It’s amazing how one tiny decision can change your life.
Last week I talked about how we gave up our car, almost on a whim, and bought bikes and transit passes instead. After a year of carfree living in the suburbs we decided to take our experiment to a whole new level and move right into the city. As a lifelong suburbanite, this is one of the scariest things I have ever done!
I mean, isn’t the city dangerous? Isn’t there a lot of crime? What about kids living in the city? Aren’t kids supposed to have their own backyard, their own sandbox, their own fenced-in playground and treehouse? And don’t even get me started on downsizing to fit into something we could afford in the city. How is a family of four supposed to squeeze into 750 sq ft and be happy?
Why we decided to move to the city was pretty simple. Ben commuted nearly an hour each way to work via bike and/or public transit. He left in the morning before the kids were awake and arrived back home in the evening just in time for dinner, then bedtime. It was no way to live. He saw the kids so little.
Initially we only had one criterion for our new dwelling. We wanted to be within a 20-minute bike commute to Ben’s work. That was it. We just wanted him home more.
We could have bought a car, sure. We were 100% debt free and saving money every month. However, we had fallen in love with our carfree lifestyle. We loved biking, walking, and bussing. We loved the stress-free, simple, healthy, and happy lifestyle carfree living afforded us. We knew that living in the city would simplify our life even more since it would be even easier to get around without a car.
Simplify your life?! It was amazing the reactions we got from people when we broke the news that we were giving up a decent-sized house and backyard to live in the city. It seemed to a lot of people that we were going against the American dream. We wanted no car, a smaller living space, less stuff, and more time as a family. Call us crazy. Many have.
So we did it. Our goal as a family is to live an interesting, meaningful, intentional life. Moving into the city fit that goal. We got rid of 50% of our stuff, packed up what was left, and squished it all into an apartment in the heart of Portland. We knew it was going to be different and maybe a little scary, but we also knew that if we hated it we could change our plans again.
The Advantages of City Living
Well, we haven’t hated it at all. We LOVE it. We love the city. We love Portland. We have met some of the most amazing and interesting people in our community. City living has afforded us business and social opportunities that we never would have experienced in the suburbs. We are happier and healthier as a family than we have ever been before. We are thriving in the city. We are thriving with less stuff. We are thriving without a car.
One of the experiences we love the most is the opportunity we have to participate in the Sharing Economy. We donate our stuff and our time to non-profits like Free Geek, the Tool Share, the Kitchen Share, and Swap ‘n’ Play. I’ll write about these meaningful organizations that bring the community together and allow us to share our resources and our knowledge with each other next time 🙂 Stay tuned!