A Dream Deferred

08 August 2011 · 8 comments

It’s been a long time since I posted an update at Foldedspace, but as usual that’s not because I’ve been a slacker; it’s because I’ve been extremely busy.

As most of you know, I came away from the World Domination Summit in early June burning to make fundamental changes in my life. I wanted to move to a smaller house. I wanted to travel more. I wanted to write about things other than money. And, in an ideal world, I wanted to make these changes sooner rather than later.

I’m still burning to make these changes, but they’re happening more slowly than I’d hoped and anticipated. Real Life has put on the brakes. Over the past two months, i’ve been:

  • Working, as usual. I’ve been writing at my personal finance blog, of course, but I’ve also been doing my monthly column for Entrepreneur magazine and my new twice-weekly contributions for Moneyland, Time magazine’s new money blog. Plus, I’ve given interviews, met with colleagues and readers, answered email, and more. Basically, despite my best efforts to relax, I’m working just as much as always. (Don’t forget that I’m also trying to write two new blogs: a travel blog and a blog about awesome people.
  • Traveling — though not as far as I’d hoped. I flew to Denver and Seattle for business, drove to Canada for a vacation with Kris’ family, and then flew to Indianapolis to attend a gaming convention with friends.
  • Helping to take care of Mom. In June, Mom had another acute mental health crisis. For the past six weeks, the family has been working together to find the best solution for her (and for us). I’ve been squeezing my responsibilities around conferences and work, but it’s tough to rationalize spending five or six weeks in far away places, leaving everyone else to take care of the situation.
  • Trying to get my house in order — literally. Before I begin extensive travel, I want to make sure things around Rosings Park are running smoothly. To that end, we brought in a landscaper to take care of all the yardwork I’ve been neglecting while writing instead. We’re hiring a roofer to repair the leaking roof. And, perhaps most importantly, I’m going to purge the rest of the Stuff that’s been hanging around in storage.

Over the past two months, I’ve been trying hard to do all of these things so that I can take off and travel for several weeks at a time. I had hoped I’d be ready to fly to England to hike Hadrian’s wall this month. In fact, before we understood the extent of Mom’s health problems (and before the leaky roof on our house), I had purchased a ticket to fly from Indianapolis to London today. But I’m not on a flight to London; I’m on a flight to Phoenix, from which I’ll catch a connection to Portland. I’m coming home to spend eight more weeks tying up loose ends before heading out on my own.

There are some other consequences to my busy-ness. After reaching my goal weight at the end of June, I’ve gained weight over the past month, and not in a good way. I’ve been stress eating. During my travels, I’ve been eating poor-quality food. I’ve had very little exercise. As a result, I’ve gained five pounds. It’s only five pounds, but I feel like a whale. I’m not worried, though: In the eight weeks I have at home, I’m going to focus on fitness.

Another consequence of my hectic lifestyle is that I haven’t been able to write as much as I want for pleasure. That means few updates here, and few updates at my new blogs — the blogs I really want to be writing at.

It would be easy to get discouraged by the lack of progress toward my goals, but actually I’m in good spirits. I’m having fun. And although I haven’t managed to make it to England or Ecuador yet, I know I’ll travel soon. I have the money, the time, and the inclination. Besides, it’s possible (probable, even) that by delaying my adventures for another two months, I’ll actually be better able to enjoy them. If I know Mom’s doing well, that the house is in good shape, and that my writing jobs are complete, I’ll have less weighing on my mind.

To that end, I plan to spend the next eight weeks working diligently to prepare for my departure. I’m going to focus on fitness, write lots, finish fixing up the house, and spend my spare time with Spanish. Then, in October, I can jet off to Ecuador or Argentina or Peru without a care in the world. I look forward to it!

1 Bruce August 8, 2011 at 11:32

I’ve spent a few years of my life traveling and another few years living out of hotels. I’ve found the only way to maintain fitness (at least a base level) and to keep from cycling between periods or lots of exercise and periods of none is to dedicate at least 20 minutes minimum a day to it no matter what. And certainly if I can squeeze in more time than that great. But, otherwise it becomes I’ll exercise tomorrow or the day after tomorrow and it just doesn’t happen.

I do the same with work, family, friends, personal goals as well. 20 minutes a day for each as a bare minimum as well.

2 Claudia Gates August 8, 2011 at 12:59

I am impress that you are constantly setting personal goals in your life, and that you are doing the things needed to reach those goals. You are amazing. I’m sorry that I contributed to your weight gain in Canada, by sharing a box of Hot Tamales with you. I wish you well on all that you hope to achieve.

3 Suzanne August 13, 2011 at 08:37

I’m so proud of you!

Life does get in the way of our grand plans sometimes. You’ve handled the sidetracks/setbacks well and even used them as inspiration to enjoy your future adventures even more.

I admit, the part about you beginning to work on “purging the rest of the Stuff that’s been hanging around in storage” is my favorite of all! It is an amazingly freeing feeling to let go of clutter…and for you, and your desires (smaller house, more time & resources for traveling, etc.) it will serve you well.

TODAY choose one thing…tomorrow one more…and on and on. Decluttering doesn’t have to be “a project” or something to set time aside for; it just has to be started. To me, decluttering is about A CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE OR ATTITUDE more than a project that gets crossed off a “to do” list.

Decluttering doesn’t end. We all buy. We all consume. And we all have the potential of letting clutter in the door or keeping it here when we get more stuff. Pretty much, we all have to decide what stays and what goes, because there is always more clutter trying to make its way into your space and into your mind.

Good luck on your upcoming life-changing events!

4 Kiwishaver August 13, 2011 at 20:05

Great to read that you have some very firm plans in place. I’m feeling in a rut and your words might just inspire me to move on with my life by seeking new experiences.

5 Tyler Tervooren August 15, 2011 at 16:55

Hurry up and wait, J.D.!

It’s a delicate balancing act trying to start new endeavors when you’re still working on and enjoying the other ones, but if anyone can do it, it’s you. Looking forward to reading more at Far Away Places.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: