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We moved into our historic 1910 Foursquare in 2005. Our children were young, ages one, three and six. To say we have loved this house is an understatement. It’s filled with so many wonderful memories. As we pack up, I am reminded that moving from a house you love is a far better option than moving from one that you don’t. Think about that statement for a second.

Many are asking us why we are moving and where we are moving. And, it’s not a straightforward answer, but it ultimately comes down to two words: miniature donkeys. We’ll circle back to those words a few paragraphs down, but first, some background.

Note: I’m feeling incredibly vulnerable opening up about this life plan as I recognize how fortunate we are. I know the ability to follow our personal plan only represents a small percentage of families, but the idea of having a dream and making it into a goal is applicable to everyone. By sharing our story, I hope it inspires others to do the same.

1910 Foursquare

Here’s the beautiful home, filled with even more beautiful memories, that we just sold. I’ll miss that front porch the most. But, I’m ready to move. We’re also incredibly fortunate to be in the position to sell a home in this market.

The Petra Life-Planning Course

In February 2020, my husband, Jay, and I attended a life-planning course led by Andy Bailey, founder of Petra, a business coaching company. He had just launched a life-planning class for individuals and we signed up for the inaugural class. There were people there from all over the country. This was right before the world as we knew it drastically changed with Covid-19. But, what we learned about ourselves and our expectations for our future proved things we thought about long and hard during the pandemic days. 2020 was a year that hyper-focused us about our future.

The class, which was limited in size to just 15 people, started with dinner to get to know our group, and then there was an optional breakfast and workout at Andy’s house in Franklin, TN, followed by a full day of planning at the Petra offices.

Like many life-planning courses, we were asked to write our own obituary. Then, we were asked to think about a specific year in our future, 10-20 years from now. By picking a specific date, it’s easier to picture your future life in detail. After writing about our future life, we were more clearly able to see what we needed to do NOW in order to get to where we want to be. Andy also went over tangible ways to create everyday habits in behavior. Warning: if you decide to do this course, there may be tears; there will be breakthroughs; you will feel vulnerable.

When we attended the class, Jay and I were, by design, not seated next to each other. This meant we were partnered with someone else. Because of this, we were both able to determine our own goals without being influenced by each other. This also meant that we realized we needed to go out to dinner that very night, just the two of us, and talk about what we discovered. We needed to find out what we both wanted from our future and where we both needed to pivot a bit to align our goals as a couple.

This theme has been my guiding light for the past four years. Set goals and plan, otherwise it’s wishful thinking. And, have people to hold you accountable! But, even with that, the life planning brought this thought to a new level.

Now, before I go on, I need to go back a few years before we arrived at this class. Jay and I had talked about downsizing from our house after our youngest graduates from high school in 2022. Jay was more anxious to move than I was. Jay was thinking a condo in the Gulch or Germantown, I would respond that we have two dogs and a cat and a condo wouldn’t work. He would respond, “Hire a dog walker!” I thought maybe we would move by 2025, but I was not 100% onboard for a 2022 move to a condo. I wouldn’t even be 50! Why were we moving to a condo? But, I wasn’t so opposed to it that I had said, “No, absolutely not.”

The life-planning day cracked open my opposition and I discovered why I was hesitant.

As I thought about our future, and put myself in my 15-years-from-now shoes, I was able to think about life as a grandparent, as a 60-something-year-old. And, I realized that I didn’t want to live in a condo. I wanted to live in a house, on land, with big gardens and MORE animals. By thinking about what our three kids may be doing, and where they would be living, it became clear that in 15 years, it was likely that only one would live in Nashville, maybe two.

You see, I want a house that is a beacon to Nashville for our family. A gathering place with at least two large dining room tables, one on a porch. I want a 4-season garden plan. I want a house where our grandkids can be dropped off and they want to stay for at least a week and are filled with memories of running on grass, picking vegetables, getting eggs from the chicken coup, playing with dogs and … miniature donkeys.

As we sat over dinner and I told Jay my dream, which was a far cry from his condo dream, he listened. He smiled. He sipped wine. In that moment, he gave up his condo dream and said, “I like your vision better. I’m all in. Let’s go get miniature donkeys. We’ll get some land after Charlie graduates, build our house and move. One thing: I’d like for it to be on the Harpeth River or Cumberland, or at least have a large creek.”

And, just like that, I knew we were moving in the next few years and I was excited.

Then, the housing market in Nashville went nuts. In spring 2021, our house was worth 50% more than it had been worth just 12 months prior. Knowing our plan, we decided to take advantage of the market and move. We got an all-cash offer without an appraisal needed and two months free rent. I mean, how lucky are we? I’m writing this from our beloved house, but it no longer belongs to us. And, I’m okay with that. I love our future plan far more than I love this house.

Small House; Big Plans

We bought a small house, a new build, in the Charlotte Park neighborhood as our in-between home. This is simply our launching pad from where we want to eventually move. Living here will allow us move forward with our dream, free up our money, and be able to quickly make an offer if the right property comes available. We’ll be living at The Becanni, and we’re excited. This home is a good investment, and could also, if money ends up exceptionally great, be an “in-town” home for us as well. Maybe our adult daughter takes over the mortgage one day. This home represents OPTIONS and allows us the freedom to move forward on our own timeline. And, that’s what we needed.

More than anything else, this life-planning day allowed Jay and I to be on the same page about our future and have frank discussions. We’ve been able to change other things that have affected how we work, how we give back, and more. But this home change is the most visible one. And, it represents something much bigger.

Petra Life-Planning Course Dates 2021, 2022

If you are interested in this life-planning class, it’s $1,500 per person and I highly suggest it. It’s an investment in your future. Also, there were several people who attended solo; this is not just for married couples!

The class dates were just announced and they will fill up quickly as they are limited to only 15 people per session. Upcoming dates are:

2021: July 8 to 9; October 24 to 25; December 9 to 10.
2022: January 6 to 7
Cost: $1,500/per person and includes group dinner on the first night, breakfast and a morning routine on the main day as well as lunch and snacks.
Suggested Hotel: The Harpeth
Contact: If interested, email [email protected].

You Only Have One Life

I’m a big believer in making goals and creating alignment. That may be within your company or in your family or both. We only have one life to live. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to be remembered for? At our life-planning day, we tackled all of these questions and more. Don’t wait until you are in retirement to start thinking about these things and putting a plan together. Plan your life to be the one you want. It’s only from there that you can make plans to see that life come to fruition.


Note: We paid full price to attend this course; we were not paid to write this article.


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