How Adventurous Are You?

We’re fairly adventurous folks over here.  How about you?

Let’s start with how we met.  We met on an old school chat room through a mutual friend.  I’m talking Unix, not Windows.    ICB, to be specific.  Our mutual friend wanted to set us up and neither of us was interested, so we compromised and exchanged screen names through this friend and promised to strike up conversation if we saw each other.  A week later….well, here we are  21 years later.

My family lived in one state and his in another, so we decided a destination wedding was in order…Las Vegas here we come!  We didn’t elope, we planned a real wedding at a Las Vegas hotel and had about 60 guests.  It was perfect in every way.  Unconventional?   Well, guess we should’ve seen it coming.  But wait, there’s more!

We’re in college, living on the cheap and we love the outdoors, so a road trip honeymoon is in order.  We ultimately spent a week car camping on Vancouver Island, BC.  Our first night, we met a group of older, retired gentlemen that were on their annual camping trip.  That first night we ate a fish fillet, whole fish and a Dungeness crab for dinner, all provided by our new friends.  We had picked up some libations on the duty free boat, so we brought that to the campfire and all enjoyed.  Later, during the week I learned how to fly fish!

When we finished college and decided it was time for a change in scenery.  Hubby looked for grad school options….Syracuse?   Denver?  Austin?  Winston Salem?   Well, North Carolina won and we packed up a U-Haul with all our belongings (including two cats) and drove across the country to our new, temporary home.   We didn’t have a place to live, we didn’t have jobs, we had never even visited before hand.  Just packed and went.  An adventure of a lifetime that I’d recommend of any young person, but I don’t plan to do it again….or do we?  Our plan was 3-5 years, its been 14+ years now.

After our first little one was born, or maybe more like 18 months later, we were ready for a vacation.   So, we decided to take a road trip, part camping and part hoteling.  I suggested Niagara Falls, Matt didn’t think our little one could make it.  We decided we’d meander around Ohio Amish country instead.   But, no real plans.

So we drove north and then decided we needed to stop at Cabela’s in West Virginia.  Then after dinner I said, we’re not far from Pittsburgh, how but we drive out there?   So we did.  Then we got turned around as we were trying to make it up to the great lakes and every hotel was booked.  Eventually we got up to Erie to check out a campground we saw on the map… go.  It was super crowded and the sites were on top of each other.  So we headed into New York, Brocton area and found a gorgeous state park, Lake Erie State Park….highly recommend it.

After a couple days we headed back towards Ohio…or at least, we intendeIMG_0118d to, but we ended up on a toll road going towards, non other…Niagara Falls.  It was fate!!!  After a day there, we meandered south through the middle of NY and Pennsylvania, stopped in Hershey along the way.

All of these trips were pre cell phones and pre GPS….good old fashion map reading, which often means you have to have patience and a level of comfort making U-turns.  These events in our lives are some of the most memorable, partly because they were the more spontaneous ones.  Life is short, embrace it, love it, live it!   What you need is pretty minimal in the long run.

A Dreamy Future in the Past

We’ve likely all had the 5th grade writing assignment “What is your life-like in 20 years?”  Well, I’m way past that 20 year mark and looking back, it didn’t come to fruition.  Was it suppose to?

When I was an 11-year-old girl in the ’80’s, I thought I’d be the first female President of the United States of America or play professional baseball, on a men’s team of course.  I thought I’d be an author and have 6 kids, adopted.  Back then, I feared the pain of childbirth and wanted to adopt all 6.

When in college, a few changes.  I wasn’tinterested in baseball anymore, but golf….maybe…except I had to work during college so there wasn’t much time for golf.  I dabbled in student government, I just may dabble more in the future with local stuff.  I decided I only wanted 4 kids and I wanted to stay home and home school them.  I got a minor in education so that I might be best prepared.

Well, the path we live isn’t straight or flat.  And that’s okay, having a road map is still important, but understanding that it will change is important too.  Every year, I write out my goals in the form of past tense statements, as if they’ve already occurred.  I have at least one goal for each of the following categories:

  • Finance
  • Health
  • Family Relationships
  • Career

Most years the goals are pretty similar, nothing earth shattering or life altering.  Lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt,stop yelling at the kids, work on a special project at work.  Pretty much ho-hum floating down a river, going fast, but enjoying the ride.  Then, class V rapids appear out of no where!river

What’s one to do?  Hold your breath, find a spot on the horizon and focus on it.  Panic will ensue, sure.  But if you can remain strong and rationale, the rapids will subside.

Last summer I was presented with the likelihood that a restructure was going to happen and that I’d be out a job.  I’m the main bread-winner, how is this going to work?  What do I do?  After a couple of months of emotional anguish, I took a deep breath and repeated that 5th grade assignment.  “What do I want retirement to look like?  When do I want to retire?”  It was time to make a new plan and start building a road map.  An opportunity to get out of this river and find another one.

Lessons learned?  Build a Plan.  Work the Plan.  Reassess the Plan.  Repeat often.