"What's changing everything for me is a new understanding that we get to decide how we want to live. We get to shape our days and our weeks and if we don't they'll get shaped by the wide catch-all of 'normal' and 'typical,' and who wants that?"
They met and married early in adult life: 18 and 24 years of age respectively. Now ten plus years in and three kids later - Andreas who is 9, Lucia 6, and Joaquin 2 - they have a very real sense that they have grown and changed and even grownup together into people with a shared set of vision and values for their life together.
"As a couple the thing we are equally passionate about is health in order that we might better and more fully enjoy life."
The word "health" can mean a thousand different things to a thousand different people, but for them it includes "the way we eat, think, feel, and function," practicing a particular way of life that leads them to experience more of what life has to offer.
"For us, health is ultimately about quality of life which is even more so about quality of being."
We cannot separate our bodies from our souls. We are not bifurcated dualistic beings. We have bodies and we have souls. And for far too long modern western thought has elevated the soul over the body, relegating it to a role of merely housing the parts that matter most. But it's not just that the body has a soul, but also the soul that has a body. They need one another. They cannot be pulled apart. In fact they are one.
"Our shared goal in life is to cultivate experiences for our family rather than accumulate possessions."
They are averse to debt, pay cash for most everything, and live below their means while here at home so they can hit the road or take to the skies.
Megan is the free-spirited one: she looks the part; sounds the part. She's always plotting the next great adventure, while Tobias quietly goes about preparing for it behind the scenes.
As she puts it, "He's the practical to my crazy."
Both are equally needed and mutually valued in their relationship. If all you ever do is dream aloud without quietly going to work to make your dreams a reality then you will live in a constant state of frustration. Eventually you'll shutdown, numb out, and walk away as a coping mechanism for the perpetual disillusionment of a life lived un-well.
"We want to set our children up for success in the same way our parents did for us. And while our upbringings might appear to be unorthodox on the surface, we believe that they represent something of a way of life that ought to be more commonplace for us all."
Take Tobias, his parents moved to a remote part of Idaho in the 70's, built a cabin by hand where they lived with their four children for ten years without running water or electricity - quite literally off the grid. While they had very little, and some might mistake them as poor, they were actually quite wealthy - abundantly so - filthy stinking rich you might say, relationally and experientially speaking.
"We lived for each other, not the material possessions of this world."
Megan too, had a less than typical childhood having been born to slightly older parents at the age of 43 and 56, and grown up the youngest of ten kids, she speaks of the defining characteristic as that of a truly shared experience:
"I was never alone."
These words don't come out of her mouth in some sort of bothered and irritated way, wishing she had had a smaller family or longing to be the one and only, she speaks of her family size and dynamic with a spirit of joy and thanksgiving.
"My mother's Hispanic ancestry was and still is a big part of the culture of my home and family growing up. She was protective and overbearing in the very best of ways; super affectionate and expressive in a world that seems wound up way too tight to let their self-expression be seen. If you needed to find my mom all you needed to do was head to the kitchen where there she will be standing over a big pot on the stove with an even bigger smile on her face."
For both Tobias and Megan, their childhood experience was described as "family centered, home-based, and gathered around the table."
"We want to pass on the same heritage to our children. One that values people and shared experience with the ones we love above all.
"We prioritize travel, and traveling with our children. And we've made sacrifices that have afforded us and them that opportunity. We want to see the world. We don't want the backdrop of our lives to be our living room with a lit up television screen. We want our children to know that they are both great and minute all the same. The story of the world is bigger than they are. They have an irreplaceable one of a kind role to play to be sure. But they are not the center of the universe."
"We feel rooted here in Oklahoma City with family, but we think about and entertain the idea of living abroad someday. The simple way of life that we seem to find and the routines we naturally slip into draws us back time and time again. Take Costa Rica for example, the unofficial slogan of the country is "Pura Vida" which translates rather simply to pure life. The Markey's personally interpret it to mean "Live day to day. Enjoy today. Figure out tomorrow."
When asked about some of their favorite or most recent traveled places they rattled off Colorado, New Mexico, and Costa Rica as places they get to frequently. But there was something about the way that Megan reminisced about their time in Barcelona that was awfully nostalgic.
"The food (enough said). And because of my Spanish ancestry, it felt like home. It was a wild and wonderful thing to feel a sense of home in a place I had never been."
Home, and the place where you live and the space you inhabit, whether here or halfway around the world, has an effect on you and your life. Space matters. It's an expression of you to be sure, but it shapes you as well.
"Where we live is a representation and reflection of us. In Dennison Park, everyone is equal; different but equal. Our neighborhood is full of diversity, a mixture of cultures and socio-economic statuses. We moved to the city center ten years ago to contribute to its culture and add to its vibrancy."
"Our current house is actually our dream house. The natural light that washes over and moves through the space is something of a living thing. It gives the house life and movement. I wouldn't compromise or settle for anything less when it came to picking out a place to make a home."
The words from the recent Home Issue of Kinfolk Magazine come to mind: "When light falls upon spaces and objects, grace is cast in its shade."
Ever the contemplative type, Tobias says: "The master suite offers just the right amount of solitude and solace. There's a great balance throughout the house of personal space and common area."
"Our homes are beset by conflicting demands," says founding editor of Monocle Ann Marie Gardner. "Interior spaces must provide a sense both of community and of personal well-being; they must be places where we can invite the world in, and where we can shut the world out. In other words, they must serve needs both public and private."
This is a thoughtful and discerning couple. Living life wide awake and fully aware. Attempting to remain present and available to others. Their family is being groomed and grown with a great deal of intentionality.
Megan is really picking up a head of steam now:
"There aren't any moments that don't mean anything - everything matters. It all matters: the good, the bad, the beautiful. You take something from every situation; carry with us something that makes us deeper and better and changed.
"I'm not content to live life on autopilot, coasting through life. I never want to stop feeling passionate about things. If I stop feeling, I stop living. We only get one life, and though it might sound cliche, I want to make the very most of mine. Feel it all. See it all. Do it all. I want to be remembered for my passion; how I make people feel about themselves and our world." ⊙
Denniston Park is a hidden gem of a neighborhood that will not stay hidden for long. Surrounding the beautiful Denniston Park, you’ll find one of the most adorable collections of cottages, bungalows, and midcentury treasures around at an affordable price. Prices tend to range from $100-300k with some of the best neighbors around. Keep your eyes on this one!