We are starting to think of ourselves as ‘short timers’ ; people who have very little time left until they leave for the next assignment, or retire, or something like that. Ever since we made the decision to leave a year early, we have been living life in a strange combination of ‘fast forward’ and ‘pause’. It is really mind twisting, gut wrenching, just a little off-putting, and in a word: stressful. Oh, and here’s another word: emotional. Stress and emotion. Yes. A year sounds like a long time until you begin ticking off all the things that need accomplishing during that amount of time.
I know lots of our readers have “been there, done that” and I wish, every single day, that we could just take that experience out of their brains and insert it into ours so that we would not have to go through this part of the transition. That would certainly make things a lot easier, but we all have to experience our own suffering on this earth.
Apparently there are no short cuts, so have patience while we suffer out loud on our blog. And also while we share the moments that are less about suffering and more about excitement, or at least peace and contentment.
It’s true what the Buddhists say: all suffering is about attachment and about NOT living in the ‘now’. So very, very true. I am trying to stay mindful of my own process of attachment and letting go and let me tell you: it is exhausting. On the one hand, I am holding an attitude of gratitude every day that I have had the opportunity to own this beautiful home, to sit in comfort in any room I choose, to have a garden that is lovely to behold and a joy to all who experience it.
On the other hand each time I fill my heart with that gratitude, thoughts come in about how difficult it is to keep this home clean, that I am tired of noticing what work needs to be done, that the garden is really too big for me to easily maintain anymore, that our children will never want to own this home for themselves. And mostly that my husband has to work full time in order for us to afford to live here. And that leads me to the ‘knowing’ that we will have to let it go somehow.
So I wander room to room asking myself the one simple question of each item: does this bring me joy to own? And as time goes by, there are fewer and fewer objects that really do bring me joy to own. And I guess that’s a good thing. Maybe by the time we are ready to move out, it will be easy.
It’s interesting, this setting of a date of June 2016. It is a little like getting a death sentence. Not that anyone is going to actually die here, but in that suddenly I began to feel the reality of this decision in a way that makes me want to hurry up and do the things I’ve always wanted to do in my land life, as though I will never have another one. Completely irrational, but there it is. So I began taking voice lessons, which I have been loving. I started playing my piano again, which I am loving. And I started doing art again. Also loving. Don’t ask me what I’m going to do with all these huge canvasses when we move aboard. I have no idea. But I was feeling like I was living life ‘on hold’, waiting until that day we untie the dock lines.
And that’s just stupid and it made the suffering/attachment part of this whole transition much worse. All work and no fun. Bad idea. Life is for now. I’ll figure out what to do with the canvases later. So I began saying ‘yes’ in my heart to all the things I had been saying ‘no’ to because we would someday in the future be leaving. Our future is not guaranteed. I do not want to die having not sung my song, or painted my painting. To me, that is just as important as doing our trip. And if because of some horrible twist of fate our trip didn’t happen, I would still have my art and my music.
And what is Mike doing while I am meandering through my own mind gearing up for the day we dig ourselves out of this place, sorting things out, doing big yard projects, painting and singing? He is working like a dervish on Galapagos, getting her ready for the trip this summer, which, by the way, cannot come soon enough for us. Last time you heard from Mike, he had his head down in the refrigeration space. That little project is stalled temporarily because the holding plate was just a fraction of an inch too large to fit in the space provided. So he had to send that back and the Cool Blue people are making one specifically for our space. Their customer service so far has been so good it has given us hope for the human race.
While he was working on that, he assigned me the sanding and painting of the top of the hard dodger, which I completed. Thank God he feels free to assign me tasks, a new and useful concept in our marriage. Otherwise I would stand helplessly just trying not to get in his way. Once the paint was dry enough, he installed our new solar panels from Renogy. They are lovely to behold but now the handholds for the dodger top will need repositioning. I’m sure he will get a post in about all of that in his spare time.
In yet another money-spree we’ve measured for a stack pack, which we are ordering from Jamie Gifford of Sailing with Totem fame. Jamie is a sail maker and he helps support his family of 5 aboard their boat S/V Totem by selling sails and sail covers. We are glad to throw business his way and hope he can help us out with other things in the future. We will both be thrilled to have a stack pack sail cover for our huge mainsail. While Galapagos has a full set of canvas, it’s a PITA to take the cover off and put it back on. We will be much more likely to use that mainsail on short excursions if we don’t have to wrestle that sail cover to the ground first. Plus, no storing it below. YAY!
So we are both busy with life. Every day I do my best to remain grateful for both the home we have and for the boat we have and the trip that is in our future. Every day I am amazed at Mike’s focus and how he works all day, then comes home and does other things. He will sleep for a month when this is over.
I do wish I could fast-forward to the place where we have adjusted to life aboard, don’t really miss our house, have said all the goodbyes that will break our hearts for awhile, and are excited about the adventure we are on. But since that is not possible, I just put one foot in front of the other, believing with all my heart that someday I will arrive at that destination.