Today is the two year anniversary of our leaving Zurich. Coco and I had to fly ahead of J because I was so pregnant. That was crazy. But Coco was an amazing traveler and it was one of our easiest flights of all time. I guess she had had a lot of practice by that point!
I don't miss Zurich any less, even after two whole years. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about why life in Zurich was so great anyway. The obvious reasons are obvious: urban lifestyle with no car, abundant opportunity to be outside, accidental exercise every day and no need for a gym membership. Switzerland on the whole is insanely safe and peaceful.
Simple is not dull; it is not boring. It's the delicious absence of chaos and frenzy. Since returning to the States, it seems that everyone is overworked and stressed out. The basic energy and rhythm of life is frantic. The things that matter like free time and time outdoors and time with the ones you love are scarce, while cheap crap is in great abundance! I thought I missed limitless access to inexpensive things to buy while we were in Zurich. But, in reality, that stuff is the key to feeling burdened and unhappy. We want to feel free and happy!
Consumerism is real: When I really stop and think about it, the biggest difference is the consideration we put into purchases in Switzerland, and don't here in the States. I routinely go to Target for one thing, like toothbrushes or diapers, and walk out with so much more. A lot of it is just junk the kids want, or little gimmicky things that seem great at the time. But they're so cheap, so why not?! In Switzerland, that just did not happen. Everything was so expensive that we didn't buy things unless we needed them. Once we knew what we needed, we shopped around and made a careful decision before making a purchase. Impulse buying was not financially feasible and it turns out that was a great gift! It's easy to feel like we should buy things because we can without feeling it financially. That is a trap!
In an effort to live in the present, I'm trying to recreate the lifestyle we had in Zurich. So far we are doing a good job of it. Our work and schedules allow us to eat dinner together every night and have lots of time together as a family - and, just as importantly, as a couple. We live in a tiny house that urges us to live simply. BUT - we need to have a massive clear out this summer and get serious about being mindful when making purchases. Beyond purchases, we are surrounded by family who give us well-meaning bags of hand-me-down toys and clothing! Unfortunately, we've found ourselves inundated with stuff.
Yesterday, I left our messy house behind and went on a bike ride with J and the kids. We really enjoyed the gorgeous day together. Sailing along on my bike, I thought to myself, 'maybe I can just ignore the clutter and focus on enjoying summer instead?' but then we got home and dinner and bedtime weren't as smooth as they could have been. The mess just makes me crazy. So that is not going to work!
As a solution, I propose a 30-Day Clear Out Challenge! Would you like to join me? Sign up here and I will send you daily tasks to complete each week to transform your home and life in just 30 days. Getting rid of stuff is so liberating and it truly creates so much joy. By doing it together, it will be so much more fun and manageable than trying to tackle it all alone. Go on! Sign up and get ready. We will start in two weeks on July 7th. And tell all your friends! The more, the merrier. It's going to be so great. xo