The thing I want most in my life is more time. More leisure time, to be exact. I want time to watch Mr. Rogers and do craft projects with my daughter. I want time to go to the grocery store and to local parks during the week. I want a couple hours of writing time in the mornings when I’m feeling fresh and creative, and I’d like to take art classes again. I’d like to live somewhere rural and scenic with views of the mountains, and have a few chickens, just for fun.
I know this all probably sounds naïve and trite, and also unrealistic. More time means less work, and good views mean higher rents. The two seem incompatible.
This morning, I was browsing craigslist for country cottages within 40 miles of my job. I found a few places for under $1000. Is it crazy to seriously consider going down to part-time, downsizing, and living far away from the city? This desire — to live in the countryside — is something that has come up again and again throughout my life, but I’ve never taken the necessary next step to make it happen.
What’s holding me back?
Honestly, if I really think about it, I think it’s fear. No, I know it’s fear. I am afraid of not having a full-time job. I am afraid of not doing what is expected of me. I am afraid of living somewhere so different from the places I’ve always lived. I am afraid that it’s ridiculous to even think about living another kind of life.
If I went part-time, I’d lose about half my income. Could we survive on $60K a year? In some parts of the country, that might seem like plenty, but where we live it’s half of what the average family makes. It would be about 35K after taxes and insurance is taken out. We don’t have many bills: Just $205 a month college loan and $100 a month for car insurance, plus the cost of food, gas, travel, etc. Right now, we don’t have a car payment or credit card debt.
But is this all just an escapist fantasy I’d soon regret after taking the plunge?