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Leveling up to 36

Everybody has phases. Good ones, bad ones, “meh” ones. I have frequently blamed Mercury in Retrograde for stretches of time where nothing seems to quite fall into place the way it should, and at least 50% of the time, Mercury was indeed to blame (conveniently). This is not one of those times.

On the eve of my “leveling up” to the tender age of 36 (just go with it, I am the birthday girl after all), it feels like I not only paddled at the right speed, managed to jump onto the board and keep my balance, but I’m riding that wave like I was born to surf. In other words, life is pretty incredible right now.

If I take a step back and try to be objective, I admit not everyone would agree.

Francois and I live in a 15m2 tiny house with a gorgeous bathroom we can’t use (there’s no sewage set up yet and we don’t have a hot water solution just yet for the shower). We do have running water, but over the past few weeks there have been a few minor glitches. The water level in our 1000L tank has been doing weird things, dropping from 400L to almost nothing with no logical explanation. Yes, we probably have a leak.

The immediate impact is that we turn off the water at the tank and go back to using the three 5L bottles of water to go and get water from the source near our outdoor shower (the one that was amazing over summer but too cold to use now). We take turns, and usually end up doing one or two “water runs” a day.

Because we have no functional flush toilet, we use an outhouse which is in the woods behind the tiny house. It’s covered, has an incredible view, but is still subject to the elements. In other words, if you’re not going for a wild pee (because going number 1 can be done anywhere on the land – just walk out, pick a spot, and do your thing), you definitely want to aim for a daylight moment to visit the outhouse. Preferably not when it’s raining or too windy.

Our animals don’t care if it’s bad weather or if we’re dying to sleep in. They need to be let out, fed, and taken care of. To be fair, they are pretty good at fending (and foraging) for themselves – but they still need to be let out of their pens. That means a regular day starts between 6-7am, and the laziest of days begins by 9am.

Call me crazy, but to me all those things are minor details. What’s more, they are part of the adventure! We could have bought a property with a house ready to move into, but we didn’t. We could have decided to just grow vegetables and bypass the whole animal thing, but we didn’t.

That’s the thing. Every aspect of my life today is based on a conscious decision that this is what I want. How incredible is it to be able to say that?

There’s a lot more on my list of life goals, but for the most part… 36 feels like a level I can welcome with a high five and excitement about what is still to come. Bonus: 36 is a really cool number!

Every morning, I wake up with a smile because Mojito is so excited to see me emerge from dreamland. Every day is different, yet has similarities to the previous and next day that make my heart so, so full. And amidst all that, I get to share this adventure with Francois.

Recently, I wrote about gratitude and the cop-out of saying “I am thankful for my husband” because even if it’s true, it’s so generic it makes me roll my eyes.

So, here’s my take on that: I am thankful for my partner in amazeballsness who tirelessly fixes leaks, whips up feasts in a tiny house kitchen, thinks its normal to spontaneously whip up a batch of brownies or a peach crumble (shhhh! don’t tell him it’s not!), finds at least 12 ways to make a pun, puts up with my endless stream of ideas and love of to-do lists, and always knows when to push and when to reassure (well, almost – he is human after all).

As for what this next year has in store? Let me just say that it’s going to be the stuff of legends.



  • Eleni
    7 November 2018

    Happy Birthday to a beautiful soul, YOU Shahnaz, who I feel both blessed and humbled to have in my life’s journey and to also be able to be a part of some of the “chapters” of your LIFE STORY “encyclopedia”I feel gratitude for our friendship, our genuine relationship and to be a “goat máma” to our precious Méli. Here’s to you my sweet friend, to GOOD HEALTH first and foremost, to LOVE, PEACE and true JOY in your home, heart and relationship with Francois too♥️All my love from my heart, Eleniand the Phillips “boys”


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