Friday, September 2, 2016

An intentional life – and our changes coming up


On my recent interview with Shannon Ables of The Simply Luxurious Life, I mentioned in our conversation that my husband and I were in the process of changing our lifestyle quite radically.  I’ve had a few questions for more details so I thought I’d do a post on our lifestyle changes.

About eighteen months ago my husband and I started talking about where we live and what we do, and the outcome of these talks is that we have decided to leave our city life and move to the small town where I grew up, selling our business and doing something completely different when we shift there.

Currently we live in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand with a population of near 1.4 million people; however I’ve always dreamed about moving to the country or a small town (or both) to live a quiet and simple life.  Luckily my husband shares this desire.

We do actually live a quiet and simple ‘small-town’ life in the city, but I know it will be so much more relaxing to live in a smaller place without traffic congestion issues and with less people overall.  I always love going back ‘home’ when I visit, for the quiet streets, wide-open sky and calming country feel.

Many years ago my dad made a very wise statement when he pointed to a map of somewhere big (I can’t remember where, it was a city like London or New York) and said ‘concentration of people is the problem’ and we still laugh about that because he loves his slow life in the country, but now, I’m just the same!  I know our cats will love it too; it's quite a built-up-cat neighbourhood where we live.

The place where I grew up - Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay - is on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.  It was a pretty sleepy place in the 1970s and 1980s when I was growing up, but in the mid-80s people started planting grape vines after realising the dry climate with hot days and cool nights was ideal for wine production.  Now, Hawke’s Bay is an attractive destination for both visitors and those wanting to escape the 'rat race' permanently (funnily enough I have heard people talk about being ‘Auckland refugees’ or ‘traffic refugees’ who have moved there).

We are both so excited about ‘moving into’ our dream life and it’s only a matter of time now.  We’re ticking things off on our big to-do list and we're planning that within six months we will be there.  It will be quite novel for us to have time off together too, because for the past twelve years we’ve run a seven-day business with mostly just us two as staff.  And we’ve only known each other thirteen years in total!

My husband worked out how many extra days off per year he'd have (adding together weekends, public holidays and paid leave) going into a normal job and it’s more than being self-employed.  We’re very grateful to our business though, and have received many blessings from the experience, in spite of having worked a lot.  As well as earning money, it actually saved us money since we never had time off to browse the shops together or have Sunday brunch out, plus we’ve learned a lot from running a small business.  And there's nothing like working in a shop all day to cure you of shopping for leisure so it's quite good for keeping clutter at bay too.

Just a change of pace and change of scenery will be wonderful.  I’m so grateful to be in a position to not have to get a full-time job; I could work part-time or even work from home with my writing.  That would be my dream.  And because we have a low-cost lifestyle it will be achievable for us.

We’ve had fun looking at real estate online and thinking about what kind of house we’d like to live in and how much land we want.  I feel really grateful that we are able to do this, and really, it’s just a decision.

As I also mentioned to Shannon on our interview, in my mid-forties I now realise I’m in the second half of my life.  Do I want to save all the good stuff for when I’m retired?  Why not enjoy life now?  Sometimes I feel like we keep on doing the same thing because we've always done the same thing.  That's the only reason I can think of to explain why I have been doing the same old thing for almost thirty years now without putting my head up and looking around to see what else there is.

I’ve mentioned Brian Tracy’s ‘zero-based thinking’ before, and that’s what we used to come to the decision we made.  We talked a lot about Would we open a retail business now if we didn't already have one?  Would we live in this city if we were choosing where we wanted to live?  Where would we live if not here? Overseas?  Somewhere else in New Zealand?

We talked about whether we wanted to live overseas, but I think we’ll stay in New Zealand for now.  We both love living here, love how New Zealand is so far away from everything and love being close to our families.  It’s cool to think about all the possibilities though.

What about you?  If you could start over, what would be your ideal scenario?  Would it be where you live and what you are doing right now?  If not, then what?

46 comments:

  1. Interesting! My dream was always to live in New York City or Paris. I did live in New York, then moved for work to Brussels, which is as close as I got to Paris (I was closer to Paris then than I am now, in the south of France). I had really bad culture shock moving to rural France. Not vis a vis French culture--that was easy--but with regard to the urban-rural change. I've gotten used to it, but I will always miss city life. Either you're a city mouse or a country mouse. If you are country and living in the city, then good for you that you're making the change.

