The United States of America has enjoyed stable government and a position as a world leader for much of its history. I believe it is our commitment to our founding principles that is the reason for this stability and success. Ideas like freedom, justice, equality, duty, and hard work act like a compass that keeps us pointed toward our goals of a bright future. When individuals live their lives based on a set of principles, they aren’t distracted by people and things that stand in their way. For the past two years, Laura and I have lived by a set of principles.
In early 2013, we made a decision to go on an adventure. We didn’t have a lot of details and we definitely had more questions than answers, but we knew we were going. Something was different this time. We’ve had plenty of ideas over the years of places to go and things to do that didn’t pan out. Life happens I guess. We’ve been meaning to travel to Bozeman, Montana to see friends that have lived there for years now and still haven’t made it. We had friends in West Virginia that certainly deserved a visit or two and it never happened (they live in SC now). Our house would have a paved driveway to the front-door, a garage building large enough to store a boat, and a metal roof on it if we saw all of our ideas to completion. But other things come up. Time is precious and spending money has to be prioritized. As it turns out, it was these very two issues that gave our decision to go sailing with our two girls so much conviction. Time IS precious. Especially time with two children while they are still young. Do we want to look back on their early years and realize they spent a majority of those years at day care while we worked? And what about money? Can we find a way to spend money on true priorities? Cable TV and cell phone plans certainly aren’t it. Neither is eating-out and buying “stuff.” We wanted to put money to use that would help to secure as much precious time with our young girls as possible.
These topics, and several others, became our guiding light. Very soon, we wrote down a list of these reasons, core beliefs if you will, for deciding to make a drastic change to our lifestyle. These core beliefs serve as a constant reminder of why we are doing what we’re doing. They help keep us convinced that we are doing the right thing for us.
There are challenges to our plan almost weekly. Doubt comes creeping in. And we haven’t even revealed our intentions to our families yet. Will they be supportive or will their opinions become another obstacle to our commitment to this sailing adventure?
Thankfully, all I ever need is to pick up our sailing journal, reread our list, and all of the distractions fade away. All of my doubts seem trivial. So without further ado, here is our list of core beliefs that motivate us toward achieving our goal of sailing away with our two children in the Summer of 2016 just as they were handwritten in our journal.
1. The future is not promised to us. (Libby’s greatest lesson to us.)*
2. We only get one life on this Earth. In the end, what do we want our story to be?
3. To have time with Avery and Leslie. Too many early mornings rushing out of the house to leave them with someone else all day. This is tragically sad, heartbreaking for both of us, and doesn’t make any sense.
4. People don’t take action for fear of losing material possessions. Terrible reasoning. We don’t need THINGS. If we are healthy, able-bodied, resourceful people, we can take care of ourselves and what’s important.
5. As a challenge to ourselves. How little can we live on? How small of a space? What budget? With what skills?
6. To live a life of purpose. Modern American life has been made so easy for us that you can very easily be made weak and lazy because of it. Our survival each day will depend on how we spend our time, what skills we use, and what decisions we make. There will be no room for laziness. Instead, we will be forced to be adaptable and problem-solvers.
7. We love boats, boating, the water, the boating diet, traveling, not going to a job every day, and…….some laziness.
8. To teach our daughters to chase their dreams, to not be bratty and consumed by material things, and to help them see some of the world outside their hometown.
So there it is, the original list. Our core beliefs behind a major life decision of ours. What principles guide your life?
*Libby is Laura’s mother who died in 2008 from pancreatic cancer.