In April, we celebrated one year in our new home. While they say time flies, I have felt more like I am living in slow motion than at warp speed. This is partly due I’m sure to the slow and serene surroundings we now find ourselves in but I also think, at least in part, it’s because of the intentional and more deliberate lifestyle we have chosen. After all, this is our final resting place.

There are more than a few differences between this year and last; those differences alongside a host of new experiences and a whole lot of learning, have fashioned one incredible year. Add in a global pandemic, and you can imagine it’s been like turning everything we once knew, on its head.

There are the more obvious differences. We moved from a town of just over 12,000 to a hamlet with less than 4,500 residents. We moved from a suburban cul-de-sac with 10 homes to a rural area with 10 homes on 100 acres. Our neighbours in town had dogs, trampolines, gardens and cars. Our neighbours here have dogs, trampolines, gardens and cars, along with cows and alpacas, orchards and tractors. We live among black bears and brown deer and listen to frogs at night beneath a starlit sky; we live with dark nights and no lights.

We live in less and with less. Our previous 1750 square feet (163 sq m) is now 850 (80 sq). We traded wall space for windows and a view of the neighbours for a view of the hills. We gave up our bathtub and dishwasher, we drink rainwater and use compost toilets. We recycle our household water and use it outside for growing fruit and nut trees. We lean more on solar and less on hydro. We walk more than we run, feel the earth more than the road. Life here is less convenient; we’re an hour’s drive from extensive shopping options so we build bigger schedules and better systems, and we are more prepared. We depend on neighbours and generators, build gardens and fences and have grown accustomed to the sounds of nature; we respect the weather more than ever.

While some have commented that we might be travelling in the wrong direction, backwards instead of forwards, they couldn’t be more wrong. We are in fact future-proofing. We are building water and food security. We are looking ahead, far ahead, to the day we die, and building a life that includes staying home and together as much as is possible. We are surrounding ourselves with a supportive community, with days and deeds that stretch our bodies and keep our minds active. We are living a life that is all about being, and where what we are doing makes a difference: for our children, for our future, for our souls. 

The point is that what you know is not always what you need. We tend to stay stuck in patterns, knee-deep in what’s comfortable and understood. It’s important to remember that as we age, we change, and so do our needs. And while major shifts such as ours might not be what you’re looking for, I would still advocate for a real and meaningful conversation. What do you envision for your final years? I invite you to be curious about change, to stay open to possibility, and to be available to learning. This might just be your best chapter yet!

Stay tuned for my upcoming course, launching in Spring 2024 – designing your best last chapter.