When Patrick and I were newlyweds we lived in a shoebox of an apartment and I loved it. Our entire lives were in that place. We lived simply and had just enough furniture to function, including a broken love seat as our main living room seating. I didn’t buy much home decor, mostly because there wasn’t adequate space to decorate. And, actually, those have become such fond memories for me.
I’m introverted and Patrick is beyond extroverted. I need quiet time. I’m much nicer and livelier that way. Trust me. Throwing us into a 500 square foot space days before one of the snowiest winters in Northwest Wisconsin was a crash course in Marriage Survival 101. We were sometimes snowed in and forced to communicate, even if I wanted to shut myself in our bedroom and binge watch Parenthood. Someday I’ll tell you about the best worst fight we ever had. It involved a polar plunge and valentine doughnuts, as all good stories do.
A few years later, we moved from there to a large house where we could be on separate floors if we wanted. It became too easy to become ships passing in the night, creating our own separate schedules and finding things to do on our own.
Moving from a four bedroom home with a huge yard to a two bedroom loft thirty days ago has forced more communication between us – reverting us back to newlyweds when we had no choice but to hash it out immediately. I’m also becoming more particular about home purchases, knowing full well that we have no space already. I’m almost envious of those days with broken furniture and hand me downs; when it took 12 minutes for four men to unload our belongings from the uhaul. Our hallway is piled with boxes and totes in a real life terrifying jenga game. And we’ve donated car loads of things I had been holding onto that we don’t actually need, things I had picked up along the way simply because I liked them.
Cleaning the house, ridding ourselves of clutter, and clearing our minds are making me more content and less anxious. “Less is more” I find myself repeating. Living with my husband and our busy eleven month old in a space not much bigger than an oversized RV has been an unexpectedly fun adventure. We’re finding value in experiences instead of things. We’re second guessing purchases. We’re investing in relationships, including ours. We’re actively listening and talking to each other. We’re teaching Maddie that what he does is more important than what he has. His memories will hopefully be filled with experiences instead of inventory checklists.
Living in close quarters has been good to us.