I went to a fundraiser for one of the groups that manages the trails I run on and won earrings at the event’s silent auction that were made by a local jeweler whose work I’ve admired for years.
And that is the most grownup sentence I’ve ever written.
I have obsessed over Connie Ulrich for years and have plans to some day take her some jewelry to transform for me. But, if you check out the link (which you should), you will see that she is VERY expensive. I mean, it’s totally worth it because every piece is a work of art, but still…VERY out of my price range for a car, much less jewelry.
I knew she did one pair of special earrings for this event every year and I had kinda been joking with Donnie about maybe trying to bid on them. We got there and I showed them to him and he was very much on board as it wasn’t just me walking into her shop and spending $200 on jewelry, it was me donating $200 to the Land Trust of North Alabama and getting a pair of earrings in return! We actually have a line item for charitable donations specifically for things like races our friends do, or memberships to the state park, etc. We do not have a line item for expensive jewelry. So, I waited until about 30 minutes from the close of the auction and put my $200 bid down and crossed my fingers. AND I WON THEM!
The whole event was great as we ate and drank and visited with friends and danced in front of the caves and under the night sky. We will go every year now, no question. I mean, we walked there from our house! We walked to a concert at some caves and won earrings made by my favorite jeweler. If that thought doesn’t solidify why this move was perfect for us, I don’t know what does.
Donnie looked at me at one point and said, “I love our neighborhood.” Because that’s where we were, in our neighborhood. Which also happens to be less than 2 miles from downtown where Donnie works and where there is always other fun events we enjoy. We moved to a more manageable home in a part of town near where we work and play. Huntsville isn’t spread out enough to have true “suburbs” outside the city, but where we lived before was a good 15+ minute drive downtown, enough to mean we had to want to head there. Now? If there just seems to be something interesting? We’re less than 2 miles away so we can check it out.
Hell, I run downtown every weekend now and take selfies around the art museum and the murals and the Big Spring and all of the beautiful statues and art we have around. I never was one to run around our downtown area before, but now it’s my favorite.
This move/downsizing was traumatic in many ways. Between the moving and the election I put on 30 pounds in the last 18 months. But weekends like this weekend where Nikki and I can just pop downtown to the local coffee shop and sit outside and bullet journal…where I can walk to a fundraiser with my husband and dance under the moon wearing earrings won at the auction…where Donnie is 2 miles from work so can go a whole week without filling up his gas tank…I’m reminded why we started this challenge to begin with. We are settled in a place that feels much more like home. Both in the structure in which we sleep, and the neighborhood where we play.
We gave away over half of our possessions in this course of downsizing. We gave away tools from hobbies we only rarely indulged in. We gave away furniture from family members no longer with us. We gave away sentimental items from memories long passed. But all of that was so that we could simplify how we lived and have more time to play and more money to spend on more meaningful items and adventures. And we did all of that this weekend. I only spent 15 minutes cleaning the house for company. We used the extra money in the “charitable causes” budget that we now have thanks to the adjustment of the budget with a smaller home. We walked to a fundraiser that supports the trails where we spend all winter. We bid on expensive earrings at an auction.
It just felt like this weekend was the reminder as to why we suffered through the downsizing and the selling and the moving and the buying and the moving again. It all feels right now. It was all worth it.