Simplified!

So, I’m home about 99.9 percent of the time now. The whole cancer thing. It sucks, but I’m still refusing to sit on the cactus life handed me. I am on a new chemo cocktail now and it’s harsh. Sometimes I’m puking before the pump comes off on day 3 of treatment week. It’s no fun bolting for the bathroom when you’re hooked up to one of these pumps through a port in your chest. But it is what it is and I’m not gonna complain because there are folks right here within my own community who are going through things a lot tougher than what I am right now.

Anyway, my point is that I’m home A LOT. I don’t want to expose myself to any kind of germs out there and I just don’t have the energy to go running around even if I didn’t care about the germs. My husband works, but he’s staying with real local projects so he can be home within ten minutes if I need him, or if the dogs need a walk. We have neighbors who come by and visit but primarily it’s just me hanging around the house by myself. Which is fine. Really. I like alone-time. I get a lot done. Not physically, but mentally. I can work from home and I get about six or so hours a day worth of office duties done from my couch. I have a laptop and a printer/scanner and my phone. What else do I really need? Some days my whole world shrinks down to the bedroom and that’s fine, too. I can still work in there and I’ve got a big TV hanging on the wall.

One of my favorite things is binging TV shows with lots of seasons. There are shows I binge alone during the day, like 90 Day Fiance, and shows I binge in the evening like Hell’s Kitchen or ALONE. For anyone who hasn’t seen Alone it’s a reality TV show that puts ten individuals out in a place like the Arctic with winter coming in soon and leaves them each there alone with ten survival items like bows, fire starting sticks, fish hooks, that kind of thing. They have cameras and record themselves on their adventures. They are completely alone, separated from the other contestants by miles of hostile terrain and they have to survive on their own – hunting, fishing, building shelter, etc. They can “tap out” at any time by using the satellite phone they’re provided. The last man standing is the winner. The most recent prize was a cool million and some of these folks stay out there for a couple of MONTHS. One of the season 7 contestants was just talking about how the million bucks would help him to live an even more simplified life than he lives now. He actually WANTS to buy land and live outdoors. To each his own, I guess, I like my technology and creature comforts. But it got me to thinking about how much more simple my life is now than it used to be.

And I like it that way.

Seriously, I’ve never been happier than I am now with a pared down version of the life I used to live.

Could we get a home loan and buy a house? Sure. If we want a mortgage hanging over our heads for however many years. We own the single wide mobile home we live in now and I’m pretty comfy here. We added a big deck last year, and put down some nice laminate flooring this year. It’s an older home but we gutted and rebuilt it when we moved in. I can hear my friends from Fairfield County, Connecticut cringing from here. HAH! I live in a TRAILER! And I like it!

I don’t know if I can adequately describe what goes on in trailer parks, or Mobile Home Communities as I like to call them. No amount of money could buy the experiences I’ve had living here – the stuff I’ve seen! You take a few dozen households full of people, most of whom are struggling and stick them within close proximity of each other and watch the fireworks. There have been epic battles between some neighbors. EPIC. Heck, I’ve even gotten myself caught up in one or two. Not my proudest moments, but… there’s just not enough chlorine in some of these gene pools.

And on the other side of it, there’s a bonding that happens that’s indescribable. Some of us truly come together as a community and share our struggles. We build handicap ramps for neighbors who need them, or give away spare old vehicles to people in need. We run errands for each other and take each other to doctor’s appointments. We have one neighbor with a green thumb who grows veggies that she gives to another neighbor who’s great in the kitchen. THAT neighbor makes stuff like sweet relish and pickled beans from the produce and shares their batches with the rest of us.

It’s a much more simple life. And I like it!

Cars? Got those. Yep. Got a 1995 van that Marty drives to work every day. Got a 1998 Ford Explorer we use a lot on weekends. Got a 2007 Suzuki I drive on the occasion when I go out. Mostly to doctor’s appointments now. They all run well, and they’re all paid for. Insurance and property taxes are laughably low. Sure, I could get a car loan and get something all shiny and new but for what? I don’t go far and if I do need to travel somewhere further I can rent a car for a day or two.

Most of the furniture I have in here came from amazing thrift stores in the area, or from friends who were redecorating. Eclectic is the cool word for it. Clothes? As a group, our friends and I trade clothes back and forth constantly depending on who gained or lost five pounds.

It’s not glamorous. It’s not The American Dream. I don’t care. We’re not poor. Marty and I both make money and I squirrel it away here and there, especially for retirement. The life we live is a choice we make every day. I’m happier with less STUFF, with fewer commitments and less worries. I’m not even sure what I was chasing before. Or why.

God is at the center of this life. All our needs are met. The less complicated we make this life the more we’re able to focus on that point.

Simple.

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