Why I’m Glad We Spent 11 Weeks in Louisiana (Or, an Aside About the Joy of Intentional Living)

So a quick disclaimer: by rights, this post probably should have come before Rebecca’s Southwest, Here We Come! post, at least if we’re looking at things chronologically. However, sometimes you need time to roll things around in your head, see where they all settle, and figure out how you really feel about them. This just happens to be how long it took me.

intentional living

So, after a lot of travelling in the fall, we posted up for a quite a long time in Louisiana over the holidays. Like, a super long time. Almost double the six weeks we were originally planning. And let me tell you — at about the halfway, I was ready to jump in the car and burn rubber west. “So why didn’t you just leave, genius? You live in a camper for crying out loud!” is a pretty reasonable response to that, so if that’s what jumped into your head, I don’t blame you at all. I said that to myself on more than one occasion.

There were, however, real reasons that we decided to head there early, and stay longer than originally planned. In fact, there were some really good reasons. Check out all the really cool things we were able to do and be a part of:

  • We were able to be at my youngest brother’s final football tournament of high school, having never seen him play before. (My family moved down to Louisiana shortly after Rebecca and I got married, making it a lot harder to visit other than on major holidays and summers).
  • We were able to be with my family for Thanksgiving (including both my mom and dad’s respective sides), which hasn’t happened in almost 10 years.
  • We were able to celebrate both my grandfathers’ birthdays, and my uncle’s birthday, with them, for the first time ever.
  • We were able to celebrate Christmas with my whole family, including having time to watch Christmas movies, go look at Christmas lights, see a Christmas play, and tons of other things we could never cram into a a few days before Christmas on week long holiday visit.
  • I was able to spend a ton of time with my brothers, who I’ve been very far from from a number of years, and who are my favorite people ever.
  • We were able to spend a lot of time with my grandparents on both sides. I’m blessed at 30 to still have all four of my grandparents not only living, but active and relatively healthy, and we had some wonderful times visiting with them.
  • We were able to spend a lot of time with aunts and uncles and cousins that we rarely see, and get to know them and their lives on a lot deeper level, and really build friendships with them that we didn’t really have before.
  • We were able to be present at my youngest brother’s Boy Scout Eagle Scout award ceremony. We are a Scouting family, and both myself and my middle brother are Eagle Scouts, so it was a real blessing to be able to be there for our final Eagle Scout.
  • We were there to send my middle brother off to the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, a lifelong dream of his that he has worked and trained endlessly to prepare for, and that he is currently excelling at.
  • My parents bought a gorgeous new home while we were there, and we were able to help them do some renovation work and painting, and get it ready to move into, as well as staying around to help on the day of the Big Move.

Now that’s a pretty big list, and those are just the highlights. And somewhere in the middle of my moaning and whining and wanderlust, it hit me — this is exactly the point of Our Streamlined Life: to be able to be where we want to be, for the events we want to be at, when we want to be there. No one was twisting my arm. I was free to choose to be there — and stay there — for as long as I  wanted. FREE. That was the freedom we’d be looking for and trying to build, and once I pulled my head out of my own backside, I was able to see that we had achieved it!

And I guess that’s the point of this ramble. Build yourself the kind of life that allows you to decide how your time is spent, and what’s important to you, and to be there for the things that really matter. Life moves fast, and it’s too easy to look up and realize years have past and you been spending all your time on what feels urgent, instead of what’s actually important. We’re going to do our best to make sure that doesn’t happen to us again.

I grew up in New Jersey, went to college in Virginia, and married a girl from New Hampshire, so I can drive the East Coast in my sleep. I love exploring, jumping out of airplanes, whitewater rafting, fast cars, comic books, and generally refusing to act my age. More practically, I love budgeting and financial planning, renovating and updating older homes (and now campers), and learning to make our family as self-sustaining as possible.

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