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    1. It's great to hear about your moves and thoughts, thanks so much for sharing them.

      I don't mind city living, but I suppose I really love the slow pace of a smaller place. In my dreams I live in an apartment in NYC or Paris, but in real life somewhere slower suits me more :)

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  2. We are also in the process of making a drastic move. We are in the country now but people are around us. He wants to sit me down in the middle of 1000 acres so he can raise his cattle & work his engineering work remotely. I'm like, "As long as Schwans and UPS deliver there, I'll be OK." Schwans is frozen food delivery (great veggies). He has slowly taken a city-slicker and turned her into someone who enjoys the peace & quiet of country life. Only with him because otherwise? I'd be on the beach!! He's worth it (smile). You are going to so enjoy yourself on your new adventures! Can't wait to read about them.

    Of all Brian's books, which one best explains zero-based thinking? I looked but he has SO many!!

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    1. Exciting times, LBD! I love your criteria for where you'll live - 'must not be too far out for courier deliveries' - excellent!

      I know, Brian Tracy has written about a million books. I've listened to quite a few on mp3, however I most often go to YouTube - he has a channel, plus there are loads of great talks he's done. To find some on zero-based thinking search YouTube for 'brian tracy zero based thinking'. His voice is very soothing :)

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    2. Thanks! I will go do that (Brian/YouTube). Hubby and I are both early 60's and are having a blast but there is much we want to do and have been studying the lives of successful people! Now I'll add Brian to that list (you're on there, too). Nan

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  3. Congratulations Fiona! A very exciting time for you both. We did exactly the same 12 years ago - moved from Auckland to Whangarei. We gained so much, even if it was a financial move backwards. After 10 years there, yet again we asked the question "Is this working for us?" and we have ended up in a very sleepy town at the bottom of the North Island that we looked at years ago whilst on holiday. We didn't do anything then due to family commitments. We are SO lucky to be able to now live our dream, both have good jobs, are laid back beyond belief and yes, our animals benefit greatly also. Looking forward to hearing more from you!

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    1. Thanks so much Alwin, and I loved hearing about your experience. If you're happy to say, which town? I loved Martinborough when we stayed there last Christmas (plus I've been before). And Greytown is gorgeous too.

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  4. Well done on making this lifestyle change and best of luck with your proposed move.
    As for us, we are retired and have been for the past 18 years. My husband loved his work as a senior engineer and he worked only 2 miles from where we lived. His work allowed him quite a bit of travel, mainly to Holland, Germany and the Czech Republic but he also visited Japan. As he enjoyed his work and as we live in such a beautiful part of the UK (South Devon) my husband never applied for jobs elsewhere which might've taken him up the career ladder; we felt quality of life, not upping sticks and moving, was more important for us and our growing sons, and in all our 52 years of married life we have only moved house once.
    OK, we've maybe lost out on new experiences, but weighing one against the other: being settled v. the unknown, we have opted for the settled way of life. We feel so fortunate to have lived our lives (my husband was born in a village not far away, I moved to Devon from what was then the industrial north of England when I was only six years old) in such a lovely area - Devon has two coasts and two moors. My husband was never made redundant in all his working life, and we have always had just sufficient income. Also, I enjoyed my part-time work as a secretary (that would be a PA I suppose today) and I now enjoy my freelance feature writing, something I can do into ripe old age, providing the mental faculties are still there!
    What else might I have done? Well, that's a difficult question as I met my husband while I was still at school but perhaps, had I my time over and we had not met, perhaps I'd have gone to Uni and trained for a 'career'. But in the late 1950s/earl 1960s, few women did this, they used work as a stop-gap to getting married and having a family.
    Margaret P

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    1. You certainly do live in a beautiful part of England, Margaret, and I hope I get to visit there one day.

