Rethinking the Dream Chronicles is a special feature that highlights people that have rethought their dreams in some form or fashion. This might mean they rent instead of own, homeschool instead of public school, hold a small quaint wedding over a big expensive gala, or choose a simpler life over a life full of buying lots of stuff. Amy has done all this an more. Here’s her story:
I spent several years commuting 3 hours round trip a day. I knew that I couldn’t continue to do that forever or it would have negative effects on me. When I got into graduate school and got a new job I decided that I would live much closer to school and work. As a single Mom that was important to me so I could spend more time with my child.
During that move I realized just how much we had. I had enough clothes to wear a different outfit daily for 9 months and 40 some odd pairs of shoes. After a few weeks I was able to cut that down to 2 weeks worth of clothes and I think 4 pairs of shoes. I hit my books next getting rid of almost 1,000 of them. I did not buy all that stuff people were always giving me things they didn’t want and I’d just take them. I did buy a lot of things though, just not all of it. Our life was pretty simple we had school for both of us, most of the classes that I took and taught were during the daytime while the little one was in school. I would work on my thesis writing after bedtime.
At the end of my third semester of graduate school I met a man. He lived a fairly simple life as well. We dated and 7 months later I proposed to him. We decided to move into a small trailer together. Even though we’d both lived on our own for many years before we met it wasn’t a problem combining households because the three of us didn’t have a lot.
We ended up having a simple wedding ceremony 6 months after we got engaged. We took our family to our favorite restaurant. Altogether with clothing, food and drink we spent $800 for our wedding. After we got married people started suggesting we buy a house. We were unsure if we wanted to continue to live in the area that we lived in so we put it off.
I finished my Master’s program and got a job. It was a flexible job that allowed me to mostly work from home, when I had to go into the office I could bring my child with me. A few months later some issues with bullying developed at my child’s school. We decided that homeschooling would be the best thing for our family. We stuck with the simple living principles we had and didn’t spend a lot on homeschooling. We sought things at the library, online and then if we couldn’t find what we needed through those we’d purchase an item. When we were done we’d donate it to the library if we didn’t know anyone who could use it.
I was laid off from my job a few months before we added child number two to our family. Our simple life made it so the loss of my income was not a big deal. We were able to continue to keep the same standard of living, just saved less each month. Shortly after the birth of number two we moved to a 735 sq ft cabin in the woods. We lived there for several months before discovering that it had electrical issues that made it unsafe to live in. We found a small 2 bedroom apartment in town and moved in. It wasn’t a big deal to move because we had so little, just a few trips in the minivan and we were done.
While living in the 2 bedroom we found out I was pregnant with child number three. People started suggesting again that we buy a house. That we just had to have a house with that many kids. Instead we decided to rent a 1400 square foo t duplex with a yard. That duplex always felt way too big for us. While living in the duplex the children & I were in a head on collision, the young man that hit us shouldn’t have been driving. The children’s injuries healed quickly, mine took a lot longer to heal.
After 17 months in the duplex we were able to move closer to a family member for 9 months to help them in a time o f need. My husband was able to arrange to work remotely for his job. We had to deal with winter weather, cold winds, ice and snow. We weren’t fans of it. We had 3 months left on our lease but it wasn’t a big deal to us to pay the required fee to move back to warmer weather.
Homeschooling has allowed us to move when we desired without having to worry about school districts. We have been able to change what we are doing based on the needs of each individual ch ild. We are able to go on educational trips when the desire or opportunity presents without having to worry about missing school work. For me the life we’ve led isn’t outside of the norm. We make the choices we make because it works for us. We don’t need to buy a house because we have children. We will buy when we’ve found the place that we want to make our forever home.
Since the accident I’ve given more thought to education. Mostly because my injuries prevent me from doing what I spent 10 years and a lot of money to get my degrees in. I could teach, but I feel I no longer fit in academia as it is now. I no longer see a college education as the only acceptable path for education. It can work for some careers but if there are other less is expensive options I want my children to seek those out.
Here are some pictures of some the places we have lived: