One day earlier this summer, Bill and I walked through our four bedroom house on the water in Florida and had a ritual good-bye. We remembered important things that had happened in different rooms and thought about all the people who had stayed in them. Then we got in the car and began our journey north. I turned to him and said, “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…” to which he replied, “Let’s go exploring.”
Certain benchmark ages cry out for response. Turning 65 (which will happen for Bill in October and me in December) is typically marked by signing up for Medicare. We had something further in mind. For the past several years we’d been getting impatient with Florida. I find the heat and humidity oppressive and physically taxing. We were spending more time in our house, less time interacting with people, exercising or pursuing interests. We were challenged less often and I began to see how easy it would be to live in an increasingly narrow world, to grow old. It was time for something to jog us out of what could easily become a rut.
We have always loved Boston. Bill was born about a half dozen miles from where we now live, but moved away as a child. I fell in love with the city as an adult. Good friends and most of Bill’s cousins live here. Our daughter Kate and her husband, Marton, had moved here. In February they gave birth to Leila, their first child, our fourth grandchild. While in the process of figuring out a living situation in Boston we were told by our friend, Margaret, about Beacon Hill Friends House. We went for a visit and fell in love with the place. They accepted us as residents. A week after leaving Florida, we began the process of moving into our third floor, 16 by 18 foot room overlooking Chestnut Street.
During a recent visit to Boston, our friend, Julie, commented that on the surface it looked like our lives were contracting – we had to radically downsize. But, she went on to say, the contraction was in service of an expanded life. That has been our experience so far. We have a great city to explore, 19 other lovely housemates to get to know, easy access to parks, museums, universities, libraries, and public transportation, a new grandchild to watch grow up, and some different and gentler ways of pursuing our careers. It is a magical world. We are so lucky to get to go exploring.
As a three-year vet of the minimalist lifestyle — I can fit all I own in the back of my Yaris hatchback; well, with two bikes on an outside rack — I can tell you that you will love it. Good for both of you. I’ll look forward to hearing about your experiences. BTW: There’s a Quaker house in Mexico City. Let me know if you’re ever there.
Thanks, Eric. Maybe you can give us some tips. Hope to see you at some point – in Boston or Mexico City.
Miss you, but love the sound of your voice on the page. The writer is emerging;-)
Thanks, Mary Ellen. I’ll be looking for some coaching as I continue this writing journey.
Great post, Carol! It brought me right into your life. May you have a wonderful adventure in Boston; we’re glad you’re here!
Thanks, Margaret. Thanks for all of your support.
Thank you, Carol and Bill, for sharing this incredibly creative and inspiring journey, especially to younger couples like Dave and I who are attempting to live the ‘path un-followed’ in our marriage, too. I look forward to future entries and will hold you both in prayer. I hope we have an opportunity to meet in person at some point down the road. Peace!
Thanks, Carrie. I, too, hope we can meet in person.
Radically downsize to expanded life – yes!
I know I will love reading your adventures, Carol. The main characters are already my heroes and the writer is clearly gifted!
Wow. Downsizing has been much on my mind of late, so I will be eager to read your posts. My efforts so far have been confined to finding random things to throw out or give away. You are very brave. Can’t wait to look over your shoulder. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for your note, Kathy. Look forward to comparing notes with you along the way.
I am happy for you and Bill. As a native of the Boston area and a graduate of BC on Chestnut Hill, I personally feel you could not have chosen a better ambiance for your desire to pursue your dream.
Best of luck and God speed.
Thank you for your part in my SD preparation.
Thank you for sharing Carol! I can’t wait to follow you and Bill on A Year In A Room…. Miss you!
Bravo to you two for throwing your deck in the air once again! Will see you in Boston in the next 6 months while visiting our nephew in his first year at Harvard Biz School.
Would you & Larry like to stay in the Mary Dyer room or the George Fox room, Susan? (Special rates for friends of residents!)
Reading your blog is the next best thing to having you in person! I very much look forward to sharing the journey through your pages! I pray Gods richest blessings be made apparent as you go exploring!!
Dear Carol and Bill,
I stand in awe at what you have done; it takes a lot of spunk. My sense is that you will not regret it. If anyone is looking for adventure, I can not think of a better place to start than Boston, having grown up just 29 miles northwest of there. It seems to me it has all the advantages of a “big” city without some of the drawbacks. I wish you many blessings.
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I haven’t met you Carol, but worked with Bill once upon a long time ago. You’re a great story-teller, and it’s a wonderful story. Keep it up, and thank you.
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