Last Saturday, my husband and I did something we hadn't done in over a year. We had an entire kid-free day from 8 am to 8 pm where we were able to talk with one another about our life goals without being interrupted.
Do you remember the last time you've spoken with your partner for a FULL DAY without interruption? Or the last time you've given yourself a full day alone to consider what YOU really want from life?
We've been working on some significant changes over here in our attempt to leap forward toward an UnBusy Life — we've been minimizing through the Uncluttered course, discussing downsizing and selling our house, and talking about my husband potentially quitting his job so we can travel for three months this summer.
You cannot have BIG life-altering conversations like this between school drop-offs, while doing the dishes, or at the end of the night right before bed. If you want to lead an intentional life, you must intentionally make time to think forward.
I have to be honest, Saturday was tough.
We started the day with iced-coffee and our visions for the future.
We respectfully argued over which goals were most important and tried to iron out how to best collaborate. To help get a better understanding of one another's perspectives, we reviewed our monthly income, budget, and expenses.
We took breaks when things felt overwhelming.
We walked around the block holding hands when it felt like there was nothing left to say. Fresh air, silence, and human touch can re-open the door to conversations you thought were closed.
We dove back into numbers and our budget.
We reassessed our processes for bill paying, investing, and saving.
We talked in "what if" statements —
What if we sold our house?
What if we rented an apartment instead of reinvesting in a smaller home?
What if we didn't meet our saving goals for our summer travels?
What if we lived on one income?
All these conversations lead back to the monthly budget.
We went out for dinner for a change of scenery.
When we got home, we recircled and went through the conversations again, considering revised budgets, processes, and attitudes.
Here's a simple truth that is important to understand if you are working toward crafting an UnBusy Life:
A budget doesn’t limit your freedom, it provides freedom. Big life goals can get lost in our day-to-day spending. A budget is a tool that helps you be intentional and choose to use your money to achieve UnBusy.
Can a budget discussion make you cry? Yep.
Money is hard.
You need time ALONE without kids to think forward because money is hard.
At the end of the day Saturday, my body felt physically exhausted from all the emotions — joy, frustration, anger, empathy, and love... lots of love.
The day, the conversation, the outcome was worth the tears and the exhaustion. While your discussions might be riddled with disagreement, nothing makes you feel more connected than having a joint life plan at the end of the day.
. . .
YOUR STEP TOWARD UNBUSY
I highly recommend sneaking away from the kids for a whole weekend so you can focus on YOU (read why here).
Sometimes though when you're feeling disconnected from your partner, your life goals, or your family budget, you need to take immediate action like I did last week.
I sent this vague, but somewhat alarming text to a few friends on Friday afternoon...
Shad and I need time this weekend to figure out a few life issues. Any chance you can take the girls for a full day Saturday?
When another parent reads your randomly-urgent 2 pm, the response you'll most likely get is, "Yes, we'll find a way to make it happen." Deep down, we all inherently KNOW the importance of these big conversations, so your loved ones will step up.
Don't be afraid to ask for help; sometimes last-minute ends up being the easiest to coordinate. I sent this text to three different parents, and all three answered with a resounding yes within minutes, despite it requiring slight changes in their plans.
Find a way to guarantee uninterrupted privacy and time for these meaningful conversations, even if that means hiring a sitter. If you cannot find another parent to help you out, consider paying a babysitter to do something like take your kids to a movie, lunch, and indoor-playground time at the local mall. This gameplan will give you a solid three to four hours of allotted time.
I'll let you in on a little secret; there is one thing you need to know to be able to get off the hamster wheel for an UnBusy Life — You need to know what YOU want most in this world. If you're feeling a lack of direction, be sure to check out this list of five tips to help you decipher what YOU want out of this one precious life before your big conversation, then ...
Be ready to talk dreams.
Be ready to talk money.
Be ready to disagree.
Be ready to talk feelings.
Be ready to be vulnerable.
Be ready to collaborate.
Be ready to be emotionally exhausted.
Be ready to make a plan.
. . .
You need to be intentional about big conversations because here's the truth...
The days are long, but the years are short.
You need to take small steps toward your UnBusy Life every single day. If you're not sure what that step looks like for you, your partner, or your family and how to alter your budget to achieve it, then it is time to make room for a BIG conversation ASAP.