Wild hair? Mid-Life Crisis? Fit of pique? Why did we walk away from our lovely townhome and confine ourselves to this 45 ft. floating mobile home? Why have we offloaded all of the treasures we've worked so hard to procure in the name of "feathering our nest"? WHAT WERE WE THINKING!?!?
Well, I could say that it is the fulfillment of Bruce's lifelong dream, but I must really lay blame at the door of one Bob Bitchin. I didn't really consider it a possibility until I began reading "that magazine" that he put out… Oh, sure, I paid lip service to Bruce's musings… maybe he only married me because I was the first girl who actually sounded like she would put up with it… But, when I subscribed to "that Magazine" and found out that there really were people living "out there" and that maybe we could do it too… I got excited!
During the early years of our marriage, there was no reason to seriously consider upheaval… We were happily making our home (on land), we had a great 36 ft sailboat that perfectly suited our (then) needs, I thoroughly enjoyed my job and Bruce was having a good time windsurfing and sailing while I worked. Things were great!
So what changed? Why now? Well, lets face it… nobody is getting any younger. I began hearing song lyrics in my head about waiting too long, seeing (everywhere) that famous quote by Mark Twain - "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." My subconscious was busily moving towards it even if my consciousness wasn't...
We coasted along as wannabes for several years saying we were "gonna" do it but not really making active progress. Don't get me wrong, we were quietly paying off our town home so that "if" we ever did go we would be in a good financial position. Bruce's income is sufficient (judging from all I've read about cruising) to keep us well enough. But I will admit that in my secret thoughts, I never thought we would do it.
But… times were changing. The Healthcare Industry is in a state of flux and many of the people I once enjoyed working with have moved on. I began to realize that life shouldn't be all about work when it started to affect my health. I was stressed out and after about the sixth physician told me: "quit your job"… I began to listen. One day, one of my Drs told me something that suddenly released me from the bond of "ownership" I felt towards the practice.
The defining moment occurred one weekend while we sat on the deck of our beloved 36 ft CS. We decided that if we were ever going to really do it, the time was now… Yes or No… In or out. Get on with it or just settle in where we are for the long haul… We DECIDED!
The next 12 months were very busy with marketing our boat, finding a new (to us) boat, making the sale and the purchase, getting the boat home to Texas and sorting through the stuff that came with it. Then the process of reducing the possessions we own from nearly 2000 sq. ft. space to this 45 ft. space. It's not as easy as you might think to find new homes for old treasures.
We moved aboard almost one year to the day of our decision. I'm currently interviewing candidates for my replacement at work so I think they've realized that I REALLY REALLY mean it now… although I don't think they understand it at all. They still think I'll be back!
The reactions of our friends seem to be divided into two camps… those who grimace and shut down when they learn of our plans, and those who light up and get all warm and giggly. Even the questions they ask are biased. The first group ask things like "do you REALLY think you'll still be doing this in a year?". The other group asks things like "Where will you go? and how long will it take you to get there?". It's seen either as an end or as a beginning to life. I feel sad for those who see it as an end, because I can't help but think that must be a projection of their lives onto mine…
I see this as a beginning to a life doing what makes us happy. I look forward to meeting myself on this journey. I welcome the opportunity for opening myself up and to finding out what is really inside of me. I want to shed the stresses that force me into a role that I've grown to hate. I don't want to be the bad guy anymore. I don't want to have to force all of the good parts of our lives into tiny windows of opportunity (read weekends and vacations). I want to seize this marvelous opportunity we have been handed and explore each day like a gift alongside my husband. I want to make sure that we have no regrets when we're done living.
Sure we have fears. One of mine is that I just won't like it! Bruce fears mechanical breakdowns. Well, if we can't fix it, we can throw money at it. Fortunately we have passive income and if we live right, we will be OK. Worst case scenario, we sell the Townhouse or get jobs to pay for whatever we need. In all seriousness, my biggest fear is that one of us will fall ill or be in some way incapacitated… on a big scale. This is the fear that urges me insistently towards this cocamamie scheme… If we don't do it now, it will never happen.
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