Monday, January 18, 2010

Downshift Planning, Redux

Over the long weekend, my husband and I had some conversations about our eventual downshift. Last year, because of all the changes in our life, we lost our view into the future, but are slowly starting to regain it.

We don't exactly see eye to eye on how to accomplish our goals, or what they look like, but that's okay. Much of marriage is a negotiation, and this is no different. What we agree about without fail though, is that this is not the end state goal for how we live our lives.

We're in a place where our lives are starting to get a little saner. My hours at work are slowing. An almost 1-year old is a little easier to handle than a perpetually non-sleeping infant. And after almost a year of parenthood, and 6 months of us both working full time, routines have become ingrained. Our 'new normal' has taken root.

So unless we decide to throw another baby into the mix, which is sort of like tossing a hand grenade into a place that you've just finished cleaning up the debris of a smart bomb in, only cuter, we can start focusing a bit on our future plans. Even if 'future' is just what seeds to start for the garden in late February.

One thing this weekend has shown me is that stage one is to get at least one of us, if not both, down to a 4-day workweek. It may be a couple years before we can get to that point, but we're going to try like heck to make it happen. Things are so much calmer when we have that time.

This weekend alone, I started a batch of vanilla to give as gifts next Christmas (note: take 2 vanilla beans. Split down the middle. Drop into about 1/2 bottle of cheap vodka. Let steep for a couple months - longer is better. Strain. Use. If you can't wait that long, use some after a couple days in vanilla martinis, which smell lovely), made chili, soup, stir fry, and meals for later in the week. Because of all my endeavors in the kitchen, we'll be less likely to need to stop at the grocery store or pick up takeout, which saves us money. And it's pleasant to cook. I don't enjoy the clean up, but I do love to cook. And saving money, even on little things, means more money to put towards our big goals.

Add to that the fact that we both got to sleep in a bit, I got a nap, and we were able to enjoy the snow falling and time with our daughter, and it's a no-brainer. Less work, more time is a good calculation.

We're not really sure how to get to the whole downshift thing. Or if we'll get there in the time we planned. We do know that if we're going to do anything, there's at least a 6 year trajectory before we'll know even what's realistic. But we're planning just the same. And in the meantime, taking smaller steps to try and incorporate some of what we want our future to look like into our current life.

Because relaxing is something we don't do enough of, and it's worth a slower climb up the economic hill to get it.

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