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  5. Hi Fiona: I picked up and moved from the city to the country life because I met a man I loved and that's where he lived. He didn't want to move, so I did. We now live on ten acres and own a small business. Yes, there were challenges to the lifestyle change...I missed getting dressed up, availability of everything in the city, etc. But all in all, it's been a good change for me, and I couldn't imagine going back. When I sit on my back porch listening to the peace and quiet, nothing else compares to that tranquility. We are surrounded by nature, and nothing else has brought me more inner peace than that. I wish you the best on your move. I encourage both of you to find and know what you want and go after it. You will be amazed at what you feel when you've done it. Bev

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    1. Bev, your description of the peace, quiet and tranquility as well as being surrounded by nature is what we are going for. Having lived there growing up plus visiting regularly, I know we will find it, it is not an unknown.

      What a gorgeous story of you moving to be with your love :)

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  6. This sounds like such an exciting time for you both! I am eager to see your new city and will be crossing my fingers that you find a fabulous home and a great job.

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    1. Leslie, not so much a city as a... village - not even a town - population 13,000! And I will certainly share our journey on the blog. Thanks for the Canadian good luck :)

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  7. Hi Fiona! Wow, congratulations on making such a momentous decision - and the very best of luck with your new life! It sounds amazing. :)
    We are planning the next phase of our lives, as very young 56 and 60 year olds - we didn't travel when we were young, so we've decided we want to do that now, before we get too old (or unable). The plan is to sell up, travel in the UK hopefully in a campervan through the summer months, and do house sitting assignments around the world the rest of the year. I can continue doing my online work, which got me out of my job a year ago now - we need now to get the hubby out of his job of 37 years (his retirement age is actually 66 but there's no way he wants to be working until that age!), and I'm hoping to get some writing published.
    Hopefully within the next 2 years we'll be selling up and moving to a rental property on the other side of the country, then our real adventure can begin! can't wait.
    Gill x

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    1. What fun plans you and your husband have coming up, Gill! I'm so excited for you. It's great you have portable income too, as that's what holds most of us back from throwing everything in :)

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  8. Sounds like a great plan. I look forward to following your move via your blog.
    Goodness knows what I'll come up if I apply some of that zero-based thinking. It will probably include a house move, it usually does!

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    1. PP, 'beware, zero-based thinking can have far reaching effects' :)

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  9. I think you're not giving yourself enough credit. You've done very gutsy things that you've shared with us through blog. Having your own business, Divorcing & re-marrying (I think you mentioned it before....) Starting a blog, having a super nice, positive, and insightful audience, which led to writing & publishing your own book, which led to doing videos. Quite gutsy moves! I hope you enjoy this next chapter of life and where it leads you :)

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    1. You are very kind and supportive, thank you. All of those things are true, and I think the readers of this blog are all that you describe and more. That paragraph was directed at my work life. I'd been in a 9-5 office job for the 15 years of my working life before we opened our business. I didn't particularly enjoy it but did those jobs because I knew how to do them. I never even felt confident enough to go for a sales job even though I think I would have been good at that.

      Still, I am where I am, and I'm changing the future :) Many thanks.

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  10. Fiona, I am so excited for you! I told my husband recently that I'd love to move somewhere more quiet, less congested, and overall just a slower life. He does special effects in the film industry so we couldn't move too far from where we are right now - we are in the hub of his industry. He has a 5 minute commute, but his job is not the type where he can do it electronically or too remote. The problem is we border a city that has recently been on the news as the "#2 worst drivers in California" (or So. Cal. - I forget) survey. Los Angeles came in at #1, so you know it's bad! Even another small suburb like where I grew up or where my husband grew up would be better than where we are now. Also, the weather here is the opposite of what I/we like. We much prefer cooler weather and grew up with sea breeze.

    My husband isn't on board with me yet ... yet ;) because of his work, but I've got my fingers crossed for retirement that he'll consider the move.

    One thing that is non-negotiable for both of us is that we must be near family, at least within a 2-hour drive of everyone - and that would place us right where we grew up.

    Congratulations Fiona, and I have a feeling you will be very, very happy with your decision - so jealous! :)

    D.

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    1. Thanks so much D, and I really hope you get to live in your quiet place too.

      If YOU keep believing in your dream and your vision, and share it with your husband when appropriate, you never know what might happen.

      Half of my conversations with my husband (maybe I exaggerate, but just a little) start with 'wouldn't it be nice' 'imagine if' 'imagine when' 'can you picture us doing...'

