I read a really good article in Forbes over the holidays https://www.forbes.com/sites/sethcohen/2021/12/30/you-survived-2020-these-4-ideas-will-help-you-thrive-in-2021
It suggested that we write a personal vision statement as we head into the new year.
And it made me think about my true vision for our little business and what I would like it to look like at the end of 2021. Don’t get me wrong, I love searching for, curating, and bringing vintage and antique rustic decor to our wonderful customers. But more than that, I want to share what I’ve learned over the past 20 years of owning our lakeside cottage.
When we bought our cabin in 1999, we were looking for an escape from city life for ourselves and our six-year-old daughter. We lived on a very busy street in downtown Buffalo, and there was almost no space for her to safely play outside.
At the time, I was a very busy, stressed and exhausted advertising executive under so much pressure to perform that my mind was constantly on my work even when I was home. I was missing so much of our daughter’s childhood, working long hours, traveling, and constantly bringing work home because there was no way I could get it all done during the day.
I felt overwhelmed by my life and scared every day that I would somehow fail in my job and our family’s entire financial infrastructure would collapse. I felt little satisfaction, almost no joy and every day I felt like I was going into a battle I might not survive.
In the meantime, our daughter was being shuttled to daycare, after school programs, lessons and activities because I didn’t have time to take care of her. Luckily, my husband had some flexibility in his schedule, and he did a lot of the transportation because I couldn’t be relied upon to pick up my own kid on time. (That last kid picked-up from daycare syndrome can last a lifetime.)
And of course that wasn’t the life I wanted for my child. I didn’t want her to look back on her childhood and remember only the hectic demands of our busy life. I didn’t want her to remember the culture of materialism that focuses on buying things and hanging out at the mall as the foundation of her life. And I really didn’t want her to get immersed in the technology of computers, cellphones and video games that was sucking in so many kids and turning them into dull, flat couch potatoes who would rather stare at a screen than interact with another human being.
We knew we had to change something. We couldn’t let this be our life.
When we really thought about it, what we wanted for our daughter (and her older sister who was already in high school) was a life more like the one we had as kids. We wanted her to be able to play outside in nature, to be carefree, to ride bikes, swim, canoe, play in a tree house, and just be a kid.
We wanted her to interact with nature, to be adventurous, to have fun making up games with other kids, to gain the confidence and resilience that comes from falls, scrapes and bug bites.
What we did next set our family on a new course, changed the trajectory of our daughter’s life and saved my sanity.
We bought our cottage. A small Adirondack style cabin on a lake, surrounded by tall, old trees and plenty of grass outside with lots of room to play.
We talked as we made the offer on the cottage about what we would have to give up to make our dream come true. Not as many family vacations, fewer nights out, extending the lives of our cars far beyond what was prudent. But we knew we would do it, because it was what was important to us.
Today, more than 20 years later, I can look back with certainty that spending weekends and summers at our cottage while our daughter grew up was the smartest thing we ever did. Not only for our family but for ourselves.
Studies show that living closer to nature is linked to better physical health, longer life, improved creativity, lower stress and outright happiness. All I know is that while my job didn’t get less demanding after we moved to the cottage, I was better able to cope. Every day when I turned onto our little country road and saw the lake appear, my stress would melt away and I would feel calmer, happier and so very grateful.
So that brings me back to that Forbes article and my vision for Vintage Adirondack in 2021. I really want to support other women who are looking to transform their homes into family sanctuaries, an oasis of calm and a relaxing and peaceful refuge from the hectic demands of our daily life. I want to help and encourage Moms who want their families to live connected to nature, and I want to help them achieve the dream of raising healthy, confident children who look back fondly on their childhoods and the experiences their parents created for them. To support them in leveling up in a way that others have just accepted as the challenge of modern life.
I’m going to start by creating Facebook group for women who feel the same way. I’ll let you know when it’s ready to join.
Here’s to new challenges and fulfillment in 2021.