Things change when you don’t have a car. You have to be more patient. You have to understand that you need to leave the house earlier than you used to. You have to allow more time to get places – and to get home. In short, you have to slow your life down.
It would be easy to decide that we weren’t willing to embrace this slower paced lifestyle. We could take out a loan and fix the car (although maybe not – the cost of the repairs will likely be roughly twice what we’re paying for the car). But instead, we decided that we do want to live life a little slower. We don’t want “Simplicity Breeds Happiness” to be just a catchphrase in our family; we want it to be something we truly put into practice in our everyday lives.
In order to make that a reality, we’ve decided to invest in quality bicycles instead of repairing our car. We’re looking into a good wagon, too, so that we can get groceries on foot (right now, we’re limited to one grocery bag at a time, which we put on the top of the stroller). And you know what? We’ve all decided that we really like this more relaxed lifestyle. There are times when it would be easier . . . quicker . . . less tiring to just hop in the car and drive the 0.8 miles to the grocery store. Or the 3.5 miles to the library. But it’s not necessary. We take the time to get there on our own steam. And it feels good.
So, short but sweet today. I hope, even in these few words, that I’ve inspired you to slow down a little bit, too. Enjoy your family. Enjoy the nice summer weather. Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment you get when you power yourself somewhere!
Before I wrap up, two non-related things I want to mention. First, this is going to be a heavy review week. If you don’t like reading those, I apologize. But I hope you’ll read them anyway; I’ve got some neat products to share with you this week.
Second, if you have access to Parade magazine, get a copy and read it this week. It’s about “The Best Main Streets in America,” and our personal favorite Main Street won second place! It’s not in the town we currently live in, but it’s where we want to move to. If you can’t get a copy of the magazine (usually found in the Sunday newspaper), here’s a link to the article about America’s Best Main Streets. Happy reading!
Sanz @ From The Mrs.
I am absolutely amazed at how you are living car-less. Do you really mean no car at all? My mind is swirling with all the “but what about ____?” So I must ask…what about appointments or things that aren’t withing biking distance for an entire family? Maybe your town is different than where we live at that makes it doable. Or maybe you’re just amazing (which I know you are!) I am thinking about a trip to the hospital (25 minutes by car for us), going to to grocery store is only a few miles but there’s a very busy road that we’d have to ride on, library 20 miles.
I very much appreciate your post today and the “nudge” to slow it down. I feel like I am working so hard to slow it down but it feels impossible. I wonder if the area I am in is more extreme than others or if you have just been able to “let it go” (meaning to push to rush and do a bazillion things.) My kids aren’t doing any sports out of the home right now and won’t until January. We are very likely (literally) the only family without our kids in a sport. I like our evenings to be free for family play/dinner. But there’s always just so much! Scouting, church, our volunteer positions, homeschooling board, etc. I’m trying to say yes to only the most important things, but there’s just SO much! Okay, now I’m just rambling. I really love what you are doing with your family. We went camping last week and I kept talking to my parents and husband about living in a tiny house. No one is on board. 🙂
I meant to reply to this long ago. Sorry it’s taken me so long…
Yes, we are living 100% car free at the moment. The PT Cruiser we purchased from my in-laws is currently sitting in our driveway with a broken timing chain (or belt, I’m not sure which). The verdict’s still out whether it will need a new engine or not. Apparently, it’s about a 70/30 split whether the engine needs replacing when the belt brakes (70 being the odds that it DOES need a new engine). The diagnosis alone on that is several hundred dollars; the repair will be either $1100 (if the engine’s still good) or $4000+ (if the engine’s shot). Since we live without debt (the car payments to my in-laws has been the ONLY time we’ve broken that rule lately, and so far it’s bitten us big time), we have to make a serious decision on whether or not to fix the car. It will take some intense saving for a long time to do so.
Now let’s to your questions :). Our town is roughly 4 miles by 4 miles. Almost everything we need to do is on the 4-mile stretch down the center of town. The edges are all residential. We have two grocery stores within a mile of our house. The hospital is either 3/4 of a mile or 1 1/2 miles, depending on the route you take, and our main doctor’s office is in a suite right at the hospital. The library, farmer’s market, and bank are all about 3.5 miles away. Small Fry will be starting speech therapy soon, and that’s about 2 miles away. Our town has about 22,000 residents, so it’s not tiny, but it’s small enough that it’s safe to bike around pretty much anywhere. Even the busiest road is fine for biking, though we tend to take surface streets more than the highway when we’ve got the kids (especially Munchkin) with us. So it sounds like being car free where I am is a lot easier than it is for you.
We’ve never been huge on “programs,” so it’s probably easier for me to slow down than it might be for others. Seahawk did basketball last year, but that was the first time any of our kids had done sports. Since we’ve had to move churches, we no longer have the excessive commitments there. At my father-in-law’s church, Will was the youth leader, so he was teaching a Sunday school class, teaching youth group on Wednesday nights, and playing bass on the worship team. All of that is gone (at least for the time being). We’re enjoying just being attenders at a church for a while. It also sounds like you’re more involved in your community than we are. I don’t think that’s a bad thing! We don’t do scouting, and I’ve never found a good opportunity to do volunteer work around here. We’re not a part of a homeschool co-op; we just do our own thing.
As for the tiny house thing, you have to sell it as a “cottage,” not a “tiny house.” That instantly makes it more palatable to people! My husband is currently trying to think over ways to make THIS house reasonable for us (and a heating bill that’s almost as much as the rent in the winter isn’t reasonable!). If we can make it work, we’ll stay here a little longer. If we can’t, we’ll explore other avenues again.