When I tell someone about our plans, the first response I invariably receive is, “4 1/2 months? Is it just for fun?!”
It feels spoiled to respond that it is “just for fun.” And, to be honest, as I plan this, it doesn’t always feel like fun. And being on top of one another for 4 1/2 months actually doesn’t always sound “fun.”
Especially because we are a family of 2 strong extroverts and 2 strong introverts.
And one of us is a pre-adolescent who makes it known that she doesn’t always want her parents around. (It doesn’t help that she is one of the introverts.)
And one of us has been known to get EXTREMELY “hangry,” as her best friend puts it, when not fed on regular intervals. (It doesn’t help that she is one of the extroverts so she doesn’t even realize she needs to isolate herself during those times. She would simply prefer to be starving, annoyed and annoying to those around her.)
So, often I respond with something like, “Yes, it is something we have always wanted to do, and we’re fortunate enough to do it. Our goal is to come home still married with the family intact and speaking to one another.”
I can’t quite figure out why I usually say that. Am I embarrassed by what we are doing? Am I deep-down terrified that we might really struggle with each other? Am I acting like my dear friend “Worst-Case Scenario Molly” just to be prepared for it if it does happen?
But then I think about the fact that this isn’t something we’re doing on a whim. We started talking about this 13 years ago. At that time, we decided that instead of retiring early, we wanted to take a break or maybe even two during our working years and enjoy our experiences as a family while we still can.
Some of this stems from my past job with Intrav, Inc. where I led groups of luxury travelers all over the world. So many of them, by the time they had the money, but mostly the TIME to travel, it was too late for them to fully enjoy it.
Some of it stems from Hubs growing up in the family of a professor where 4 and 7-month sabbaticals were a real possibility. Sabbaticals that still come up regularly in conversations 30 years later and result in family laughter and joy even when discussing the challenging times.
And some of it stems from losing friends way too young and realizing that life is never a guarantee.
So, after 10 years of saving and about 2 years of planning, we’re doing it. And I need to be ok with that and know that our reasons are solid and that we are making sacrifices to make it happen. And, that we will probably be an even stronger family at the end because of it.
Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about for us — Carper Diem. Because life is too short to let it pass you by. (And a HUGE thank you to Deborah for the blog title!)