Small Space. Big Life.

The gift of not having to manage stuff

We just got back from a long weekend in San Diego.

It was my birthday present from my husband.

We had a great time.

We saw a baby hippo:

Cute: Baby Hippo

We saw a baby panda:

Cuter: Baby Panda!

We ate fresh, handmade tortillas. They were delicious. When I asked the woman working in the tortilleria what was in them, she explained the ingredients (flour, water, salt, lard and a little bit of oil) and then gave me a lump of the dough so I could feel the texture before they were rolled out. Thing Two wants to make them at home; she got a rolling pin for her birthday and is ready to practice on something edible and yummy. I’m for that. Speaking of edible and yummy….

The adults in our group drank margaritas:

Margaritas! Can you say grande?

On the way home, we stopped at Stone Brewing Company in Escondido and had beer and lunch. Their brewery/ bistro is bigger than most municipal buildings I’ve been in and was packed. I think their business model is working out well for them. So well, they don’t even have a sign on their building. Not one that’s visible from the road, anyway. Once inside, Thing One and Thing Two were transfixed by the large gargoyle embossed into the cement walls of the bistro:

The gargoyle at Stone

It was a good trip.

On this trip, I relaxed more than I can remember relaxing in at least a couple of years. I’ve thought about why this was. Yes, I was having a good time doing things I liked with people I loved; yes, we didn’t overbook the weekend and so had the luxury of unhurried time; yes, it was a short trip so didn’t require a tremendous amount of time or energy to prepare for. But I think a big part of what made this weekend so easy for me was that because it was a short trip, we packed very little stuff. This means that I had to keep track of very little stuff. When we got back to the hotel, it looked much the way it looked when we left it — very clean, very uncluttered, because our stuff wasn’t everywhere. There were no desperate searches for lost things — our stuff was so minimal it was easy to put away. One trip to and from the car brought in (and took back out) everything we needed. Tidying up at night or before leaving for the day took all of five minutes. Because I spent almost no time on our stuff, I was able to spend more time on being with my family and doing things together.

I loved not being responsible for stuff.

Then we came home. I love our home and our life there, but…. it’s not a hotel room. No maid, for one. Better bed. Also, more stuff. Compared to the streamlined life we lived on our weekend getaway, it feels — not as liberated. I’m pretty sure that’s not just the lack of margaritas talking.

Although, maybe that has something to do with it.

The trip to San Diego was my birthday gift. But it brought with it another gift — I was reminded of how much easier it is for me to enjoy time with my family when managing stuff doesn’t get in the way. I got to do new and fun things, and I got a gentle reminder about what makes life better for me. I’m hoping I can keep it in my mind until our next vacation.


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