When we received an unexpected offer to purchase our house and property, we said yes.
I always knew I wanted to live in the country when the kids were young. In jest, I blame Flambards (that's a post I never got to write though I meant to-and it's a bit of an obscure reference to a book and TV show from the '70s). Truthfully, I wouldn't have wanted to live anywhere else for the past 12 years. Despite its flaws (long driveway, the scourge of poison parsnip in summer and teeth-rattling northern winds in winter, always too much to do and too little time to do it) this places has charm and personality and history, and I love it.
We are moving for a number of reasons that sort of flowed into one another. Andrew had cancer last winter. He is fine, but lucky. Out of that came the direction to avoid the outdoors. Apparently, despite his ever-present Tilley Hat, working outside is not recommended, which is a little difficult when you have 54 acres to maintain. We started by renting the land to organic farmers who were subsequently interested in buying. At that point we thought we could sell just the property, and expand the house. When they asked if we would consider selling the house too....well, we had to consider new options.
Another result of Andrew's cancer diagnosis was the inevitable questioning that one does in that situation. One of those questions related to the accumulation of "stuff" which I know is something we are not alone in struggling with. We talked about what our lives could/should/might look like if we could do anything we wanted. And decided...in consultation with the kids who at 15, 14 and 12 are quite capable of expressing an opinion (!)...that perhaps we would like to have less stuff, more experiences.
If we downsized...even just by buying a regular house instead of a country estate...we would save time and money. Andrew could afford to take unpaid vacation to allow us to do more travelling in the summer. If we lived closer to my work, I could shave 10 hours a week off my commute time...and that's a lot of books I could be reading! If we sold all the farm equipment and the boat, and one of the vehicles (living on a property means you can accumulate more stuff than normal people and justify it because it's not really in the way if it's out behind the garage), think how unencumbered our lives would be.
We discussed this all winter, even tentatively looking at houses, so when our tenant farmers threw us this opportunity to sell the whole farm....we said yes.
Yes....to experiences. Yes....to simplifying. Yes....to more time.