Time and Space (and money. Sadly, this post isn’t half as nerdy as it sounds)

As you read this, I’ll have finally moved into my new place. The past few weeks have been full of decluttering, packing, and hauling heavy things up three flights of rather narrow stairs, but I’m finally on the other side, much more settled, and theoretically much fitter.*  I’ve moved countries, continents and through seven different residences in the last decade, and contrary to all evidence, it’s never something I actually enjoy. I loathe moving. The process of going through absolutely everything, weeding out all the junk, packing away a home you’ve invested time in decorating and making your own, and closing the door on all the fun memories had in it isn’t something I particularly enjoy. Especially when you’re leaving a beautiful big house in a fantastically quirky, artsy neighbourhood a stone’s throw away from all your friends (and an ice cream shop close enough to get a ’99 during the adverts of Britain’s Got Talent). 

So with this move comes a lot of adjustment. An adjustment of time in that my evenings are now free to spend however I wish – as much as I absolutely adore having company, I can’t deny that the idea of coming home to a full, empty evening to fill with productive things like writing, reading, or endeavours at learning to cook is wonderfully appealing. Another adjustment is going to be one of space. In my house, I’d gradually accumulated more and more things with which to fill it, which resulted in far more things than could possibly fit in a one-man apartment. My new cupboard space is small, and my kitchen is compact. Still big enough to have a bit of a dance while waiting for cupcakes to cook, though (a must!), but a squeeze nonetheless. There are 45 degree angles between the walls and ceilings which gives the whole place brilliant character, but also makes it a slight impossibility to hang all my photos and art. This may be a sign to finally grow up (but but!) and shelve the band and Doctor Who prints for later.  

There’ll also be an adjustment of surroundings. Over the last two years I’d fallen in love with my little indie neighbourhood (exhibited perfectly one night last week when I saw a man, on a skateboard, wearing a sombrero, and walking a dog) and just how much character it has. I loved how close it was to all my friends, and how I could walk past all the little boutiques and restaurants on a sunny day all the way to downtown. I loved the fact that my street was tucked away and faced the river, with a glittering view of the (albeit makeshift) downtown skyline. The neighbourhood was definitely going to be the thing I was going to miss most, but I’m determined to learn to love my new area. It’s not that far, and it’s close to other restaurants and shops. The street is full of giant old houses and lined with a canopy of trees. It’s beautiful… but it’s just a little more grown up, I think. And I still feel a bit of an indie kid at heart. 

The biggest adjustment, however, will undoubtedly be a financial one. I’ve always shared accommodations with other people (which has definitely resulted in a few war stories), and split rent, bills, and usually food at least in half. This place isn’t the cheapest suite I could’ve gone for, but it was still close to friends and family, and it had character. The sale was probably catalyzed by the fact that my new landlord is a fellow Brit, too. I work in non-profit at a job I absolutely adore. But this means that disposable income is pretty much going to have to become a thing of the past. Randomly, a few days ago, I received a phone call out of the blue from a recruiter I’d been working with when I’d been job-hunting years ago. They had a position that would be “perfect” for me that if I was hired for, would result in a 30% increase in income and an exponential decrease in money-related stress. But it was mundane. And it didn’t directly have an impact in people’s lives. They even asked me if I wouldn’t just be frightfully bored… so I had a decision to make. Money or meaning? If I stay where I am, I’ll be living paycheque to paycheque, shopping at the Dollar store and taking up part-time residence at friends’ places adopting all sorts of free leisure activities like Star Trek marathons and games of Settlers. (The space version of course; do I look like a girl that enjoys agriculture? J) But I’ll be spending every day going to do something I love, with people I love, in a job at an organisation that exists to make a positive impact in people’s lives. If I leave for the sake of money, sure, I’ll be able to afford more and pay off my debt more quickly, but I’ll be sacrificing something I care about and spending my time doing something that doesn’t really have any significance. And that doesn’t sit well in my heart. My decision’s made – I’m definitely staying where I am. I just have to learn to live a little less frivolously and give up a few luxuries is all. I knew I took that poverty challenge for a reason. 🙂

So a lot of change is going down right now… but that’s always what makes life such an adventure. Change is a key factor in growth; if things always stayed the same I fear I’d coast through life, never taking any risks or learning anything new or stepping outside of what’s comfortable… Change is always a little daunting at first, but I think if you dive straight in and make yourself at home, it’ll be one more step on an upward path of growth and experience. Speaking of diving straight in, I’ll be getting Internet hooked up tomorrow, and will finally be able to catch up with everything in the blogosphere after what’s felt like an eternity! Here’s to new beginnings…

 * “Theoretically” being the operative word; in theory I would be much fitter, if I hadn’t remedied the post-exercise hunger pangs with the frightfully convenient iced cappuccinos and pastries two blocks away.


  1. Cheers cheers to new beginnings. I am very proud of you Emily. You are stronger than you know or see right now… A lot of people would jump at an opportunity to make more money. I really commend your strength and courage in this moment. Always here Dolly.

  2. When my marriage ended, I really think my soul healed most when I finally had my own space, no roommates, no anyone else. It was great to have my space to grow and heal. I wish you the very best, my dear.

