Taking the Plunge

We have struggled with when and how to tell people about our new take on life and our subsequent path changing decisions. We’ve been through a bit of turmoil the past couple of  years with yet another untimely death in the family and transitions to new careers, a new location, etc. While we love Flagstaff and our new home, not everything panned out the way we thought it would. During this time of transition, we were forced to reflect on what we are doing with our lives and the fact that anyone, including ourselves, could be gone tomorrow. We want to spend time with our kids before it’s too late; before we know it they will be grown. We are taking this opportunity to eat Dessert First.

Up until this period of serious introspection and reflection, I was racing around like a crazy person trying to be “successful”. I had to be the best PhD student UT Austin ever saw! Looking back now, I realize this was unrealistic, but at the time, it did not keep me from trying! During this time Pat was deployed to Afghanistan, I had 2 children, Noah, age 4 and Grant, age 2. I literally worked day and night – the second the boys went to bed I was working until I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I was always exhausted – trying to be a star PhD student, single mom to 2 little boys who were angry their dad was gone and didn’t know how to express it, and wife of a deployed service member who was constantly in danger. I ended up with pneumonia. With no one to help me. But this is the life I had chosen. I saw no other options for success than to keep on truckin’. I would later take much pride in being able to pull off all of the “accomplishments” I had during this time. Was I happy? I was constantly stressed; worried I wasn’t doing enough to be competitive in the academic job market. I used much of my free time to work rather than spend it with family.

As we began a new life outside of the military and school, we still had the same mentality. The kids had to go to swim, soccer, t-ball, chess club, etc. to be successful. I had to go way above and beyond in every aspect of life, stretching the number of hours in a day to get everything done. We worked, cooked, cleaned, drove kids to activities, went to bed tired and did it all over again the next day. Yearning to travel, we saved for a trip we could take once a year if we were lucky. This is not the life we had dreamed of.

Don’t get me wrong – we love our children and take joy in being with them and providing for them, but we were once again racing to succeed. But what exactly is success? Completing my dissertation, Pat earning his Professional Engineering license and both of us finding civilian jobs as Pat was going to leave the Air Force so I could pursue my career. This of course, is what we were “supposed” to be doing. Success is building a career instead of simply having jobs. Success is making more money. Success is building our forever home. Success is the kids excelling in every aspect we conjured up for them. We were so far in the box, it didn’t even occur to us that it was possible to live outside of the box. The box was a part of who we were, it was safe, it was familiar. But that box became unfulfilling.

Our new plan is to live life fearlessly. We will not let the fear of the unknown, the fear of not being “successful”,  stop us from exploring, finding freedom and true happiness. Success is finding happiness and creating good stewards of the World with our children. Sailing the World sounds glamorous – the reality is it’s going to be hard work, but will provide endless bounty of reward. Here’s to jumping out of the box and into the waves. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us, on our boat, Dessert First.

Learning to sail!
Learning to sail!

12 thoughts on “Taking the Plunge”

  1. So excited for you all. Congratulations on doing what we all want to do but are too affraid to actually do!

    Best wishes!

  2. What a wonderful journey you are about to embark on. In my younger years I was the one on the move, traveling and exploring. I managed to do this for 4-6 weeks a year starting when my kids were 6 and 10, and later brought them with me on a few of my sojourns. I was the mom trailblazer and now they are both world travelers while I stick closer to home with the 3 doggies. I know your journey is different; however, the spirit of adventure should be nurtured and how wonderful you are doing this as a family. I am sure it will include both up and downsides, as both are unavoidable; however, I for one am happy to ride along via blogging and share this amazing leap of faith with you.

    1. Yes, traveling is so important. I hope I’m instilling the same in my kids that you were able to in yours.

  3. Godspeed on your journey! May you find what others so wish they had but do not have the courage to seek. It is scary to jump out of the box and into the boat, but you guys will make this work and find the happiness and peace you long for after so many changes in your lives! We love you and will follow your story as it unfolds!
    Stacey and Miguel

    1. Thank you so much for your support Stacey and Miguel! You guys are the best and we certainly want you to come visit us on the boat!

    1. Thank you so much, Mindie. It has been a transformative year indeed, and I expect the coming years to be the same (just hopefully not as painful)! 🙂

  4. I am so thrilled for your journey that lies ahead. No doubt you will find many encounters of joy and fulfillment along the way… and what a cool experience for your kids! I am excited to follow along through your blog and hope to meet up with you at some point. You certainly are one of the most fearless people I know and are a continual inspiration to me! Much love and joy to your family!

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