As I mentioned in a recent post, learning to sail is probably the easier part of cruising. It's hard to leave the dock! As I mentioned in that post, we've had our challenges but we've overcome a lot of them in the past year. The next hurdle will no doubt also be a challenge ... closing our businesses and saying "No"!
I'm not underestimating the hardship of turning in a resignation to the boss, but closing a business has it's extra set of hardships. Both Ken and I work in the housing industry, where jobs may not be completed until months down the line. While I can stop showing properties when the time comes, things are a bit more difficult for Ken.
The next few months will involve finishing up our daughter's house and getting Nirvana out of the boatyard. However, the bills still need to be paid so we're not shutting down our businesses just yet. Therefore, Ken has the difficult task of juggling his business with our goals. I swear life can be a tease sometimes ... just when you think it's time to switch gears the phone doesn't stop ringing! It's been difficult to tell a potential client that their construction project will have to wait at least 2 months for Ken. Although that addition or kitchen remodel is a luxury and a "want" to me, it sure isn't to the people that want it. You'd think that their lives were at stake when told that they'd have to wait for Ken to start.
Ken has tried to delicately tell some clients that he is just too busy to do their jobs, but then they say they'll wait until he has time. Don't they know that we wanna get outta here?! Actually, they don't. Other than close friends and family, we don't tell too many people about our plans. It seems that most folks don't take us seriously ... or think we're nuts. So, Ken tries to "kill them softly" by saying that he understands if they wanna get another contractor ... if only it were that easy. They wanna wait, not knowing that at some point we've gotta say "NO"!
I think part of the difficulty of saying "no" is that society raises us to be nice, be generous, be empathetic. We're raised to believe that "no" is a selfish word.
Then there's the guilt that comes with turning down work. Again, our society raises us to "work hard" ... only a lazy person would turn down work, right?
Well, we've learned that society ain't always right! In fact, if we were to go along with the trend of society, we'd work until the day we died because we'd be in debt up to our ears. But, we'd sure have a nice car, home and the latest trends in technology ... we're not buying it! We ARE hard working, kind people. We're NOT lazy ... we just don't wanna work the rest of our lives. There's an expiration date, and who knows when that is?
Yes, we all should be empathetic and self-sustaining individuals, Yes, we should all have pride in accomplishing something ... but does that something have to be reflected in material items? Yes, hard work can make a person feel good ... but does it have to be at a job? How about hard work restoring an old boat?! Yes, we should be generous ... but does it mean we have to put ourselves last?
Anyway, Ken and I are working on the art of saying "no". Whether it's to a client or to a birthday party, we've got to start using this word a lot more often in our vocabulary. To be honest, I'm a little bit better at this already. For the past few years, I've been saying "no" to Mary Kay parties, Tupperware parties, Pampered Chef parties ... and on and on. I swear if I didn't say "no" to the invites I'd never be home in the evenings ... and I'd be constantly pulling out my wallet! I don't do these parties, so I'd also never host one. There's nothing wrong with them, but I've made a rule to always so "no" to these.
Family functions can be a bit more difficult. We truly love our family, and we want to spend time with them. But, our time is limited and we can't make every kid's birthday party and every holiday gathering. We choose which get-togethers to attend wisely, and we cherish those memories.
While our plans are pretty solid, our timeline is a bit sketchy. We'd like to think that after our daughter's house is complete and Nirvana is in the marina we'll have a better idea of our time frame, We hope that no later than this time next year we'll be wrapping things up, if not already gone. Until then, Ken plans to take a few jobs for income while tackling the "must do" projects on Nirvana.
It really is hard to train your brain to go against everything you thought was "right". But, we've learned that putting ourselves first isn't selfish, and it isn't "wrong". As the male in the family, I think that Ken sometimes worries about our plan not going as predicted and failing us. I've assured him that I'm all in and I want to do this. In fact, I'm gonna crazy if we don't! I have a brain, and I have a dream. Nobody is twisting my arm and if things don't go as planned, it's not because the male partner "failed" us. We're a team and we're equals ... again, society has raised us to think differently.
So, sorry if we don't attend your social gathering or we make you pay more by hiring another contractor to do your jobs (did I tell you that I think Ken is way too cheap for his talent?). As they say ... "Just Say No"!
I'm sure this is a topic that is far too common, but not talked about very much. We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Hasta luego ... until then. Mid-Life Cruising!