Friday, September 25, 2015

Should We Quit?!

When things get in the way of your dream, you have to start taking a hard look at what's standing in the way.  A dream worth working towards takes a lot of time, hard work and discipline.  The typical obstacles of cruising are eliminating debt, creating a savings, and generating an income while traveling.  Once those are removed, it's "smooth sailing" right?  Well, not so fast.

We've eliminated the above by selling our house, paying off all debt and generating income from rental properties but we still have a huge obstacle that often stops a large group of folks from actually achieving their dream ... change and the unknown.  I guess I should also include ... embracing the idea of becoming a "slacker".

If you've been following our Facebook page lately, you know that we've been prepping Nirvana for spraying her deck with smooth and non-skid paint.  We've got her as ready as she's gonna get, but the weather has to cooperate.  Low humidity, no rain and low winds are necessary to spray the primer and paint.  For over a week, we've been waiting for the winds to die down a bit.  Since we haven't been able to spray, Ken took a last minute renovation job from a long-time client.  Why not make the money if we can't spray, right?  Well, as luck would have it ... today is perfect for spraying but Ken's gotta finish the job .. and keep his commitment.  By the time he's done, rain is in the forecast.  Looks like another week at best.

All of this juggling of working on the boat and trying to make a living has been extremely stressful.  At what point do we quit our businesses completely?  At what point do we tell ourselves it's okay to be "unemployed" and start dipping into our savings while fixing our boat?

We've come to the part of the dream that's probably the hardest ... quitting work and "taking a chance".  I think that we've come to a crossroads that a lot of people avoid.  It's time to "shit or get off the pot".  It's gettin' real!

Unless you're financially wealthy, turning the dream of early retirement into a reality is scary.  There are so many unknowns ... will we stay healthy, will we have enough money to last throughout our lives, will our boat become a money pit, will our boat sink?!  Will we be viewed as "failures" if things don't work out as planned?  Will we be called "losers" because we quit working before 50 yrs of age? Will we regret throwing away the comfort of our routine?  But, there comes a time when you have to take the plunge into making the dream a reality ... or continue making excuses.

We figure that while there are risks in moving forward with our plan, there are risks of staying behind as well.  We could still lose our good health on land or get in a debilitating accident.  Ken's construction work is very physical, and he can't keep doing it forever.  Bad things can happen no matter how you live, so we may as well live on a boat and travel.  If we have regrets with our plans, at least we won't be living with the regret of never doing it .. and wondering if we should have.  As far as being a "failure" ... we figure the real failure would be in not going for it.  Being "losers" ... how could we be "losers" by retiring early, yet being self-sufficient?  We won't be living off of the government or hand-outs from others (we will accept a donation for a cold one, but that's not how we're supporting ourselves ... we'd starve!).  

The "comfort" of our daily routine isn't so comfortable anymore.  There's a new life chapter awaiting us, and the routine is no longer good enough.  We have more to learn and experience.

So, we're faced with the question .. has the time come?  Should we quit our jobs?  Even more pressing .. should Ken quit his?  As a real estate agent, I can work from home and don't need to be in an office.  There's no real obstacle in me continuing to be available for a seller or a buyer.  Truth be told, it's not that often anyway.  I've lost the passion to build my business, and instead I'm passionate about working on our dream.

It's hard for Ken to turn down work and long-term clients, so the door hasn't been shut completely.  However, we've agreed that he needs to start turning down jobs and choosing the ones that he takes carefully.  Once we're not fighting against timing the weather and paying boatyard fees, it may not be that hard to pick up a job every now and then in between working on Nirvana.  Heck, maybe we'll pick up a few construction jobs while cruising.

I've often read that the hardest part of becoming a cruiser is leaving the dock.  Again, unless you're wealthy ... I'd have to agree.

Here's to working a whole lot less ... at least for money.  Hmmm ... that doesn't sound right and is gonna take some getting used to.  We need to do as the picture above states ... smile, move on, and never look back!  Oh, and to those already cruising ... feel free to remind us of how great it is!  

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


Sandee said...

Life is full of what ifs. Live your dreams, don't look back someday and wish you had done something you wanted to do, look back and smile that you lived your dreams.

Retirement is always scary. Everyone is scared when they finally quit working and they ask all the questions you've just asked. It's human nature to worry.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Anonymous said...

