The Liberation of Downsizing

Just 5 weeks before shipping out on our new life, Eric found Fluent in Three Months. Among the 29 life lessons this guy learned during 8 years of RTW travel, this one spoke to me, particularly as we were selling and giving away 99% of what we owned.  Possessions Own You.  “Look at the real reason you want to buy more expensive crap and realise that it all comes down to validation from others in one way or another. You don’t really need any of it unless it’s directly related to essentials in how you work or survive. The need to buy new crap dictates your life – it fixes you in one location with that house and furniture, and it governs how much money you need to earn. And it almost never actually enriches your life in any way. The less you own the better.” As we donated stacks of books and gave away boxes of CDs, I thought about how much we spent on all of that stuff.  As I was downsizing, I donated dozens of shoes, I thought about how many of them I barely wore.  In the end we had about 64 wine glasses of varying shapes, sizes, and quality.  I love my wine, but generally can only drink out of one glass at a time.  We have never served wine to 62 of our friends at once.  Who, outside of a small commercial establishment needs that many wine glasses?  We lived a Crate & Barrel lifestyle and although we never really tried to keep up with the Joneses, we continued to accumulate stuff for most of the...

Gaining Weight and “Depression”

5 Years and 40 Pounds I moved to DC in the Spring of 1999, just out of college and ready for law school.  I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, like all new law students – the world was at my feet and ready for my taking.  In July 2001, we got married.  I was 125 pounds and 5’7”.  Not bad.  I looked good on my wedding day, happy and filled with hope for the future.  After law school, I clerked for a judge in DC while getting an additional law degree, specializing in tax.  All of this to help me land the perfect big law job.  It worked.  In April 2004, we moved to Chicago for a job with a top tier law firm.  That was when weight and depression started to do me in.   I don’t know what, exactly, made me put on so much weight in Chicago.  Was it the diet of Italian beef sandwiches, french fries, Mexican food (La Bamba’s “burritos as big as your head”), or was it merely my metabolism changing after I turned 25?  Or, was it the weather: cold and dreary and ultimately depressing for several months out of the year.  Okay, more than several.  Our first summer in Chicago, the temperature never went above 90, until September. I think it was a little of both of those things, but more than anything, it was sitting behind a desk for 60-80 hours a week for the first time in my life.  I was working crazy hours with an unpredictable schedule.  I could not get into an exercise routine.  I lived in a...

Our Wedding Story

Our wedding was a simple one, and not necessarily the stuff of fantasy or legend, but is the next episode of our sappy love story.  We wanted good food and good music so people would have fun.  Everything else was the fluff.  For me, it is enjoyable to look back at the photos of when we were young, skinny, and oh so naive about our future together, and about what it actually means to be married.  Because after all, this is our wedding story. We set the date for our wedding within a few weeks after getting engaged on that rainy night in DC.  We settled on July 28, just a short ten months after the engagement.  We had a short window.  We had just enough time for me to work as an intern for the summer between second and third year of law school, finish the job, get married, and have a honeymoon, before returning for my final year of law school.  After choosing the date, we learned that we would be sharing our anniversary with Eric’s Irish grandparents, which made it all that more special.  We went through all of the usual pre-wedding rites of passage, including an engagement party and bridal shower in New Jersey with family, and another shower in DC with girlfriends.  I registered for all of the typical bridal swag: Lenox china and flatware, crystal, candlesticks, expensive cookware.  I got all of that and more.  So much stuff that I look back and wonder why?  Most of it we don’t own any more.  We have our china and crystal stored at Eric’s mother’s...
Our Engagement Story

Our Engagement Story

Some people have grand and romantic stories of how they became engaged.  Our engagement story revolves around a call from a French pay phone.   We have never been that lovey dovey type of couple.  After all, we barely got along the first six months we were together.  I am not sure what changed after that.  We just started to grow accustomed to one another, to the idea that it was okay to be a couple.  After all, we were getting older and isn’t that what mature people did? Eric let me even wear his sweater.I started law school in the fall of 1999, only a little more than 2 years after we met.  Eric and I moved down to Washington, DC, for me to attend school.  We moved in to a crappy cookie cutter apartment in Falls Church, Virginia.  But, it was our first “real” apartment, away from college, away from roommates.    We moved down to Virginia in March of 1999, and spent the summer living the DC life. I was working as a legal assistant at a large law firm.  The law firm threw Friday happy hours on the roof top with free beer and pizza.  We met friends.  We drank. In August, Eric broke his arm pitching a baseball the week before I started school.  I had to take care of him.  I helped him brush his teeth and helped him bathe. I drove him to doctors’ appointments and bought him beer to help him self medicate.  I guess it was then that our lives became so intertwined.  Once you bathe someone, you become just...
Our First Six Months Together…We Hated Each Other

Our First Six Months Together…We Hated Each Other

When I started to think about writing our “love story” I wondered why I would share this, and if anyone would be interested in reading it.  Particularly because we don’t have one of those lovey-dovey relationships.  In fact, the thought of even calling it our love story kind of bothered me.  It reminded me of the lyric’s to one of my favorite ballads from one of my favorite bands, “Somebody” by Depeche Mode:   Though things like this Make me sick In a case like this I’ll get away with it Just in case you too don’t want to hear about our old school romance, here I feel like I can get away with it, because we absolutely hated each other during our first six months together.  There was no love in sight, unless it was love-hate.  Regardless, you can enjoy some photos of us looking incredibly thin.  My favorite part.  Love-Hate, or Just Hate After final exams ended, Eric promised to prove to me that not all men are scum.  And, in that fateful month of May 1997, we had our first date, of sorts.  It is interesting, because we met so young, I have been on very few official dates in my life.  I dated a couple of older guys in college, ones that had graduated and had real jobs, and went out to dinner a few times.  But, for the most part, meeting men (aka boys) in college involved meeting at a party or at a bar, or maybe renting a movie from Blockbuster, which was still a thing back then.   So, our first “date” on May...
Our Nineties Love Story

Our Nineties Love Story

People say that to be a good blogger you need to share. To be honest.  To be open.  I do share quite a bit on the blog, about our fears and insecurities about navigating this new life.  I have also shared on the blog and on Escape the Predictable Life about how we made the decision to quit our lives and choose this one as a new one.  I have even spoken a bit about how to be a couple on the road, and have mentioned a few of our fights.    But, one thing I have not spoken about is our past, our long ago past.  Our families, our relationship.  After all, we did not simply choose suddenly in 2012 to live this life of perpetual, albeit currently stalled, nomads.  It was a decision that was over 16 years in the making, perhaps even more.  People who meet us in person often say we are a great couple.  That we compliment each other well, and that it is great that we want the same things out of life.  It was not always this way though.  I thought I would share some of our earlier stories, to give you an idea of who we really are.  To share.  To be honest.  To be open. Way Back When We Were Skinny Eric was a lanky 6’4” and 165 pounds when we met back in 1997 at Rutgers University. He was quite cocky back then.  Told me he thought of being a model, with his blonde hair and blue eyes, coupled with broad shoulders.  He fancied himself a bit of a...