Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Emotional Toll of Reaching A Goal!

"The brick walls are there for a reason.  The brick walls are not there to keep us out.   The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something, because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough.  They're there to stop the other people".    Randy Pausch,  The Last Lecture 

A lot of people have dreams, but not many turn them into goals.   Some people have goals, but not as many turn them into reality!    I think there are many reasons for this ... health issues pop up, a family member loses their job.  There are a lot of good reasons that people don't reach their goal or just keep dreaming, but I think one of the most common reasons is the emotional toll that a life-changing goal can have on a person.  There's the risk of failure, and just like the rest of life ... there's ups and downs along the way.  There are often "brick walls".  I love the quote above by terminally ill Randy Pausch, who has since passed away.

Our goal of cruising on our sailboat has definitely had an emotional toll on us at times.  Ken and I have had our share of "brick walls" since we turned our dream of cruising into a goal.   We've had times of euphoria like when we bought our boat, when we brought her home from the boatyard after 6 weeks of hard work in the hot sun, and when we experienced our first night at anchor.  We've also had times of disappointment and despair when our savings have been wiped out (again and again) due to unexpected financial issues and when we thought we'd never leave that boatyard!

At times it has seemed overwhelming when thoughts of everything we need to do in order to reach our goal start creeping into our heads.   There's so much!  But, when we get overwhelmed we just remind ourselves that we need to take one day at a time, be patient and stay focused.

As some of you know, we finally took a big step towards our goal and have started renovations on our house to get it ready to sell.    I can't tell you how many times we thought we'd start these renovations, only to have a "brick wall" get in the way.  But, we didn't give up and we've finally made it to this point!

I know that we'll have all sorts of emotions while hoping for a sale and getting rid of everything.  I've already prepared myself for those days when we wonder if we've made a mistake in practically giving away everything that took a lifetime to acquire.   As the listing of our home gets closer, we've already had those passing thoughts of, "Are we doing the right thing"?  But we  know that reaching a goal often takes sacrifices and risks.  

Fear is another emotion that I know we'll face.  Of course, there's the fear of cruising itself but I'm talking about the fear of change that comes with reaching the goal.  The unknown  can be scary, but it can also be exciting.  Ken and I were talking of our soon-to-be risks, but concluded that "staying put" in order to know how each day will end is boring!  We don't want to have that lingering question of "What if we would have"?

If you're working towards a life-altering goal over several years and facing "brick walls" and emotional tolls, know that you're not alone.   We're  "in the same boat" and we can't wait for the satisfaction of knowing we didn't give up, no matter what we wind up thinking about the cruising lifestyle!  (I think we'll love it).

We'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences about your goals and the sacrifices and/or risks you've had to take to get there!

Hasta luego ... until then.   Mid-Life Cruising!


Anonymous said...

every time you get overwhelmed, just get on that boat and sail... you will remember what your goal is! It will put that smile back on your face! You have come so far, and soon you will be exploring so many new things... and you will be sailing here to see me!!!

Unknown said...

I could have written this 10 years 12 years Go when we sold our house to buy our 46 Morgan. (My husband's name is also Ken).). It took us 7 years to get ready to go cruising, as we kept hitting walls that needed scaling or demolition also! But in 2007' we cut the dock lines. We still struggle to keep the cruising lifestyle, and we hope to keep at it for several more years, even though we are both in our mid-60's.

Cathy said...

This is so inspirational. Randy Pausch was a great lecturer! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with all of us today :)

Cathy Trails

Emily said...

Great post! It is good that you are thinking of all this stuff. One thing a lot of folks do when making a major life change like cruising (or moving to another country, or going RVing full-time, etc.) is to keep some of their "stuff" in storage -- either in a commercial facility or with a friend or relative. Then, a year or two into the life change, if they decide they want any of it, it's there. Many end up selling it later, but keeping at least some of it provides a bit of a safety net in case the big goal doesn't work out for some reason.

There are things we sold that we wish we still had (mostly kayaks and bikes) and a lot of things we don't miss at all since our move to Belize. We stored a few things at my mom's, but not much. Fortunately, most of our furniture was old, so even if we go back to a life in the US at some point, we don't mind re-purchasing some things to fit our current tastes rather than what we liked 20 years ago!

Leslie Basil Payne said...

What an encouraging post! This encourages me to keep working toward the publication of my recently completed novel...and the next one still in my mind.

Even though it's just been cruising for 3 months at a time, my cruising expeirences have taught me how few things I really need. We are a society with an obsession for things we don't need.

You will learn just how much you gain by having so little. You will be rich in experience, relationships, adventures and memories. When the time comes to stop cruising, you'll be able to accumulate plenty of things again. The sweet thing is, you'll realize how little you really want.

Latitude 43 said...

We're a little bit ahead of you guys, and can tell you from experience that you will be shaking in your shoes when an offer is accepted on the house. It's that moment when your life changes, and you realize you are on your way. It was scary, but exciting. We both questioned our sanity at times, but when we got a taste of our future, all was well.
I am pretty sure you will experience the full round of emotions that come with this lifestyle change, but all will be good in the end, whether it be on a boat, or back on land, it will be a more simple life.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Anonymous ... can't wait to sail n see you Jo! =)

Bonny, Emily, Leslie and Latitude ... thanks so much for the inspiration! Folks like ya'll really help us along! We can't wait to simply our lives and see the beauty on this Earth!

Dani said...

I bet you are getting scared. The unknown is out there and it's scary. It's a Risk and you obviously want to take it, but it's not easy.

I wrote about these feelings a while back here:

It comes from a little different perspective because we haven't acquired as much as you, but we did sell a house (at a loss), and gave away/sold alot of items.

I try to think of it in relation to people less fortunate. You can have all of these things you have saved and build your life around be taken in an instance by an Act of God. The weather. If you don't have the right insurance you are up the creek without a paddle, this happens to so many people.

Another thing I think we forget is that we will not live forever. Your time could seriously end tomorrow, or next week, or in two years.

You and Ken have each other right now, so you should live life to the fullest! You are fortunate in what you do have in each other and this dream. The rest is just stuff...fragile and unimportant.

Here's to hoping to get a great offer on the house.

LittleCunningPlan.com said...

Great post! I am right there with you. We struggle with the question of whether we want to sell the house, and we get stuck every time since we know we won't retire here, but we also know it would be a great investment to keep. We're a little older than you and feel the urgency of approaching older age in making these decisions. Maybe in the end they are not as important as they feel at the time, but we don't know that. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a good offer on your house.

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Sometimes we just have to throw it all out to the wind.

You already know most of our story; We bought a boat we couldn't possibly afford. We did not know how to sail. We lived in a cold, faraway city without enough knowledge of how to keep electricity flowing into the boat. Finally, I left a job after 20 years, the Spouse quit hers, too. We had a thousand bucks in the bank and crossed the Atlantic with NO ocean experience.

Ran out of money in the Caribbean, came home to get jobs to pay off the credit card debt.

All I can really take away from our experience is just to go; As soon as possible while you are healthy.

It will all work out. Really!

S/V NiSe said...

Please don't fear. The greatest fear I would have is that you don't go. Remember pain or financial loss is often recovered from in time, but regrets stay with you forever.

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks for all of the motivational comments! We're definitely not giving up!

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