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  11. Your move sounds so exciting! I went to Hawke's Bay when we were on holidays in NZ, it is so lovely - I can completely imagine why you would want to be there. We are currently planning a move from Queensland to Melbourne, leaving all family and friends up here. We have previously lived overseas and interstate in Australia, but somehow this move seems more daunting. I am in my mid-forties too and would like to be moving somewhere less frenetic but my husband's job will be based there so no choice at this time. However, reading your thoughts has made me want to re-evaluate where I want to be in the next few years, so thank you for the inspiration! (And also for mentioning zero-based thinking, I have never heard of it and am off to investigate) :-)

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    1. Hi Lisa, Melbourne is a gorgeous city, however I understand how you feel completely. I also believe in blooming where you are planted, so maybe you could reinvent yourself/your thinking? Starting with a list of everything that is great about Melbourne and what you could do there. And, nothing is forever. You can plan out for beyond that like you've said.

      Go see Brian on YouTube as I mentioned to LBDDiaries above, he's wonderful (I have quite the crush, he's like a kind, wise uncle) and he'll tell you all about zero-based thinking.

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  12. Wonderful news, Fiona, for you, your husband and two kitties. I made a huge move almost eight years ago from Sydney (where I was born and raised) to a coastal town with a population of 7000. Why ? For love ! He was born, raised, spent his whole life in this town, has operated a small business for 20-something years and didn't want to move to Sydney. It was a difficult change to make and there were negatives but also lots of positives. Sums up life, really, doesn't it ? So many people said I was 'brave', others probably thought I was foolish but too polite to say - but you only get one life and I would hate to die wondering 'what if ...'.

    You can be chic anywhere :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Lara. I think where you live sounds idyllic, but it probably was a culture-shock if you grew up in a big city like Sydney. Good you for taking a chance on love!

      Yes, I agree, you can be chic - and happy - anywhere.

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  13. Congratulations, Fiona ! What wonderful news - and how great that you are going to live the life you want. You are so right...why wait until retirement? Your plan sounds great, and the fact that you can concentrate on your writing is such a gift. I have to do more research on zero based thinking. We are in a season of change as well. I mentioned before that I am retiring in January, and we are hoping to move...downsize again, even smaller. This summer we explored communities in Florida and other states on the east coast of the USA. We are leaning toward Delaware - just one state away...a little warmer, low taxes, nice area, closer to the beaches, etc. As a matter of fact we are spending the next two weekends exploring houses there. And, like you, we feel this will be different, but familiar - and close enough to family that it will not be a plane ride to family functions. Just this morning on our 5 AM (!!!) walk we talked about how exciting this time in our life is going to be. We can do ANYTHING. Don't wait for retirement...too many dear friends never made it to retirement. Live now, make decisions that are best for YOU, and enjoy ! Wishing you good thoughts and blessings on your journey!

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    1. Hi Ann, how thrilling to be shopping for the next incarnation of your life! It's quite boggling to think you could go anywhere, and not only are you shopping for a new home but a new neighbourhood (and state!) as well. So exciting.

      I agree - many don't even make it to retirement, so what have you worked your whole life for? It's a balance of enjoying life at the momement as well as preparing financially for the future (otherwise none of us would show up for work :)

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    2. You are so right...it is a balance. We have saved and it is time to enjoy. The decision to move ahead with this was confirmed when a good friend passed away very suddenly - after just downsizing, moving to another state, and building a home with all the features she ever wanted. Did not get to enjoy even two weeks in the new space. That is when I thought of the line from the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" - "wait, wait for what ??"
      Blessings to you continue your journey !

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  14. Hello Fiona by the way, I loved your interview with Shannon. I am waiting for your book to arrive and I cannot wait to read it. I am amazed what a kindred spirit you are to those of us that loves all things french! I love your thoughts on living a intentioned life and I am reading many blogs and books on that very subject. I live in San Antonio Texas that is actually grown into a large city, however because it is spread out if still feels like a smaller town. I am so far from France but like you mentioned in your interview, I ask myself what is it I love about the dreamy thoughts of being in Paris and living as French women do.....I believe it is living a well intentional life. You are right in that you can incorporate this right now into your home wherever you are. It is your blog and Shannon's blogs and others like you that inspire each of us to slow down and live this intentional life! My husband and I plan little trips to small towns all the time and we come home renewed and inspired to bring that beautiful life to our everyday life! Thank you for your beautiful writings! Hugs!!!!!