I had my first heart attack at 47. Second one at 48. Third one at 50. Go ASAP, because life may not let you go later. There are lots of great sunsets to see and great people to meet. Even the stinkers and rainy days have value. Lets you know how great the sunsets and cruising friends are. Ken (still missing Satori Westsail 32 #223 and those sunsets)

Anonymous said...

Nice bit of sharing. We're anticipating that same hurdle in a few years, though we also have kids in the mix. Who'd have thought trying to relax could be so stressful? ;-)

The Cynical Sailor said...

The comment from Anonymous above really say it all. Enjoy it now while you have your health. I know how scary it can be. All the best with the decision making. Cheers Ellen

Jan and David said...

I'm known as the queen of "paralysis by analysis". Sounds like you suffer from the same. If it's your dream, do it - or modify the dream, flexible is good. Whatever you do, don't forget to HAVE FUN!

Ken n Cheryl said...

Sandee, great to hear from you! I tell Ken all the time that it's normal to worry, and something would be wrong with us if we didn't. I don't think I could be happy living with the dream never becoming the reality. I just visited your blog .. glad all is well!

Ken, so sorry to hear about your health issues! We've lost a few friends .. (all too young)so I've never taken our health and mortality for granted. I just hope we beat the clock. Hope you're making the best of things .. every day is a blessing.

Our Ties That Bind .. you are so right! Who would have thought the journey to "relaxing" would be so stressful .. so very, very stressful! LOL!

Ellen @ Cynical Sailor ... thanks for the kind words. Ken's comments above do say it all.

Jan & David .. "paralysis by analysis" is so true! I've never heard that quote before, but love it! Ken worries much more than I do, and worry can definitely stop one in their tracks!

Thanks ya'll! We're not questioning our plans on cruising, and we plan on cruising for a while .. we're just trying to figure out how to make it all happen sooner than later without going broke. We can't wait to get out there and meet some of you!

Mike M. said...

Someone already beat me to the "paralysis by analysis" comment I was going to make. Sounds like y'all are pretty much ready, just need a little nudge.

How bout Ken raise his rates substantially...that will likely discourage some business (which will make cutting the dock lines easier) and for the jobs he does take in the meantime you'll be making more money! Just an idea. Lol.


Unknown said...

I was wondering where you guys are hauled out. We are looking for a boat yard in the Slidell/N.O. area that allows do it yourself work. I see that you are spraying your decks. We would like to spray our hull. Do they allow that? Also do you know what size travel lift they have? We would appreciate any info you can give us.

mudmaven said...

We are a couple of retired part time cruisers. It took a great deal of planning and sacrifice, but in the end achieving our goal of being part time cruisers has been more than worth it. After raising five boys we decided we might like to sail for part of the year. Hubby is older than I and would reach retirement age before me so we planned accordingly. When he retired we bought our dream boat - a 36 ft Allied Princess ketch. For the six years between his retirement and mine we made sure we were out of debt and spent our resources on fixing up our early '80s boat so that when I retired we could move it from MA to FL and begin our adventure. Planning is important (no doubt about that) but the MOST important thing is not to lose sight of your ultimate goal. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day worries of "can we" "should we" "might we". You need to stay focused on "we will" and go from there. We moved her this past summer from MA to FL on the ICW - a real adventure to be sure! Now this year, after Christmas, we will set sail for ... wherever! We don't want to be away from our grandchildren and our garden (which has been neglected these few years as we prepare) and so we will sail for ... whatever time we want and then come home and spend time with family and gardens and pets until we decide it's time to set sail again. Don't give up the dream, keep your eyes on the "prize" and do what you need to do to make it happen. You won't regret it. We are much to old to live aboard full time, but if that is your goal - you should GO FOR IT!

Ken n Cheryl said...

Mike, the "paralysis by analysis" is so true! I like the idea of charging more .. working only if it's really worthwhile. We've been working on that idea for a while now. I think we just need to quit altogether .. LOL!

Mudmaven, great advice and congrats on conquering the ICW! Sounds like ya'll are gonna have a great Christmas this year. We plan on "going for it" this Spring .. it's just hard to "say no"!

Deb, Nirvana is at Pelican Pointe in New Orleans East/Lake Catherine. We had to sign something stating we wouldn't be spraying but he's okay with it. Their site is: if you want to contact them.

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