Transitional Living.

DSC_5060-10PIN ITIn July last year Bo and I moved out of our rental. As a part of our Nothing New Project I wanted to see if we could live transitionally for the final six months of the year.  It was a very experimental phase in the project, one that I was willing to pull out of at any time if it wasn’t working for us… I wanted to see if we could live without a fixed address. I had conditions of course. Conditions around safety for Bo and around the kinds of places we would stay. It was important to me that we stayed in the same town (for work and stability reasons for both Bo and I). As much as I wanted to just sell everything we had and take off, I knew that it wasn’t the right time to do that. So I started a new job and we let go of our home and we put our favourite furniture and belongings in storage in my mums garage. Over the past 8 months we have lived in 8 different homes and connected with countless different people. We have cared for dogs and cats and chickens and geese and ducks. We have helped harvest vegetables and pick fruit and grow plants and shell beans. We have lived in homes in town and in homes on properties and even in wonderful little home on wheels.

Every time we moved Bo was excited. Every time things changed it was a new adventure. She was always happy to reach somewhere new and she was always a little sad to say goodbye to her furry friends that she befriended (there were ten or so along the way). She showed me how easy it is for a child to be flexible, how welcoming she was to change and how excited she was for new adventures. There were times when it was hard and there were times when it wasn’t exactly what we expected. There were hiccups and mistakes and chickens who we had to chase through paddocks until after sunset.

There is something in me though, a homebody, that needs my own space. I’m a communal soul at heart but also an introvert. I like my own space. I like to be able to do things my way and I get really uncomfortable when I feel like I’m stepping on someone elses toes. I’m always trying to justify my need for something of ‘my own’ when I so strongly believe in communal living and sharing. At this stage I don’t actually have an answer to any of that… I’m always open to new ideas and to new opportunities but for now, for Bo and I, it’s time to have our own place again. To have somewhere that we can call home, where I’m not scared we are going to break someone else’s things and where I can grow what I want in the garden and have an empty cupboard to put our clothes. There even came a time when Bo began to ask for a space of her very own, it was then I realised that whilst she is resilient and definitely flexible, she too needs something that is her own in some way.

So, this week Bo and I are moving into our very own place, right in town, a few blocks away from work and daycare and only a few more to the beach. It’s not the rural sprawl I’ve always dreamed of. It doesn’t have a backyard for fruit trees and dog. But it’s not forever. It’s the next step in the growing that we are doing as a family. I can’t help but feel still a little torn about the end of this part of the project. It was such a huge challenge for me to step out of my comfort zone and really engage in the idea of transitional living, and it was such a success, it feels kind of strange to abandon it now.

But like every time I get caught in my own thoughts and my own internal debates, I remind myself that good things come from good intentions…  and the best things come when you least expect them, or at least when you stop trying to force them. You don’t need to push the river, it flows by itself. 

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  • February 16, 2015 - 8:11 am

    Evan - Bo is a lucky girl to have such an extraordinary Mum like you!ReplyCancel

    • February 16, 2015 - 5:18 pm

      Sash - Thank you xx I think I’m very lucky to have an extraordinary child like she is… (even when she drives me nuts)ReplyCancel

  • February 16, 2015 - 10:23 am

    Rebecca McIntosh - We live transitionally for work while we pay off an old farm house on a bit of dirt.
    When we were living in said house we decided to have a mate live in his caravan with us as we were always keen to share our dirt and envisioned a little commune out there. It didn’t go well. Too many different expectations and not enough free communication. Probably the wrong time as I was expecting our first baby and nesting with someone who leaves his shit in the toilet every morning doesn’t work well, and quite possibly the wrong person (my husband had housemated with him before but only later remember how hard he was to live with). Sadly it put us off communal living but I’m healing. I look back on what we learnt and how we can apply that if we went down that road in the future.
    One thing we’ve learnt from it and during transitional living (when I ended up at my parents for 4 months) is that there is always someone who owns where you are living and ownership is a strange thing. It was so hard to actually give up the idea of ownership when we had the fella on our land, as much as my ideals wanted to my heart still cried “mine mine mine”. And as much as I want to live untied down to a place and things, in the end I had to fall back on good old trusty materialistic baby boomer gen who own a house and can put me up comfortably for a while when things fall thru.
    So though I idealistically want to discard the idea of ownership, in the end I’m dependent on it.
    Hoping to get further towards my ideals and further away from my “I need it, its mine” default. Have been so inspired reading snippets of your journey.ReplyCancel

    • February 16, 2015 - 5:15 pm

      Sash - It’s a huge thing to come to terms with – letting go of that need to ‘own’ something. It’s so ingrained in us that I think we often can be far too hard on ourselves when we can’t handle living for too long in a scenario where nothing is ‘ours’ and everything is ‘someone elses’ – I too, like you, have always envisioned living in a commune of sorts but I’m starting to realise that the only way that may work for me is if it is built together (wtih other families) and not going in onto something that is already someone elses. I find I lack stability when I feel like I’m living on someone elses turf as it inhibits me from doing things the way that I would naturally as I”m afraid of stepping on someone elses toes – whilst I think that is an incredibly humbling and important learning curve it’s not something I could do indefinitely… Learning, learning all the way. Thank you for your measured and insightful comment…

      PS. Shit left in the toilet every morning is a deal breaker for me too.ReplyCancel

  • February 16, 2015 - 10:41 am

    Julie - Bo moved and adapted well cause she always has a home. A home in your heartReplyCancel

    • February 16, 2015 - 5:19 pm

      Sash - That really is it isn’t it. Kids man. They just need all that love. xxxReplyCancel

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