goto, it is our healthcare, our mental stabilizer … it’s second only to faith. I can’t imagine navigating this insane world we live in without an escape hatch. The stress, the mundane, the struggles…these all fail to take hold of my being when right outside is a world of adventure, the promise of calm within our souls. In order to keep our heads above water, we Invest in our family with fun …
You see, society promises so much, and delivers so little. It traps the wide-eyed and bushy tailed with stories of success, money and luxury. You get the job, you get the car, you get the house and then you have no options when you realize that this isn’t the life you were destined to live.
You become a slave to your debt. It happened to us, it happens to almost everyone. But the difference with us is that we never really bought in. We knew it was all a lie. We were dragged in, out of necessity, but we were always looking for that escape.
This fact, drove our parents nuts. “You have to pay your dues,” they would tell us. Never explaining what that meant and always so critical, that we felt we had to lie about our financial situation. We crept up the proverbial ladder and improved our standard of living. We went more and more into debt trying to prove we weren’t just a couple of young kids who got married too early, had a baby too early, that we had value, that we were worthy of respect. We were doing our best to achieve what we thought we had to achieve.
I remember one year we did exceptionally well, financially. Our fourth child, Kady, had just been born and we bought a brand new Chevy Suburban. Literally the first and last new vehicle we ever bought and, we still have this truck. It’s hanging on by it’s last legs.
But here we thought we made it. We “owned” our first home, we had a new truck. Man, we did it. Now respect would come.
But, then reality hit as a family member took Dan aside and asked if he was dealing drugs. Yes, it’s true, this individual actually thought it a possibility that Dan was a drug dealer because he was able to “afford” a new truck. LOL, it’s so funny now, but it cut deep then. We were so young, just trying to make it and impress our families in order to earn their respect. We even went into serious debt to do so. (stupid)
And then one day, we woke up and said, ENOUGH! We realized we weren’t ever going to earn their respect. It was pointless even trying. So we went after a dream.
We moved to Colorado, with 5 young kids in tow, sight unseen and our lives started to change. Suddenly my eyes as a city girl were opened to the vast world outside the confines of the affluent suburbs of Washington DC.
Here, in CO, people hiked, they actually donned special hiking boots and walked into the woods for fun. Skiing and snowboarding, climbing and biking, camping and kayaking, fishing and hunting. Holy cow, there was a big huge world that didn’t revolve around money, but rather experiences. We had found our utopia, our purpose could be fulfilled here. Our kids would grow up knowing this world.
We had seen inklings of this elsewhere, you know, but I, in particular, was too buried in “perception” at the time to realize it. It was early 2000, we were scouring the entire North East in a quest to find the perfect town in which to raise our family. You know, with a ski resort nearby, a pond that froze in the winter for skating and neighborhood hockey games, a community that looked out for each other … Mayberry but with modern amenities!
Vermont was beautiful. But we noticed in rural VT, the houses were small and the garages were huge. I thought this was so ridiculous. But I get it now, I really do. Do you know why this was? The garages held all the fun things. The snowmobiles, the skis, the snowboards, the 4-wheelers, the Jeeps, the climbing gear … the house was shelter, it was a place to lay your weary head, but the garage held the gems, the jewels of it’s owners existence.
The garage held the investments into the family. The Mutual Funs, if you will.
Not everyone understands, but if I can come around, anyone can!! When I finally realized (after keeping Dan in Northern Virginia for 7 years) that big houses and beautiful couches and designer clothes weren’t going to enhance my life, in any way what-so-ever, it was like I heard the Fat Lady Singing, Freedom.
My life is now enhanced by enjoying the great outdoors with my family, traveling with my family and pushing the limits with my family.
I am that girl now. I am that mom now. Holy transformation. I’ve peed behind trees, I’ve used a groover (still, very very uncomfortable with the groover, y’all), I’ve gone days and days without showering and then I’ve showered and shaved in a creek and in a river. I’ve even gotten over my intense sadness when my kids catch fish. I enjoy camping, whereas I despised it pre-Dan.
I remember a convo with my mom years ago. She had come to visit and was sitting on our deck, surrounded by mountains and the sun was shining its warm rays on the napes of our necks and she, a city girl, all her life, was appalled that we had all the toys, but our kitchen was simply average, our bathrooms blah and our kids had rooms painted by us, decorated with their own art and mismatched sheets and comforters.
I explained that we Invest in life. We buy kayaks and kayaking gear, we buy snowboards and snowboarding gear, we buy dirt bikes and mountain bikes, tents and sleeping bags, rafts and climbing gear. We even bought an RV. We do it for the sake of our family.
Would I love to have it all? The toys and the beautiful house? I used to think I would, but now I’m not so sure. I love our little space. I love that it takes 15 minutes to clean our RV from top to bottom. I love that my backyard changes daily. I love that we can all coexist in a 300 sq ft space and still enjoy each other’s company.
I think all we need is a bigger garage … and a replacement for that old 1999 beater truck! 😉