Happy Thanksgiving to our Small Living, Big Life family! And cheers to a year filled with ups and downs, victories and disappointments and endless opportunities to keep learning throughout the year! We wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on the past year and give thanks for the blessings that we’ve experienced. We hope that you have a holiday filled with love, laughter and a quiet moment to reflect and give thanks for your own blessings.
#1 – We’re thankful for all the troubles we didn’t have in 2018.
2018 wasn’t an easy year. We experienced disappointments, heartache and loss. But we were also blessed with victories, successes and happy memories we’ll never forget. Despite the troubles we did experience, we are so very thankful for the challenges that could have come our way this year but didn’t.
#2 – We’re grateful for our family and friends.
We are so thankful for such a loving and supportive group of family and friends! Help, a listening ear or a cold beer is only ever a phone call away, no matter if it’s 1 o’clock in the afternoon or 1 o’clock in the morning. We couldn’t be blessed with a stronger network of support that encourages us to live, love and enjoy every moment!
#3 – We’re blessed and humbled by our relationship.
Never did either of us think that such a perfect other half would exist. A partner to lean on during the tough times; a partner to share in celebration of the high points; a perfect other half to share secrets, dreams and sunsets with. We’ve found it all in each other and could not be more thankful for being able to experience life together.
#4 – We’re thankful for a warm, dry, safe home.
After a long, noisy, chaotic day at work, nothing beats coming home to a warm, dry, safe home. The quiet seclusion of being in the middle of the woods doesn’t hurt, either!
#5 – We’re so grateful the we got our house fixed!
It’s been a long road since the middle of May when three trees crashed their way through the second floor of our house, but, all of the damage is FINALLY fixed! The contractors are gone. The inspections are done. And it’s FINALLY back to “normal.” Even though our homeowner’s insurance didn’t pay for everything we hoped that they would (resulting in a completely mismatched siding situation!), we no longer have a huge hole in our roof, and, for that, we’re grateful!
#6 – We’re blessed with our health.
We’ve been super blessed in the health department this year with clean bills of health from the doctor, eye doctor and dentist. Some pretty strong reasons to give an abundance thanks!
#7 – We’re thankful for being able to spend time with our loved ones.
Since we’re still in Central PA, spending time with our loved one’s is something we take a bit for granted. Most of our family is relatively close and we get a bunch of opportunities to get together. In a few years, it won’t be as easy as driving 20 minutes to family dinners or meeting up on the weekends for drinks. Were looking forward to setting sail in a few years, but, know that we’re going to miss being so closely surrounded by those we love.
#8 – We’re grateful for our jobs, no matter how frustrating they may be!
The double-edged sword…being thoroughly worn out by work to make the money to allow us to make our dreams come true. It’s been a whirlwind of a year with both of our jobs but we’re grateful that we have them, no matter how frustrating they may be! We truly are surrounded by incredible coworkers 50+ hours a week and that helps, ALOT!
#9 – We’re so thankful to have discovered scuba diving.
Scuba diving has quickly become one of our very favorite hobbies and we’re really thankful that some coworkers encouraged us to try it out. Alexis has overcome some significant obstacles and grown a lot in 2018, thanks to scuba diving, and Josh has discovered a potential future career in the industry! No only have we had the opportunity to explore the underwater world, we’ve also had a really good excuse to take some time off work and discover some new places!
#10 – We’re grateful for Camp.
If it wasn’t for being able to take a long weekend and go to Camp, there are a few times this year that we would have ended up working more and decompressing less. We’re really grateful that we can pack the truck, drive 4 hours and enjoy the peace and quiet of being at camp. It’s a quick, easy and cheap way to get away for a few days. And, not having cell phone service or internet at Camp really helps, too!
#11 – We’re thankful that we changed our mindset from acquiring “stuff” to focusing on having experiences.
When we confronted our debt in 2016, we made a promise to each other that we would be more mindful of the “stuff” that we spent money on. That we would actively choose experiences over “stuff” and we are SO thankful that we made that decision when we did (and continue to live by it everyday). Our house is becoming more empty while our life is becoming more full and it has been an incredible transition!
#12 – We’re grateful for the trips that we were able to take.
We did a road trip the whole way to Key West. We spent time camping at Dutch Springs. Josh went to Maine with the family. We spent a handful of weekends on Kent Island. We took a few long weekend trips to Camp. We went places in 2018! Maybe not far-off, distant destinations, but, we made the most of the time we took off work and took as many trips as we could manage. We’re grateful that we were able to set aside the demands of work for at least a little while in order to travel together and explore together.
#13 – We’re thankful to have access to the internet – no matter how slow it may be.
We’re not thankful for paying a ridiculously high price for ridiculously slow internet in 2018, but, we ARE thankful that we have internet. Even if it’s slower than dial up most times. Having access to the internet has helped us research strategies to becoming debt-free, connect with people that are working the same “5 year plan” that we are, investigate opportunities for the future and document our journey the entire way! Technology really is an incredible thing!
#14 – We’re grateful that people share their stories about achieving their goals.
Before we developed our “5 year plan,” we had no idea that so many other people had the same idea, the same plan and were preparing for the same journey that we were about to commit to. We’ve been inspired by those that have worked their 5 year plan, cut their dock lines and have shared their experiences in doing so. Hearing the stories of others that have gone before us, being inspired by our own ambitions and supporting the ones that will follow us has been an incredible feeling of fellowship and like mindedness.
#15 – We’re thankful for having the means to build the future our our dreams.
Having the financial means of building the future of our dreams is only a part of what we’re thankful for this year. We’ve kind of amazed ourselves with the amount of commitment that has come pretty naturally once we sat down and put our goals in writing.
#16 – We’re thankful for becoming debt-free!
In June 2018, we celebrated paying off over $76,000 of debt in 21 months and we still kind of can’t believe it! We’re thankful that we confronted our debt when we did, and that we’re not just now coming to the realization that our debt is keeping us from living our dreams!
#17 – We’re grateful and humbled by the progress we’ve made toward turning our dream into our reality.
We started writing about our “5 year plan” back in September 2016, with a loose vision of what we wanted our lives to look like. Fast forward 2 years to 2018, we’ve sold a ton of our belongings, paid off our debt, started banking money to put toward our future boat purchase and have made significant progress in the remodel of our house. I’m not sure we were convinced so much progress toward turning our dream into our reality was possible within 2 short years, but we’re grateful that we’ve come so far!
#18 – We’re thankful for the lessons we’ve learned.
2018 has been a significant lesson in patience, focus and discipline for us. From focusing on becoming debt-free to being disciplined and patient with our contributions to our future “cruising kitty,” 2018 has blessed us with many opportunities to keep learning about ourselves and keep growing.