This is the last day of the biggest year of our lives. “Biggest” is a bland and insufficient word but it’s all I can think of to gather up a string of more exact words.
Of the years Tom and I have spent together, this has been the most complex. Most stress-laden. Most change-filled. Most challenging. Most unguided. Most exciting. Most unexpected.
Add them together and you get “biggest”.
On 1 January 2017, we lived in a four-bedroom suburban house big enough to be headlined as “A House of Grand Proportions” in the advertising. We’d lived there nine years.
Our dream was to live in a tiny house on wheels, and to do so before the end of 2017. We succeeded.
Ha, “we succeeded”. How easily a thousand decisions, stresses and obstacles get reduced to two words!
But that’s the thing about so much stress and change: it seems huge at the time, but quickly it becomes small, even gets forgotten. So it’s always worth knowing that however tricky and tense the situation is, in three months’ time, or in a year, it’ll be much smaller. It helps getting through it to know that.
And it helps to always have two things in your mind: 1. Your dream or goal, and 2. The job you have to do this very minute. I’ve found that it’s good to make lists of things to do, but it’s not good to keep looking at them — it just causes worry.
Anyway, I didn’t mean for this to become a discourse on project management. I’m talking about the biggest year of our lives.
Has it also been the best year of our lives? Speaking for myself, I think so! It stretched and tested us, but things kept turning out okay.
My head spins to remember it. We called eight places “home”. In a nine-week stretch we slept in nine different beds.
I couldn’t count the tradespeople we talked to or the number of appointments and deadlines, or the hours spent researching, or the boxes and bags we filled.
The stuff that filled that home of “grand proportions” is gone, apart from two pieces of furniture plus what fits in our tiny house and a storage lockup the size of a single bedroom.
But we have a whole new life in house that’s fully ours, in a place where we know our neighbours and there’s a sense of community. I love that we’re learning new things all the time. Both of us are working hard, but also relaxing a lot.
So I can look back on 2017 as an extraordinary journey. We didn’t know we’d end up in this amazing place called Makahuri, but otherwise I can honestly say that my dream has become real and it’s as good as I’d hoped.
Next year? Heaps to do. Bring it on. I hope you stay with our story!
Happy new year from Nick, Tom, Phoebe, Connor and Peabody!