True story: When I was planning my move to Texas in 2013, one of my top apartment-hunting criteria was that my apartment had to be near a Target. I remember typing in the address of every prospective apartment on Google Maps and searching for the nearest one. If the Target was “too far,” like 20 minutes away, it was out. This is so ridiculous to me now that it’s embarrassing to admit, but it felt perfectly reasonable then. For the record, I ended up with an apartment that was about five minutes from the nearest Target. And I was PROUD of it.
I was beside myself when I moved to our small town. It has a few grocery stores, a Walmart, and a handful of chain restaurants. The closest Target is about 40 miles from our house! I thought I was going to lose my mind being so far from the amenities I was used to.
I’ve learned that when you’re accustomed to something, it begins to feel necessary. Things like living five minutes from Target begin to feel like they’re a “need.” But, as it turns out, I don’t need to live near a Target at all. To be quite honest, I’m not sure I even want to live near a Target anymore. I honestly don’t miss it. (My bank account definitely doesn’t!)
I get comments and messages every week saying things like “I don’t know how you do it! I could never live that far from X, Y, or Z!” I didn’t think I could, either.
But over time, I’ve found such a freedom in this area! I still enjoy shopping and eating out from time to time, but I don’t actively miss it. Life feels quieter and simpler without shops and restaurants on every corner, and I’ve grown to appreciate the slower pace we’re afforded here.
We have house guests quite a lot and everyone–literally every single one–comments on how nice it is to come and visit us because they’re able to slow down. We’re not constantly on the go. Our lives are full but not busy. We enjoy relaxed dinners, slow weekends, and long walks at dusk. We don’t live in some magical fairyland–we’ve just embraced a slower pace of life!
This past Sunday we had family friends visiting us. After church, we spent the entire day relaxing. We baked two different kinds of cookies, watched three or four movies, did crafts together with the kids, and generally enjoyed one another’s company. It was so nice. Later in the evening, our friend remarked how she couldn’t think of the last time she’d just relaxed for an entire day. “There’s nothing else to do!” I said, “Almost everything in town is closed on Sunday. It forces us to slow down.”
Sometimes being stripped of the things that provide earthly comfort can lead us to seek something deeper. This post isn’t really about living close to Target–it’s about putting things on pedestals and idolizing them. I used to idolize living in a big city with a thousand things to do, but my mind has changed.
I’m learning that joy, contentment, and freedom are often found by taking things off pedestals and determining what really matters.
Many of the things we think we need, we don’t. And sometimes giving those things up is where we’ll find a more intimate relationship with God, a realer version of ourselves, and a more peaceful and content existence. I don’t need to live near a Target.
// What’s your “Target?” Are you willing to let it go?
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