The older you get, the more you realise how happenstance… has helped to determine your path through life —Rowan Atkinson
The past few weeks have produced a larger amount of combined change, loss, and turmoil than I could have predicted. I’ve had to sit down and reflect on the past few years, sort of absorb it along wit
h the other changes I’ve experienced, and figure out what it all means, if anything.
When we started planning our family adventure around October of 2013 we set our goal to be on a boat for an extended cruise by Summer of 2018 — a little under 5 years. Shortly after we set that plan in motion, and having learned a bit more about the weather patterns governing offshore passages in various parts of the world, we actually pulled that date in to late summer of 2017 — just under 4 years to plan, save, and prepare. As time went on we adjusted our plans based on things that we knew we wanted to do (Cruising Southeast Alaska for example) which eventually fine tuned our GTFO date to June 2017.
All the while, since our initial 2013 decision, I’ve been concerned about how our absence would put us at risk of being away when we’d typically want to be close by. Specifically my grandparents were getting older and I was worried something would happen to them while I was away. And I worried about my dad being alone, without an ability to visit with his grandkids or us, while we were away, and of course our kids not being able to see him or my grandparents before they passed on.
Well, the universe has seemingly handled these concerns in its own way, for better or worse…
- In mid-2014, a little less than one year after we started planning our trip, my grandmother passed away suddenly due to complications related to dementia.
- In January of 2015, my father passed away suddenly due to an apparent heart attack (likely due to a lifetime of smoking and untreated apnea.)
- And then on January 3rd, my grandfather, who back on Dec 19th had fallen in his home and shattered a vertebrae, passed away in the hospital.
To me, these series of losses seems immense and too closely spaced in time. Before 2014, I was a career IT professional with bills to pay, new houses to dream about, family vacations to plan in limited time, and aging grandparents to worry about. 39 months later I have lost the last of my grandparents as well as my dad, eschewed the work-till-you-retire mantra, bought a boat, saved money, with a plan to significantly alter the future of my 20-year IT career. And I’m not even 40 yet. The loss of close family is a major loss no matter how you cut it–it’s a shock to the system and it affects me daily. But it also relieves some stress I held about leaving for an extended period of time, as the very same family members I worried about leaving, have in essence left me (not on purpose by any means).
And the change continues…
Just a couple of weeks ago I posted about how many planned changes will be coming in the next four months.. Well for one of those changes, the time came much earlier than I had planned/expected. I received a call on the 18th (just 6 days after my last post) during which I was informed by my employer that my position has been eliminated, effective immediately. So I am unemployed now. I really couldn’t believe it when I heard it and I was in shock for a couple of days. The silver lining here is that I am now free to do what I want to do. I can work in earnest on the many projects I have for the boat as well as around the house. In a few months, I think I will look back and be able to say that being laid off was the best thing that could have happened at this time. This is the second (and probably the last) major event related to my employment in the last 5 months that has (or will) likely helped me more than it hurt.
In September, my company’s acquisition by another was completed, which forwarded vested restricted stock grants I was unlikely to have received otherwise. This lay off will likely include some severance package and possibly forward vest additional bonuses I was similarly unlikely to receive otherwise. The timing is impeccable really. The Universe has spoken, it’s time!
So, what to do now…
Well, I have been volunteering behind the scenes with the Coho Ho Ho Cruising Rally, and now I can spend more time with that, time which has already resulted in the completion of an entirely new website. I will also be helping out at the Seattle Boat Show in conjunction with the Coho Ho Ho this month, since I have the time. Our boat has a Northern Lights generator on board and I’d been wanting to take the 2-day maintenance class put on by the manufacturer each year here in Seattle, so I signed up for that. And I’d been working on the logistics to try to get my U.S. Coast Guard Captains license sometime in the next year or so. Now that I’m unemployed, I’m taking the classes and tests next month, probably toward getting the 100 Ton Masters License and Aux Sail endorsement.
So that takes care of the rest of January and most of February. After that I’ll be heads down into house and boat projects. Oh, and Devon and I are still developing our Business/IT Consulting business (Skepsis Technologies, LLC) which provides web development/hosting, cloud services, cloud software, and bookkeeping services to small businesses looking to simply their operations and manage their business from anywhere in the world. Since I had the time to focus on it, I am now a Xero Certified Advisor.
All of this due to happenstance, I literally couldn’t have (and wouldn’t have) planned it this way.