Four-Question Interview: Downsizing Dad

August 24, 2007 at 7:59 pm Leave a comment

Part of my vision for this blog is a series of “four-question interviews.” I’ve written four questions around the theme of Having Enough, and I’d like to get a variety of people to answer them, from authors and thinkers I admire to people I know in my personal sphere who have made life choices that seem in keeping with my mission here.

I’m proud to have my first interviewee come from within my family. My brother Jeff is 35 and a committed husband and dad to two sons, ages 4 and 9. He and his wife Gretchen are pros at thinking outside the box and making lemonade out of lemons. When they lost a child, born prematurely, between their two boys, they started a non-profit to help others with preemies. When their third-grader was struggling in school despite the fact that he was devouring 300-page books at home, they decided to home school, and now he’s thriving.

And, last year, when they moved into their dream house (a brand new five-bedroom home on the Chesapeake Bay) and realized it was more than they needed, not to mention more expensive and resource-sucking than they wanted, they sold it and downsized, big-time. Now the family of four lives in a 1,000-square-foot renovated farm house on a heaping acre-plus in suburban Maryland. They’re growing their own food, raising chickens and angora bunnies, and working toward a different dream — running a self-sustaining home farm business.

Jeff still works as marketing director at a company outside Washington, DC (another interesting “having enough” choice, as he describes below) and now spends his free time farming and learning about alternative energy options (including the corn stove they just bought, using their home-grown corn to heat the house and feed the chickens!). He also designed the Having Enough logo and my freelance business web site, by the way (how lucky am I?).

Here are my brother’s to-the-point answers to my Four Questions:

1) What does “having enough” mean to you?

Having enough time and financial flexibility to spend as much time as possible at home with my family.

2) What do you think about the concept of “having it all” in our culture?

I think that American consumerism (and the rest of the world following suit) is a major culprit in the problems that our society is currently facing and will continue to face in the future unless attitudes and actions change.

3) How do you define success?

Same as having enough – having enough time and financial flexibility to spend as much time as possible at home with my family.

4) Can you describe a defining moment in your life when you had to choose between “having enough” or pushing for more? (And how did it turn out for you?)

I recently received a promotion at work and after three months I went back to my previous position at my previous compensation – what good is status and money if you don’t get to watch your kids grow up? As far as how it turned out for me, it was the best thing that could have ever happened – I love my life and now I know for sure that climbing the corporate ladder is not for me.

Stay tuned for upcoming four-question interviews — next up, a feminist author fresh back from her latest book tour!

Entry filed under: Career, Having It All, Parenting, Success/Failure.

Success Starts Here Now? Hindsight

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You are visiting "Having Enough (In a Have-It-All World)"...

Blog Mission

To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

Blog Author

Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

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