Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to All

What does it take to make your dreams come true?  Once you figure out what your dream IS...  it is still just a dream until you make the decision to stop dreaming and DO IT!

That's when the hard stuff starts.  Our dream is to Cruise.  Bruce and I met while sailing with a mutual friend.  We got married in 2004 after four and a half years spent sailing together.  Our wedding backdrop was a parade of Tall Ships drifting beneath the Newport Bridge in a white-out fog in Rhode Island.  From that day we've dreamed of someday "casting off the docklines" and Cruising.

Through the years we've talked about it... made false starts towards it... but have not made the REAL commitment.  UNTIL NOW!

A friend once told us "People who go Cruising are running away from something".  Certainly blanket statements like that are often flawed.  At the time, I had nothing to run from. But now, there is a grain of "running from" in our decision to Cruise.  But more importantly... there is an element of "running to".  Time waits for no one and if we wait, we may never get our chance.  Lets face it, we aren't getting any younger... We don't want to be just another couple of wannabes.

Last November, Bruce and I had a frank discussion about it.  We either decide that it's going to happen and proceed to MAKE IT HAPPEN... or we decide once and for all, that we are never going to cruise and proceed with our life as it is.  That month, we began preparing to sell our sailboat and find our Cruising Home.  The stress of it gave me migraines... but the decision was made.

That was the beginning.  It was frustrating after that... having made the decision, there was no visible sign of it.  We began to look for ways to economize.  The first thing to go was our home phone and cable TV. Secondly we stopped eating out as much, gradually at first to now, almost never.  I stopped buying everything I see and started buying only what we need for the boat.  We stopped buying clothes for no reason and I will admit that we even started shopping at the thrift stores and garage sales to save money.  And even those shopping excursions have been cut to the bone.  Why... I've started cruising the DIY websites and am now making my own laundry soap at $.03 per load!

Fast forward to today.  Major steps have been taken, we've sold our 36 ft boat, bought our Cruising Home, and moved aboard.  We have sold a lot of our stuff and our youngest daughter has assumed the expenses of our townhouse and made it her home.  We are "Liveaboards" but I prefer "Cruisers-In-Waiting".  The difference is... we're going!

Now comes the biggest sacrifice to date.  Christmas!  I remember Christmases as a child, the excitement of running into the living room, diving under the tree and getting big eyes at the vast acres of stuff my parents provided for us.  They didn't have a lot of money, but somehow made it possible for that tree to overflow with goodies.  This set the mental bar pretty high for me and as an parent myself, I felt compelled to duplicate this for my own children.

Unfortunately for me, kids became more sophisticated in their tastes and wants... and this translated into  BIG BUCKS spent every year to provide the "awe factor" that I had as a child.  Year after year I chased that increasingly illusive moment.  Luckily, my employer provided a generous Christmas Bonus each year that fed this monster... and this year was no different.

BUT... something IS different this year.  We have a new monster to feed.  It's a sailboat named Dos Libras and she's hungry!  So, we notified everyone on our Christmas List that we are "bowing out" this year.  No gifts to give or receive.  We told our family "Take what you would have spent for us and buy yourselves something nice".  We're going Cold Turkey!  We bought no decorations, no Christmas cards (thank you and we're sorry to those who sent us cards), no stocking stuffers, no charity gifts (a biggie at my office), no Secret Santa, no little oblong shaped cards with ovals cut in them... NOTHING!

How did the former recipients of our Christmas bounty take this personal decision that we've imposed upon our loved ones?  Well, it took a bit of attitude adjustment all around... but I think they get it.  At least, there have been no wailing recriminations about selfishness or unfairness.  Our decision has been met (at least outwardly) with a show of support and maybe a little bit of relief.  (Our Christmas wish list was full of pricey boat toys)  I guess this has been a "growing up" opportunity for us all.  But that doesn't keep it from being the source of a little melancholy.  It's hard to let go of a lifelong tradition, no matter how unhealthy it really is.

So, this Christmas, Bruce and I will be enjoying the beginnings of our Dream.  We will experience solitude and maybe a small roast chicken with our favorite Granny-recipe cornbread dressing.  We will relax aboard our "hungry home" with our kitties and plan for the New Year.  This New Year will bring many more changes for us.  It will be a busy time.  It will be a time of "letting go".  There will be lots of tears and lots of joys ahead as we finally break free of the last bit of "normal" and head for our Dream.  With that,

We Wish You
Smooth Sailing
This Holiday Season
And Throughout
The New Year!