Sunday, April 19, 2015

Why St. Croix?

A lot of people have asked me "Why St. Croix?" The easy answer is "Why not?" But in reality, I really needed a change. I went to college and straight to law school and straight to work. For the last 8 years, I have been sitting behind a desk, living in both the city and the suburbs, but without much of a change other than a few trips out of the country here and there. When this year started, I really felt a pull to do something different and something really pulled me to the US Virgin Islands. I didn't even know this island exited until a few months ago and now I can't think of at least trying to live there.

When I visited St. Croix a few weeks ago, I noticed that the people there are somewhat different in how they look at life. Life is slower in St. Croix and the values are different. There are only about 50,000 people so when you meet someone, you are likely to see them again soon so most everyone is very cordial and friendly. I was invited to dinner several times by people who didn't know me at all.  There isn't a huge rush to do anything but everything does get done.

Most of all, people don't seem to value material possessions very much. In Chicago, where the temperature dictates much of what we can and cannot do, we need a lot of material possessions to either help us survive through the tundra temperatures or to keep us entertained. Many people use shopping therapy. I am convinced that in St. Croix, people go shopping because they actually need something and not for fun. It's a simpler way of life but at the same time, I am sure it has its own challenges from bugs to hurricanes to tsunamis. I am looking forward to something a little slower where I am not tied down to email and the phone 24/7, which unfortunately is where the legal profession has gone due to our ability to always be connected.

And as far as weather,  in Chicago, half the year the temperature reflects a frozen tundra and the other half is similar to a death heat. When it's not one of these two, it's most likely raining and the other 10 days are beautiful. In St. Croix, I imagine it gets hot in the summer but the rest of the year is suppose to be beautiful and comfortable. If I can get through the hot season and hurricane season, I think it'll be okay.

I haven't really lived anywhere but in the Chicago and Western Indiana area for most of my life so this will probably be challenging and fun at the same time,but most of all, I hope that I learn something and maybe I'll get to make a difference for someone else as well.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Packing uggghhhhhh

Packing is bad enough when you're trying to figure out what of the 31 years of stuff accumulation goes into three checked bags and a carry on, but it's even worse when you're trying to declutter at the same time. A few weeks ago, before I officially decided to move to St Croix, I began to declutter my apartment. This is when I realized that I am a slight hoarder in denial. I had empty fruit jars that I had collected for a mysterious arts and crafts project because obviously there would be an empty fruit jar shortage in the future. I didn't have just a few of these, I had about 15. I also had empty boxes, lots of empty boxes and boxes from things that I had purchased years ago because I needed the box just in case I had to return the item a few years later??? And the skirt that can only be described as a prairie skirt that maybe would be appropriate for a fifth grader but probably not for a 20 something year old which is when I believe it was purchased. Even Laura from Little House on the Prairie would shrug at that one. So many questionable items...

The great thing about decluttering is that once you start throwing away and donating a few things, it gets easier. Then you start throwing away things you actually need and you don't really think about it until the trash has been picked up and you can never find that item again! But for the most part, decluttering is great and makes you feel like a lot of weight is lifted. The hard part is when you're moving far away, you can't bring everything with you and figuring out what to take and what to leave and what to donate is extremely difficult. I would rather donate and get rid of everything that I don't take because leaving it means that I want to keep it and have it with me, but if I can't take it with me, I will always think about it and that's not what I want. So right now the idea is to leave behind only the things that make practical sense to leave such as high school yearbooks and winter clothing. The challenge is to donate everything else. However, no matter how many droves of bags I take out of this one bedroom apartment that I have called home for almost three years now and the countless apartments before it for the last 13 years, there is still more stuff on the shelves and in the closets.

I want a simpler life, I don't want to spend hours and hours going through extra shoelaces and lanyards and other things that for the most part don't have a lot of meaning. I want to experience memories, not remember the countless hours that I am spending going through and organizing my sushi eraser collection (I actually have one...and if you want it, please let me know!). When I go to stores now, I only buy food because I know if I buy any more stuff, one day I will have to spend more time trying to get rid of it. I am sure I will forget and start accumulating more stuff soon, but for right now, I am still trying to figure out how to not have just my shoes fill up a whole checked bag, leaving no room for the important stuff that I will actually need for where I'm going, like my snorkel and fins :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Moving to St. Croix, USVI

I started this blog back in 2009 when I moved from downtown Chicago to the suburbs. It was suppose to be a new beginning with a new job in a law firm and it was. I only wrote one post back then but now I am moving again, this time to St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. It's a much bigger change and hopefully followed by a career change. So follow me on my journey from retiring from the law and becoming a St. Croix beach bum on the shores of paradise.

The official move date is June 1, 2015, and there are a million things to get done before then so stay tuned!