Does “getting old” mean you start to become a boring homebody who doesn’t go out at night and instead spends the weekend doing home maintenance projects (both the kind you want to do as well as the kind you don’t)? Or does it mean you do all of the above but don’t care anymore if people think that makes you old?
Today J. Miguel and I were musing over all the lifestyle changes we have gone through within the past month (which coincides with our permanent move into our new condo). It sort of makes us feel like we’re getting old, or as my friend Amy likes to say, “Adulting.” It was J. Miguel who mentioned how we’re “nearing our forties” now and therefore, our priorities should be changing.
In our previous home, we lived in a pretty walkable, urban area. There were plenty of stores and restaurants within walking distance and as a result, we ate out several times a week. Part of it was due to the fact that it the convenient thing to do (I mean, after a hard day at work, who wants to go home, prepare food, cook it and then do dishes?) and in all fairness, another reason for our frequent dinners out had to do with the fact that we had an efficiency-sized kitchen with aging appliances that didn’t work properly. There was hardly any room to actually prepare food and the appliances weren’t reliable. The oven temperature was off and one of our stovetop burners didn’t work properly, despite numerous complaints to management.
Since moving to a more isolated area, we’ve consciously decided not to eat out as much as before. We tell ourselves this is a financially-driven decision (although it isn’t really saving us money because we’ve just shifted our spending to others areas). I think one big reason this has been an easy change to implement is simply because we just love where we live now and would rather spend as much time as we can in this place that brings us joy, calm and peace, especially when the alternative includes facing the masses and chaos associated with going out for a meal, not to mention the expense, which does add up.
But we’ve made other lifestyle changes besides our new meal routines. For example, I now have our groceries delivered right to our door every Saturday morning. Sure, it costs a few extra dollars, but it frees up our weekend and takes a big chunk of stress out of our normal routine (which included battling traffic, tolerating crowds at the store and long lines at the check-out). And instead of going out to catch a movie or enjoying some other nighttime entertainment, we opt to stay home and rent movies, read books and attend to hobbies we didn’t feel we had the space to do back at the old apartment.
And that’s just the weekends. We have also decided to shake up our morning and evening commutes, and while these changes cost us a little bit more financially than the public transportation option we’ve been doing for so many years (although it’s really only a matter of a dollar or two thanks to the wonderful Uber Pool option), it has made the trip into the office less stressful and the trip home less exhausting, giving us the energy to do things we have usually been too tired to do such as going to the gym after work. (Those of you who are familiar with the Washington, DC metro system will know exactly what I mean by a stressful, time-consuming commute that continues to increase in price despite terrible service.)
We have made so many little, but also really big lifestyle changes in the past month, and so far, they have all been for the better. We both work hard during the week. Really hard. And we’ve both come to the conclusion that with a little shifting in our spending habits, a huge portion of daily stress has been removed from our lives. J. Miguel is right, and I don’t know if it has to do with us nearing our forties (although I remember my friend Marisa talking about the decision to buy her new home as being part of her desire to have a home for her forties), but our priorities have definitely changed. But not only have our priorities changed, our way of living has changed. And overall, so has our outlook on life and how we want to spend our limited time on this earth.