At the risk of going along with the obvious theme for the week, I’m just going to go with the obvious theme for the week and say Happy Thanksgiving!
One year for Thanksgiving when Dan and I were dating, we rode with his parents and brothers to my mother-in-law’s (Shelly) family event at her mom’s house about half an hour from Dan’s parents’. On the way there, Shelly asked everyone to go around and say what they were thankful for. Being the adolescent boys that they were, Kyle and Alex (Dan’s younger brothers) immediately started complaining about how they were tired of having to do this every year, it was so overdone, and they just were not going to cooperate. And so, she didn’t make them say what they were thankful for, but I could tell that they had really hurt her feelings by not participating in her tradition.
I would guess that the majority of American families have their own little traditions that make the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays unique to themselves, and most families will have to face the day when those traditions are challenged. Sometimes this comes from challenging children, busy schedules, or adding new members to the family, but when it happens it is always a little disappointing for someone.
This year is the first year that we won’t be spending Thanksgiving with any of our grandparents due to family schedules and it is may also be the last Thanksgiving that we live within easy holiday travel. If our plans continue moving forward, Dan and I will be in Florida next year, preparing our new home for traversing ocean passages. Not exactly the tradition we are used to. Because of that, I’m trying to do a little extra savoring of the season this year. Being a little more gracious with our family differences, and a little more thankful for the time we have left.
Dan recently took this photo while on his day off with Carter
Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a leadership seminar through my department at work. There were many excellent points discusses throughout the entire course of the seminar, but the portion on change is what really hit a chord with me. Hmm, I wonder why? The speaker, Chuck Stoner*, spoke specifically about the fact that every change in life comes with a sense of loss and grieving, even when the change is something positive that we are looking forward to.
When change comes, there is always a different path that will never be available to us again. Dan and I are currently standing in that divergence of choices and the other paths that we will be walking away from are so clear to me I can almost physically see them. I can see Carter at his first day of kindergarten, baseball game, and a host of other things that every mom cherishes and it does fill me with a sense of longing for that path. I can see that our grandparents are getting older and know in my heart that there is a very real possibility that being gone for 5-10 years or more means we might not get to see them again before they die. We may miss births of nieces and nephews, friends’ weddings, and a lot more events that we can never get back once they are over. We will be moving away from Dan’s very close-knit family that we spend time with multiple days a week.
All of these things and more impose a real weight to the decisions that we are making. They give more value to the good life that we are leaving behind to follow our dream of cruising. Does that mean that we will regret the choice to leave? I don’t think so. The excitement of moving forward and doing something new is far too great for us to look back wistfully for very long. But it does make me appreciate the time we have left a little more.
Follow your Dreams. Follow the Horizon.
*Dr. Charles Stoner and his speaking partner Tom Bower gave one of the best seminars I have ever attended. If you ever have a chance to go to one, I would highly recommend it. Also, you can find some of Chuck’s books on business and leadership here.
I realized a few days ago that it has been a year since Michele and I first talked about cruising. Looking back, I’m amazed at how much we have been able to accomplish in that time. It also puts into perspective what we have ahead of us. Up to now, much of what we have accomplished has been intangible. We’ve learned how to sail (we’ll never be experts), rid ourselves of tens of thousands of dollars of debt, and many other things, big and small, to prepare ourselves for the cruising life. Now, however, we stand at a precipice… where our preparations will transition from intangible and easily reversible to life changing. A few minor touch-ups notwithstanding, our house is ready for us to put it up for sale. I’ve had several successful interviews in Florida as well as locally (more money). Basically, things are starting to get real. Really real.
Both of our LASIK procedures went wonderfully and we can see 20/15 now. The clarity of our vision is amazing. Unexpectedly, the change in physical vision prompted me to take stock of our preparations, goals, and dreams. Now, more than ever, we are committing to following the dream. Sure, it’s scary at times… but its extremely fulfilling living life intentionally. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Follow your dreams. Follow the Horizon.
P.S. We’re done with the cheesie eye related post titles… sorry we put you through that.