Years ago, while browsing in a funky Calgary boutique, a brochure for a clothing company caught my eye. I picked it up. The black & white imagery conveyed a sense of wild freedom, and the accompanying copy was powerful. I still have this piece, framed in fact, because the words continue resonate.
“Changes are chances. Live your chances.”
Such a simple statement, and yet so profoundly true. While I didn’t necessarily grasp it at the time, I know now these few words capture a core belief of mine.
Last year was a big one for me. A year of transition – or total transformation – depending on your perspective. I experienced some very significant changes – in work, in relationships, and in the way I live. At times, it was hard, and I was forced to draw deeply on my inner resources.
I let go of my real estate license and began to leverage my background and experience in a different form of service: strategic management consulting. My daughter became a teenager, started high school, and I felt a whole new level of appreciation for all that my parents do. I rediscovered how vital the bonds of friendship are, and I lost a hero to cancer. Finally, as if all of this weren’t enough – I sold my house of 10 years and said goodbye to a wonderful set of neighbours.
So yes, in 2017, I’m living these chances.
With gratitude, I have a chance to apply the lessons learned from my failures and to start building again, this time based on my strengths and successes. I have the chance to redefine the way I live, in alignment with my values, and in doing so – I have the chance to positively influence on my daughter at a critical juncture.
And as it turns out, the way I want to live is not in a big showy house on a fancy street.
Only mid-way through my 40’s, my little family and me have made an unconventional move to a condo with just 2 bedrooms. There were many reasons for this, but primarily, it was the feeling of freedom and lightness I was seeking.
To most, this may seem premature or counter-intuitive, but not for me.
It’s a low-rise 80’s building (the decor needs a bit of a refresh), but it’s close to the high school, incredibly comfortable, and has a beautiful maintenance-free view. I’m parking underground, dropping garbage down a tube, and swimming in a salt water pool!
In just over a month, I already know it’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made. In retrospect, I don’t know why I waited.
Here’s the thing. I grew up secretly wishing I could live in a hotel, and this is pretty damn close. I keep saying “I feel like a rock star” because to me, I’m actually living my definition of luxury.
With less to look after, life is manageable. My space has been edited, as has my closet, and home now feels contained. Lean, carefree, and filled with only the most meaningful things.
Less really is more. Instead of a never-ending list of projects and chores, the condo is ‘right-sized’ and easy to clean. I have more time for laughter, love and adventure – it really is simple to pick up and leave. Oh, and let’s face it, living on one level is sublime. Why? Because the laundry machines are nearby.
My daughter walks a healthy 20 minutes to back and forth to school each day, which gets her outside to breathe. There’s a farm out front, a lake down the hill, and easy access to junk food at the neighbourhood deli. Her friends come over to hang out, go for a swim, and watch TV. It’s all regular teen girl stuff, and even though she ‘lives in an apartment’, she’s not missing out on anything.
It’s true our neighbours skew towards the retirement crew, but they’re incredibly welcoming, impressively active, and living very well. An inspiring bunch, dare I say – having witnessed their rigourous runs, kept pace through Aquafit class, and joined the bus ride on senior’s day.
Anyway, all of this might be a little out of the ordinary, but it’s right for me. I have finally found freedom and lightness. Not surprisingly, I’m ridiculously happy.
So yes, changes are chances. Lucky me!