Monday, August 27, 2012

Stuff - Part 1

OK, yes, I know... I'm busy making plans. Ha. Remember, this is an alternative to the "deferred life plan," as I think Tim Ferriss calls it.

First order of business in preparing for our 'around the world cruise' is getting rid of the clutter that's holding us back...

Now, I don't care how much "stuff" anyone else has. Hoarders are weird, but there is definite evidence of bigger (mental?) issues involved there. I don't begrudge anyone their iThingies or anything like that. It isn't political and it isn't environmental. Eat all the pie, smoke all the cigs and collect all the what-nots you want. For me, personally, I get frustrated by the mess.

I'm no minimalist, by any stretch, and I don't have time to be very organized... if you looked around, you would say I'm full of crap. You'd be partly right. My house is full of crap, my desk is full of crap. There are lots of memories and nice things, too... and I have a weakness for anything made by hand.

My frustration is with organizing the stuff and keeping it so I can find things when I need to... without having to move piles of other stuff. It is my lack of control over the stuff and the lack of knowing what to do with most of it... you know, in the 15 minutes I have, most days, after walking the dogs at lunch before heading back to the office, and the other 15 minutes I have, most days, after the baby goes to sleep and before I crash.

Part of my problem is the "gonna have to have/need it" that has a couple of sources:

The Great Depression.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents who grew up in the 19-teens and '20s. They were farmers who worked hard and didn't have a lot extra. I loved them immensely and miss them terribly. Their property had several outbuildings in which you could find all manner of parts and pieces to things... they had the room and it wasn't a bad idea to keep it around. They put up food for the winter. All good habits, until you apply them to the trappings of a more modern life and then things tend to get out of hand.

The trappings of modern life and enough financial freedom to hang myself.
Going to college, getting a little autonomy, getting a credit card, getting part-time jobs... having free time and no real way to spend it other than going to the mall with friends. I'm very fortunate to have never run up crazy credit card debt. Meeting DH sophomore year probably helped, because I had also stopped hanging out with some serious shopaholics and he hates to shop. I'm almost equally fortunate for being just as (if not more) interested in the 'deal' than the label... but those deals still add up. If not on the monthly statement, they add up in the closet. Clothing is self-expression and I'm cool with that. Maybe I just need to figure out exactly who/what it is I'm expressing. LOL

(Updated after sleeping on it) Gift Guilt.
I think this related to 'the trappings,' but is different enough of an issue to deserve its own heading. I think a lot of the stuff I have trouble giving up is gifts I've received. They're modern life-related because it is knick-knacky stuff, mostly. Candles, pottery, and other things that people give you when they a.) find out you like that sort of thing or have several items already, or b.) don't know what else to get you (especially if you are a girl). Nothing is wrong with these gifts, it is truly the thought that counts. I think, though, that if you are not the kind of person to ever burn a candle that smells of fir trees or do anything other than dust a pair of votive holders in the shape of squirrels... maybe they need to find a home with someone who will enjoy them more.

Part 2 will be me trying to come up with ways to evaluate what to toss and then how to toss it... I've never used ebay, but I had an idea to reactivate my etsy account and maybe try to sell some things that way.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Setting a Course

John Lennon sang, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Maybe it isn't the most profound statement, but it's one that I like. I try to live in the moment, try to not get dragged down by the past and try not to get too distracted by what lies around the corner. Sure, I think about the future... especially now that I'm a mom, although kids definitely force you to live in the moment, because everything changes SO quickly. I just feel like life is too short to spend so much time planning and preparing that you either forget what it is you're planning and preparing for... or you just never get "prepared" and miss out on that thing and every other opportunity that you passed up in the meantime.

That's a lot of BS to get around to saying that DH and I have decided to set (or change) a course... we're not waiting until we're 65 to go on adventures. I mean, we've had lots of little adventures in the almost 15 years since we first met, but we're not going to wait for "retirement" to really go out on a limb. Yes, we have a 17-month-old and we'll have another baby before the end of the year, but we've never thought we had to wait 18 years to do anything "fun" again, either.

We haven't figured out exactly what or exactly how, but we've got some pretty interesting and compelling examples in folks like Brad and Sheena and Pat and Ali Schulte.

It all started when our buddy in Portland sent DH a link to a guy who is driving the Pan Am Highway with his girlfriend in an old Toyota Forerunner... that led him to Drive Nacho Drive which then led him to Bumfuzzle. He sent me the link where Brad and Sheena met up with the Schultes and I read from there... and climbed right on board (yeah, pun intended). The sailboat is compelling, the life in Mexico maybe even more-so since our PDX buddy competes in the SCORE races on the peninsula and has begged us to come for years. Doing all of it with kids is what is most interesting to us. Our daughter is 17 months old and will be about 20 months when the new baby arrives, just like the Schulte kids.

We've been on lots of road trips in the almost-15 years since we started dating, camping out of a 1990 Ford Bronco, sometimes with my brother tagging along, lots of times with one or two dogs tagging along, not to mention following along with our friends and all camping out together and helping each other through mechanical failures and other mishaps. We've driven from the east coast to Colorado and Utah and we've roughed it on the Rubicon Trail. We've done a lot of backpacking, even. We've done 'nicer' trips to Key West and San Francisco (if you can call youth hostels nice)... Now we have a jeep and still get in lots of long weekend practice runs... but we miss the longer (although only really 2 weeks or so) trips.

We think it will be like a mini-retirement. We're setting our 'start' date about 5 years (+/- 2) out, to give us time to figure some things out... and then we figure the duration will be 1-5 years. I guess it all depends, we're ok with that. We just like the option to change course and not be stuck anywhere doing anything. I think we've both been feeling a little "stuck", professionally, for a while and this has been a bit of a light bulb moment... not only can we get out of a rut, we can rid ourselves of the clutter and BS that drags you into them in the first place.

I've never sold anything on ebay, but I'm finding things I think will sell, along with things to offload to charities or friends (can you say way too much pink and purple baby/kid clothes?).

So, tell me your best adventure story, tell me how to best photograph stuff to sell on ebay, tell me I'm insane. Whatever. ;) I think, sometimes, you just gotta take chances.