This week I’ve been reviewing my progress against the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the month (“All or Nothing” 7/26/2018). I’ll publish the results on 9/02, but suffice it to say I did not achieve perfection. Unless, that is, you consider making steady progress to be perfection.
At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, changing your established patterns of behavior and thinking is flippin’ hard!
Intellectually, I knew this when I started.
And you know it, too.
And still I was surprised by the real and imagined barriers I faced in the pursuit of my new fitness, diet, and biking goals. Each day I had to navigate an obstacle course of “I SHOULD’s” and “I MUST’s”:
I SHOULD spend time with my daughter before she leaves for college. I SHOULD take the dog for a walk. I SHOULD help pick up around the house. I SHOULD mow and trim the grass.
Or, that one unexpectedly cool morning when I planned to get in a bike ride before work…but Boone decided it would be fun to “play” with a skunk!
We MUST rid the dog and house of this foul stench!!! ARGHHH
You get the picture. As the saying goes, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Despite all my passion and motivation, the “home, family, and work life” that my wife and I had spent years building and nurturing for ourselves is clearly the single biggest roadblock on the path to the future we envision. And for anyone wondering, my Epic Escapade is just one element of that future. We have both individual and family goals that we are working towards.
Somethings Gotta Give
On the surface, it seems easy to conclude that the problem is a lack of time. But we all have the same 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, 52 weeks in a year that everyone else has. So, why is it that some people realize their goals and others do not?
The simple answer: choices. People who define the life they want and achieve usually do so by actively setting targets and then making the choices that lead them there. I don’t mean to suggest that all decisions are equal in difficulty…they are not. But I do believe that intentional and deliberate choices are required to reach stretch goals. And frankly, I’d been avoiding making some tough ones.
Instead, my approach has involved a lot of denial and avoidance. I didn’t plan or schedule the times when I would work on my goals because I already knew intuitively that I had no time. Instead I simply slept less. I was able to do so because I was so excited. But as with anything, excitement fades.
Mine was not a sustainable approach.
In order for me to reach the goals and outcomes I desired, I needed to prioritize my time. I needed to decide what I was willing to let go of. And the first thing to go: yardwork.
Many of you are probably thinking, “Duh, that’s an easy one!” But I can tell you it was not. At least not for me. The few times I’ve hired landscaping companies while out of town for vacation, etc I have always been disappointed. But I had to ask myself what I valued–freeing time to pursue my Epic Escapade or making sure the grass was the right length and shade of green. For the first time as a home owner, I allowed myself to stop caring about the yard.
And guess what?
I didn’t miss it at all!
Oh the luxury of simply not caring enough to do anything more than write a check!!! Is it perfect? No. In fact, the yard looks just as bad as I had anticipated. But in the big picture, it just doesn’t matter. Not to me. Not anymore.
The new freedom felt so good that Sue and I immediately started to brainstorm other recurring tasks that we could “outsource”? An obvious one to consider was house cleaning.
It went on the list.
Hmmmm, home repair and upkeep offered many potential time savings. The house needs painting, but there is too much for two people to do in a timely fashion.
Added to the list.
And the maple tree in the front yard died this last winter and needs to be taken down.
Added to the list.
Oh, the oaks on the corner have limbs drooping on the garage.
Added to the list.
Landscaping rock and mulch needs refreshed.
Added to the list.
And the list grew. Old bushes that should be removed. Fireplaces that needed cleaned. Laundry room grout to be scrubbed.
We tallied the cost required to buy back our time. The total shocked us. It was more than a lot.
And then I considering the tens of thousands of dollars in travel and gear expenses that would be needed to complete my Epic Escapade over the next few years.
Any euphoria I had initially felt quickly faded as the financial reality set in.
I just didn’t see a way we could afford to do everything.
And then I remembered something I had heard from Paula Pant of AffordAnything.com during the 2018 World Domination Summit in Portland, OR this summer.
You Can Afford Anything…but not everything. What’s it gonna be?
BTW, if you haven’t discovered Paula, do yourself a favor and get over to the AffordAnything.com blog or her podcast of the same name. She’s living the location independence dream and shares how she is able to do so through the income she generates through her real estate portfolio along with blog and podcast income. She transparently shares not only her experiences and techniques, but also the income that these side hustles generate for her.
So, what is it gonna be?
A quick scan down our list was all it took for us to quickly identify what has been robbing us of our time and money. The thief is none other than HOME MAINTENANCE.
Over the years, we’ve rationalized the work as protecting our investment. And there have been times we’ve actually enjoyed seeing the results of our labor and the sense of accomplishment. But the simple truth is that the work and costs associated with home ownership are cyclical and never end. And the larger your home, the more you are going to spend in both categories.
So we have made a tough choice. Instead of continuing to allocate our precious and limited resources to the maintenance of our home, we (yes the wife is onboard…WAY ONBOARD) are choosing to allow this quixotic quest to direct our actions and next steps.
And to that end
We will be selling our home and dramatically downsizing in order to free up the time and spare cash needed to pursue the Epic Escapade!
Plans are still being developed. Where will we live? Don’t know. Will we be buying or renting? Don’t know. Will we be living in our RV? Umm, not until we’re free to chase 70 degree temps and avoid Missouri’s winters, summers, and tornado season.
Until next time, follow our Epic Escapade to see how we approach downsizing and what comes next.
Think we’re crazy? Let us know in the comments below.