  3. Good for you on sticking with your current job. A lot of people would rather take “money over meaning” and it’s so great that you stuck with meaning. I currently love what I’m doing, so I hope a permanent full-time position comes my way… I was so relieved when I was let go from the corporate job.

    Enjoy your new place! We’ll have to come over and see it one day soon!

  4. You, lady, are a rockstar. I think you’re amazing for following your heart instead of following the money, and I hope with all my little heart has to give that with the space and time you’ll find your footing. Happy thoughts, hey x

  5. Happy new home! We lived in the Corydon area and moved to the West End. I too missed the neighbourhood but you soon adjust and find other cool things to enjoy. What an exciting change for you. This is the beginning of wonderful things, I’m sure. And I LOVE that your landlord is a fellow Brit. Always feels cool to make those connections so far away from home.

  6. You can never just change one thing. It always feels like everything all at once, I think. You’re handling it extremely well and I’m sure you’ll grow so much and won’t regret choosing what you love over money. I just read this quote the other day that sums it up: “The greatest cause of man’s unhappiness is his willingness to trade what he wants most in life for what he wants right now.”

  7. Change is always really hard, but I admire your courage and your strength and resolve (whether willingly or unwillingly) to get moving and restarting. I honestly have no idea how I would handle the curve ball life has just thrown at you. Part of me thinks that laying in bed for days would have some part of it. I can’t wait to hear how things continue to develop and change for you.

    1. Thanks… I’m actually noticing a lot of people who are surprised I’m not in some depressive funk, and I think on some level I’m surprised myself, but then again not, because I really, really try hard to make the right choice of reaction to anything in life, and in the big picture, there is no doubt in my mind that this was for the best. Onward and upward 🙂

  8. Good for you for following your heart. One of my friends took up a cash diet where she only took part in free/very cheap entertainment/activities. I don’t know if you have VUE or SEE magazines in Winnipeg (probably), but there are loads of free fun things to do in there.

    I love moving only because of the purging, but I definitely understand how sad it is to let ago of happy memories. You’re strong, Em. You’ll thrive and make this new place your own. xo

  9. emily, you are so inspiring. i hope you feel only half as “happy” as you come across in this post. i will be facing some of the changes you’re going through right now soon myself (the evening and financial situations at least) and hope to be able and look at it just as “let’s do this” as you do! sending you lots of *hugs*

  10. So happy to hear you are all moved in and settled. This is the time for a fresh start, new beginnings. I think it’s going to be amazing for you. 🙂 And way to freaking go on turning down a job that may helped you out financially but would suck your soul dry personally. That’s such a tough decision to make and I’m proud of you!

  11. Would it sound terribly like an echo if I just restate how proud I am of you for taking the noble path less travelled? You sound remarkably well adjusted all things considered, and as cliched as it sounds, I bet you look upon this as a turning point in your life, and a chance for growth.

    I look forward to trading moving stories with you soon 😀

  12. Ch-ch-changes!

    I just moved too. I see moving as a new season in life…and obvious new start 🙂

    Here’s to this new season in our lives!

  13. You are honestly so awesome. I just wanna come over and give you a big hug! You’re doing so well for yourself I have no doubt this is an important time in your life, and I can’t wait to see where it takes you. 🙂

  14. I love reading about new beginnings. I’ve been wanting to get my own place too. Emotionally and psychologically, I’m so SO ready! Financially, not yet. Haha!!

    You’re inspirational. You really are.

  15. I’m so excited for your future! As a fellow nomad, I’ve learned that there is always something to love where ever you happen to live, and all of the different places I’ve lived have made an impact on who I am and how I see the world. It’s hard to leave behind the familiar, but I feel that we’re so lucky to experience so many different slices of the world!

  16. Money is overrated in a job when compared to meaning and happiness, as long as you can still pay the bills that is 🙂 You made the right decision for you at this time, and no one knows the future. There could be another opportunity for you around the corner that you would love but might have missed if you had taken the boring job. Keep positive, the universe tends to bring things to those who are positive and open to receiving.

  17. Ah yes, the mighty force of change. I can identify with this wholeheartedly having gone through some recently, especially in terms of career. Just know that nothing good was ever won easily. That poverty challenge experience will take you further than you think.

    (Also, if the commenter in this thread is really the 10th Doctor, consider me star-struck. Otherwise, great username.)

  18. It seems you have had some hardship. I am sorry for that. Last time I was here, I was looking at your wedding photos. It seems much has changed. Good luck with your new place. Change can be very stressful.

  19. I think having a job you love is worth so much more. Change is tough, but you’ll pull through in the end. You are an amazing woman and I have enormous faith in you.

  20. This right here is why I adore you so much and constantly root for you. You’re so positive and you take the time to see the silver lining. I’m so proud of your attitude and outlook. And good for you for making a tough decision to live more frugally in order to do what you love.

  21. I’m happy to see you’re moved in and everything! 🙂 I’d definitely go for a job that I love more than for a job that pays more. I have no doubt you’ll be fine & succeed! 🙂

  22. Great post Emily! I’m not sure what are you are in but if ya find yourself closer to downtown, let’s start having some of those free hangouts.

    1. Definitely! I’m just a bus away from downtown, and work there – we should definitely start having some hangouts. I was telling Michelle you guys should come over for drinks when I’ve finally finished unpacking!

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