By Randi Crawford
I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so happy in Colorado, and it finally hit me. Everything is so simple. We are staying in a three-bedroom condominium on the mountain, and life is good. By the time summer rolls around, our whole family needs a break. We are on one speed all year, and it’s go. I’m tired all the time and I feel like my canned response whenever my parents call is: “We’re all great, just really busy.” Our life consists of school, sports, homework and sleeping. Then you layer in birthday parties, travel teams, play dates, video games and watching “Friends,” and you have a full plate. My parents ask me if my kids remember how to use a phone. They don’t understand that kids are going 24/7, and for them to pick up a phone and call is close to an impossible request. That’s sad, I know, but it’s the truth.
Before we leave town, we cover all bases. This summer we waited to leave until the final lacrosse game was played (not that our son was even able to play in it), and my daughter had a sleep over birthday party. When we get home, it will be perfectly timed for football and cheer, so we had to be ready for that without skipping a beat. We arranged for an early equipment pick up, hit up the stores for all the “extra” gear we need and the only thing left on the list is a pair of cleats. Trust me when I say that we leave no stone unturned before we head out of town…
…Which is why we are so happy when we have “nothing” on the to do list. From the minute we enter this beautiful state, we all let go. Granted, I’m not stating the obvious – we have no schedule to adhere to, but this is more. The Aspen trees are constantly blowing, which makes a sound that’s hard to describe. I’ll put it this way, you don’t want to listen to music when you hike up the mountain so that you don’t miss the whispering sound of the trees, blowing in the wind. Every morning, I drink my coffee on the deck, staring out at the mountain, and feel like I’m in the middle of a post card.
Let’s take the kitchen. There’s basically one of everything – nothing more and nothing less. The “junk drawer” consists of everything we actually need. I needed a pair of scissors, and I found them. I needed matches to light the grill, and I found them too. If I want to make eggs, there’s one pan to make eggs. It’s so liberating. I hate “stuff.” I’m always walking around my house in San Diego and looking for things to throw away. And here in the mountains, we don’t have a lot of stuff. We brought a few games, and every night we play Charades, Monopoly or Clue. We didn’t bring any video games and that’s an entirely different rant. There is zero screaming to get your kid off the X-box. Makes you wonder why you own one in the first place.
And then there’s the fact that we are in the great outdoors. My kids have found a love of fly-fishing, hiking, white water river rafting and just playing outside. Every night, we walk into town (which takes about 5 minutes), and get caramel-covered apples or ice-cream and just chill. There’s minimal driving. I haven’t even mentioned the tap water. It’s cold, delicious and refreshing. How cool is that?
I know it’s extreme to think that I can replicate this lifestyle when I get home, but I’m certainly going to try. My kids had better lock their doors, because I’m ready to hit the dump. Material things are so over-rated. I’m learning that all we need are the basics and we are going to work hard on getting back to a more minimalist lifestyle. My sister agrees with me, but wants to know how I’m going to execute this when I get home. I have no idea, but trust me, there is much more to come on this topic.
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