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    1. Hi Teresa, thank so much for ordering my book and I hope you really enjoy it! Your life sounds delightful and you are proof that you can live a happy and chic lifestyle wherever you live :)

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  15. Maybe it is getting to be a trend. We've recently (2 months ago) moved away from the big city to a small town. It was only possible because of retirement though. Now we can walk to the ocean and have a beautiful view. Large cities, with the crowds, crime and traffic can seem almost toxic after a while. But I know some people love it so it's each to his/her own. Ida

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    1. Hi Ida, I agree, each to his own, and often different seasons of life ask for different priorities which dictates somewhat where you need to live. Your move sounds wonderful :)

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  16. Congratulations, Fiona. So exciting for you and your husband. Where you are moving sounds lovely. I love New Zealand wines and would love to visit the area where you are relocating to.

    If I had the means, I would move to Boston. As a senior, it would be spectacular to live where public transport is abundant. I fear losing the ability to drive myself, to stay active. We have a son in Boston and visit frequently. And I grew up in a city. I love the brownstones, museums and restaurants. So much to do. Oh, well. One can dream.

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    1. Hawke's Bay is definitely a great wine area, Kristien. I know what you mean about public transport in the cities, and Boston looks wonderful. I'd love to visit there one day.

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  17. Eight years ago my husband and I did just this and we'very never regretted leaving the rat race. Our "new", small hometown was a great place for our son to grow up and I love my quiet, quiet neighborhood of only 9 houses on 75 acres. Good luck and enjoy.

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    1. Oh, your life sounds fabulous! I can't wait :)

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  18. Oh me, oh my Fiona! You are speaking my language! A couple of years ago I talked with my husband about traveling overseas. I really want to see Europe. My husband served in the military so he has been all over. I am hoping that in about 2 years we can take a family trip to Europe. I want to see Florence, Tuscany, Paris but most of all the South of France. I would love to buy a 14th - 18th century chateau and restore it! That is my dream! Thank you for this post! It helps others to know that striving for "something different" is worth it.

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    1. It totally is worth it, Mrs Shockley. And I'm excited to have the time to travel too, once we've finished with our business. Europe is on the list :)

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  19. Dearest Fiona, I've had a lovely catch up over the last little while and shall follow this plan with interest. So lovely to read your inspiring words again. xxx

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    1. Thanks for coming for a 'visit', dear Rose. xx

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  20. Fiona, you are very wise to live intentionally and to have the courage to make this transition now, and not wait. How lovely that you and your husband see eye to eye on this and both want the same thing. I had a little medical issue a month ago that, had it not happened when it did (and in time for me to heal from the surgery), I might have not been able to leave next week for my two-week trip to the South of France. That certainly reminded me that at 64, I can't assume that I'll be in good form for travel indefinitely, so I've already booked another trip for March, this time to Cornwall, England, where -- thanks primarily to Daphne du Maurier -- I've always wanted to travel. I'm going while the going is good, even if it's a budget stretch. Frankly, I think that is a good philosophy for anyone at any age. Live the life you want NOW!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your inspiring thought process, Gail. I hope you enjoy both of your trips - they sound incredible :)

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  21. This looks a very good book.I would to read this.Thank u

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  22. Hi Fiona,
    Congratulations! It sounds like the perfect authentic life for you. My husband and I just moved into our dream house in a tiny town - we moved from one of the largest cities in the States - we planned this for 9 years and were able to start over completely, as you are, in your mid-40s. Like you, we're also in a position where I don't have to work, so I'm enjoying nesting at home and planning a large garden in the spring. We don't have kids and I think that helped us financially to make this drastic move. We've been married for 14 years and feel grateful that we can lead the most authentic lives for us.

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  23. Hi Amy, our situation sounds identical to yours, and I have to say your life sounds blissful now. I love nesting at home. I agree that not having children makes a huge difference to this choice - kids are expensive!

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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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