I have a friend that writes a personal finance blog and as such her monthly accountability posts are about how she’s doing with her personal finances. How logical. While I still don’t feel like I know exactly what my blog is about or might evolve into over time, the line that’s on the homepage of my blog is “The ups and downs of an around the world life.” How do you account for the ups and downs in any quantifiable way? I’ve been writing this “accountability” post for a few months but when I went to write it this month I realized that I was missing the mark for what it should be.
That’s not to say I’ve figured out what it should be. It’s just to say that I don’t think I’ve quite figured it out… yet.
Our life has some ups and downs that are pretty consistent. The ups include things like being able to travel the world and three month long vacations twice a year. The downs include things like consistently missing someone (while we’re on the ship we miss both our families, and whenever we’re “home” we will be missing one of our families, if Stuart’s on the ship without me, you guessed it – I’m missing him), and for Stuart working for three months in a row without a day off, twice a year.
Maybe for this accountability post it should be checking in with how balancing those ups and downs are going? Have you ever really evaluated your life in where the ups and downs are? Imagine if everyone took the time to write down every day what was going on in their life. Identifying the negative aspects and working towards increasing the amount of “ups” there are and decreasing the “downs”?
Well, this month if I had to evaluate it, at first glance it seems like the “downs” would be winning the race. We’re onboard a ship that is sitting in the Philippines. We can’t go ashore, we haven’t been on land in months and we have no idea when we will be going home or when Stuart’s replacement will be able to get here.
The thing is with a very quick change of mindset, those things can be turned into “ups”. We’re stuck onboard this ship together – which means that at least we don’t have to be long distance for a completely unknown amount of time. And, our ship is healthy. If you turn on the news it does not take long to see that even though things are getting better, they aren’t great, and where we are, while it might be monotonous and challenging in its own ways it’s safe. On that note, our families at home are also healthy, so we can be onboard and largely focus on dealing with our situation knowing that our families are doing okay. None of that is to say that we don’t want to go home – it’s a matter of changing your mind set to focus on the positive.
Changing your mind set might sound easy and give you the idea I’m skipping around the ship whistling along without a care in the world. That’s not it. If you saw me this morning and how frustrated I was that the laundry room near our cabin was out of order you would know that it is not all skipping and rainbows. It is a conscious effort to try to refocus my brain to the positive. If I was to constantly focus on the “down” part of it, it will bring me down, and that’s not going to be good for anyone.
Another wicked “up” to be found in this is that the fact that we’re here and waiting for a replacement for Stuart is the same reason that he still has a job. In a time where millions are filing for unemployment maybe we should shift our thinking from frustration to gratefulness that he’s still getting a paycheck and we are both financially secure and stable. Side note bonus of this: we can’t order anything to the ship, we can’t get take-out from anywhere, and we don’t have to buy groceries – think of how much money we’re saving!
Now, there are two main reasons that I come to sail with Stuart. I come onboard to spend time with Stuart and for the opportunity to see the world, so what happens when the travel part goes away and my only reason to be onboard is to spend time with Stuart? Well, nearly 80 days or whatever it is without leaving our little floating village (it used to be a city but as so many people have left I figure it’s now a village), I think it’s pretty obvious which reason is more important. This isn’t to say that I was questioning what the real reason was for me to be onboard, but if let’s just say if anyone was unsure before, they shouldn’t be now.
There is one downside that I can’t really find a way to flip around and I don’t really want to. Missing our families is missing our families. We are blessed that we both have families that love and care about us so insanely much. Missing someone is the part of this life that will always be hard, but isn’t it wonderful to have someone to miss? To have people that you care about and care about you enough that you miss them? There are lots of people that move away from their families, but most of those times you are only a plane ride away. While we’re technically a plane ride away it feels so much further than that right now. Normally when we’re on the ship we know when we’re leaving, we know when we’ll be in Scotland next or Vermont next. We can make plans. I suppose the majority of people are in situations right now where they can’t really make future plans. Not gonna lie, it kinda sucks. The only part I can switch around on this is that there is a chance that if we’re on here longer this time, his next contract might not be as long. So, longer time onboard now, less time the next time? (Was that one too much of a stretch?)
And, as I haven’t entirely given up on my goals, here’s where I’m at on them, with a couple new additions:
- 15 French lessons per month + watch one movie in French per week.
- Okay, I sucked out on this goal. I’m not taking it away though as speaking another language would certainly be a useful skill towards future employment. I think I might need to revise my course of action for studying this though.
- We moved out of the cabin with the DVD player and into a cabin that has a DVD player but for whatever reason it won’t let me switch the language on the dang DVD’s.
- Post every Tuesday and Thursday, also at least one Saturday post.
- With today’s Saturday post, this has in fact been successful.
- NEW GOAL: Increase my “followers” by at least 20 people between email, WordPress, and Facebook.
- Do one thing per month towards getting a job with follow-up action. (Example: I can update my resume all day but if I don’t send it out it won’t do any good just sitting on my computer’s hard drive).
- I did create a new video to go on my LinkedIn page. I haven’t applied for anything though, because well, there are 23 cruise ships around us right now not sailing. Do I need more evidence on a daily basis that this entire industry is currently shut down?
- Modified goal: Work to develop a skill, or find a course to take, that will improve my resume so that when things start to open up again they just can’t say no.
- Make sure even while traveling I talk to my mom, my brother, and my grandmother at least once a week and check in with my closest friends at least every other week.
- The time difference has continued to make this a bit challenging. Time seems to have become a complete illusion and completely blends together (we’ve been at sea for 11 weeks? What?) and I won’t have realized that a week or 10 days has gone by and somehow it has. I think I need to set a reminder on my phone.
- Go for a walk on deck at least every other day while on the ship.
- Well… a variation on this. Some days we’ve been going up to play pickle-ball instead of going for a walk. I think it still accomplishes the base of the goal which is to get outside and exercise a bit.
- Read at least two books.
- I finished HP 4, 5, 6, and 7. I’ve started a new book for fun and am reading “Stock Investing for Dummies” as an educational book.