Tico Tuesday: If Not Now, When?
When I was two years old, my parents took me to France to live for a year while my dad did his fellowship. My mom and dad have many fond memories of this time and I also have a couple. If there were a family memory book, that year would fill a significant section.
I always imagined that when I had my only family, I would live abroad with them for a period of time. When Derek and I went on our honeymoon, we fell in love with Costa Rica, a peace-loving, warm population in a physically beautiful land with many ecological treasures and micro-climates. We visited a couple more times since then, each time envisioning ourselves living there for an extended period of time. We visited the school closest to our favourite town, we checked out some real estate, and we investigated the internet coverage.
Our children are getting older and as they get older, taking them out of their Canadian school with the intent to bring them back will become more difficult. So, as we planned a longer one month vacation for this winter with a plan to go for a year in the future, we looked at each other and said, “WHY NOT NOW?”, and really, if not now, when?
I have heard different reactions to our choice to travel, from “How?” to “I’m jealous”, to “I don’t even like to travel out of Ontario”, to “You guys are unconventional” to “Are they asking for people?” (that last one from my paternal grandmother, imagining the call for people to cultivate the land in pioneer days).
We have arranged our lifestyle so that our work life is as flexible as possible. We have taken (very calculated) risks, made tough choices and made certain sacrifices to design this life for ourselves. It would take many many blog posts to describe this path (I’m actually considering it in a separate blog). But here we are.
There are certain things that society expects from us, and sometimes our peer group as well. I sometimes find myself embarrassed to tell people that I don’t love my day-to-day work (it’s tolerable), but that having to do it for only a couple of hours a day from just about anywhere in the world, makes it worthwhile. I also derive satisfaction from watching the business grow, setting goals, watching our ideas (mostly Derek’s) thrive or fail and working as a team, knowing that as a family, we have designed a life for ourselves via this (these) business(es).
It is common for people to define themselves by their work, but we (Derek and I) define ourselves by our lifestyle and life experiences. Our children are not obstacles to those experiences, but they are part of the reason we gather them. We truly believe their lives will be richer for it.
I often find myself apologizing for my work being below my education level and work experience. It is not what people expect from me. When I explain our business to people, I see eyes glaze over. The business is not going to change the world, and the day-to-day tasks are mundane, but the fruits of it give us the freedom to pursue our dreams… and those dreams are limitless.