All In

Over the past 30 years, my wife Stephanie and I have been blessed to live and raise our family in some wonderful places including Seattle, San Diego, Palm Springs, Pasadena, Dallas and Atlanta. Most of that time was spent in traditional suburban homes on an acre or more of ground, set back from the street and with distance from our neighbors. Although we could certainly walk in those neighborhoods, if we wanted to engage in anything other than a residential street, it was time to get in the car. The idea of walking to work, the grocery store, the gym, or a restaurant was something we knew happened in the city, but was not within reach our residential life. In fact, without really knowing it, we were living in a community intentionally designed to separate all of those uses (and many others) from where we played and slept. Little did we know, that was about to change.

For the past three years I have had the pleasure of leading and serving an amazing team of people who are creating Pinewood Forest. As President of this project, I have had an insider’s view of all that has been invested in creating this remarkable town. Six weeks ago, my wife Stephanie and I moved into our new home at Pinewood Forest and began our adventure as owners and residents. I went from helping curate this new way of living, to actually living in the heart of it 24/7. No more theoretical, philosophical, or second-hand experience for us…we are all in, and experiencing it in real time.

While it has only been six weeks for us as residents, I can tell you that we are having the time of our lives. Embracing a new way of living that included a smaller footprint home, closer connection to the street and our neighbors, beautiful shared green spaces, and a maintenance-free life style were all new to us. Giving away more than half of our possessions to our children, friends, and others felt like the ultimate weight loss program. Gone are so many of the things that we no longer need as we begin to embrace a simpler way of living that is focused more on people and experiences and less on possessions. In its place we already have friends and neighbors who drop by unannounced, invite us to sit on their porch, engage in conversation at the community mailboxes, or interaction with people who don’t look like us. We are more engaged today with both people and nature than at any time in our lives, and we are loving it.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will continue to share our experiences of living in “The Forest”. Included in this conversation will be the trade-offs that are made to create this simpler life and any challenges we might experiencing. If anyone has any questions or comments or wants to know more about what we are doing here at Pinewood Forest, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at the email address listed below to share your thoughts. In the meantime, we remain “all in”.

Rob Parker