Years ago I began to think of life as a buffet, an opportunity with many choices to choose from. Last night as I conversed with friends, I thought more about this--what do you choose for your life as part of this "lifestyle buffet"?
Where you live is an important consideration. My husband and I chose to live in close proximity to my job to save time and to be close to our children when needed. This has been a good choice for me as the short distance has saved money and time in the car. We also, at our realtor's urging, chose a home that sits away from a busy road. This too was a good choice since the children could run around a lot without fear of busy streets. The house is easy to move around in, and has some cozy spaces and this is good too. Truly the only aspects about my home that don't fit me or my lifestyle choices include the home's inside-outside connection. Our house sits somewhat awkwardly on the land, and I would prefer a home where the inside-outside movement provides a much greater flow. Also the shape of our house is not interesting to me--it's, in my opinion, an awkward design, one that does not appeal to my sense of balance or art. Further our home is in the suburbs and I prefer a small town where your home is located close to a library, coffee shop, and a park--a place that's closer to a community center.
I am thinking about this lifestyle buffet this morning as I watch my young adult sons begin to make choices about jobs, homes, partners, and lifestyle. I see them navigating the choices ahead of them, and want to encourage them to reach for their dreams of finding a good place to live, job, friends, and interests. Also as my husband and I begin to have greater freedom now that our children are almost all grown, we too are thinking about the lifestyle buffet in terms of where we live, what we do, and the how we spend our money. We all have limitations with regard to these choices so to find a good balance that fits your spirit and needs does take time.
I try to think of my longing, what calls me. I do like to be surrounded by nature as that feeds my spirit and brings me peace. I like space too so a sparse home with some land appeals to me. Further I also like a community so I doubt I'll ever live far out in the country away from others. I like variety too so I wonder if I'll end up living in a very small and simple place so I can get up and leave often to explore other parts of the country and world for weeks at a time. I'm not quite sure how I'll choose in the years ahead, but I'm thinking about it.
How do you approach the lifestyle buffet? What are your priorities with regard to where you live and whom you live with? What material things do you have to have, and what can you live without? What time of structure, land, community, and natural lands are a must have for you to live well? Sometimes we don't think we have choices, but if you lay out a plan and work towards it, it's likely that you'll achieve at least some of what you aspire to gain in time.