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Every Man is a Fool in Some Man’s Opinion

-Spanish Proverb

Sometimes I receive a comment that despite not being entirely positive, offers a valid point and I feel compelled to share it in full.  This is obviously a personal blog shared by friends and family and stumbled across by others.  Some of whom have become friends.

To a staggering degree we share honestly and openly the reality of our lives.  This includes the good and bad.  As mere mortals, we are prone to mistakes that we hope to share so that others may have the strength and courage to follow their dreams- wherever it may lead them.

Above all, I don’t have the wisdom, audacity, or strength to condemn your lifestyle or choices but I do encourage all to follow their dreams no matter how incredible.  A little YING, a little YANG and you never know where life will take you.

This is a comment from Jack on our recent post; Social Services in Arizona

You should have thought of all these things before buying an old Gemini and getting to your mess and still having kids.

What were you thinking!!!!!!

Poor kids…………

-Jack

Hi Jack-

It appears you have life completely figured out and are in complete control of your destiny.  Lucky for you!  But I am not jealous.

Your viewpoint is valid and appreciated.  Maybe we should recap…

I didn’t create this mess called the economy any more than one man could.  But I do take responsibility for being an entrepreneur and building a business that supported 100’s of families before going broke and losing everything I’ve worked for in my entire adult life.  Mea Culpa.  In Gen X language, “My Bad, Dude.”  But luckily, I’m not alone.  Small business and big business alike really felt the ‘pokey poo’ in 2007.  If you don’t believe me, ask Lehman Brothers, a company in business since 1844.

By the time the economy really showed it’s ugly face, our first child, the blessing that she is, was already born.  By the time things were REALLY going south and your retirement dropped by 40% and I went bust, we were already living on a boat in a drastic attempt to cut overhead so significantly we could rebuild.

If you’ve never lived on a boat- I recommend it heartily!  What turned out to be an attempt to cut our overhead was an eye opening journey into happiness and contentment by living with many less (possessions) than most people would consider possible, practical, or comfortable.

Until you’ve tried to live on a sailboat, I’m not sure you can really ever understand.  If you have lived on a (sail)boat for any length of time and still disagree, I would argue we clearly have vastly different viewpoints, that while both defensible, will never be reconciled.

There’s the joy of the freedom of expression.

With the unexpected news of a second arrival to our family.  The welcomed 1% stroke of luck (if you catch my drift) made us reconsider our living quarters on a 1 berth boat.  Another fine point- if you think Charley Bella is anything but a blessing and doesn’t deserve a life altering change you probably have never been a parent.

To continue, if you’ve lived on a boat for any amount of time, you realize a boat is a boat is a boat.  The ‘old Gemini’ catamaran you speak of is 15 years newer than our 1978 CSY 33′ sailboat that we dearly loved- and shockingly they are both made of the same materials!  Especially with some experience living aboard, the Gemini really fits our needs better- but I digress.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the job market ain’t what it used to be and despite applying for state and federal jobs along with big business jobs I didn’t get a single response that was worth following.  After being self employed your entire adult life it’s hard to take a job that knowingly puts you into poverty and/or separates you from your family.  Deciding not to wait for the economy to recover, we opted to do what we do best- be an entrepreneur!  But that admittedly takes a little time and capital.  Luckily we have friends and family who believe in us and fate has intervened at times to ‘nudge’ us in the right direction- what ever direction that may be.

A short note about that.  If you believe that you can plan and control your future outcome you either haven’t risked enough to fully capitalize on this short life of ours or you have a magic crystal ball.

The move to Tucson and the decision to keep the boat in Mexico were largely based on the fact my family is heavily based in Tucson.  San Carlos, Mexico is six hours from Tucson and is heavenly!  We drive that much from the coast of Georgia to Atlanta.  What’s the difference?  Just because it’s across a border should that scare you?  It’s about the same as driving from Bradenton, Florida to Savannah, Georgia.

Jack, I have to ask.  If you are an employee that works for a business and you get laid off- would you apply for unemployment?  Many do and I am not one to judge.  I personally do not qualify for unemployment since I was the owner of the business that hired people.  What would you do?

My wife and I both have been self employed for the better part of our adult lives and have never ‘benefited’ from the social system despite having paid our fair share into the system- that’s about twenty plus years of paying into the system for each of us.  My stand is to be a good father and husband who participates (daily) in my children’s life.  My wife and I collectively made the decision that she wouldn’t work in lieu of being with the children AND I would be around to participate in their lives (daily).  That requires some creative occupational thinking.  IF you think it can’t done, I would suggest you are either shortsighted or have never spent any time in a foreign country.

I would pose to you a question.  What is harder?  Getting a 40-60 hour a week job and do the ‘dumb things you have to do’ and crawl deeper and deeper into debt or creating a lifestyle that fulfills the needs of your wife and children without sacrificing your one true self.  I’ll let you contemplate which is harder, but you know where we stand.

I don’t really consider our chosen lifestyle to be easy but I do consider it fulfilling.  If in doubt, you can ask my father- the proud grandfather of two little girls who recently relocated 2,000 miles closer so he can spoil them unconditionally. How much is that worth?

Poor Kid #1

Poor Kid #1

In consideration of my ‘poor children’, I don’t think they really care at this age what our balance sheet looks like.  They do seem to enjoy me being present and active in their lives.  I love my children and nothing you can say will convince me that more money versus more experience is a fair trade.  If nothing else, building a strong entrepreneurial work ethic combined with a reasonable degree of financial frugality will yield a lifetime of profits versus the long-term crutch of credit dependence, which is the dilemma many young adults unwittingly fall into as they embark on their new careers in the corporate machine.

To be fair, we have made mistakes.  Those lessons have lead us here, now.  What’s done is done and there’s no going back.  With no road clearly paved before us, there are bound to be some bumps along the way.  No point crying over spilt milk.  Make the best of what you’ve got and learn from your mistakes.  Sometimes that means dismissing your ego and doing what’s best for your family.  After all, it’s not about the money.  It’s about the time well spent.

He Dares to be a Fool, and That is the First Step in the Direction of Wisdom.

-James Gibbons Huneker

On a final thought, What’s the worst thing that can happen?  I’d have to get a job like everyone else.

You know an ICE COLD draft beer in Mexico is a very affordable price of approximately $1.25! Click Here to Buy Us a Beer.

7 comments to Every Man is a Fool in Some Man’s Opinion

  • Ron Earhart

    Bravo! I very much enjoyed your response to the sayer of nay. I have one of those 50hr/wk jobs as a physical therapist in Flagstaff, AZ. I lived for awhile in Tucson and was just there for some sunny hikes last weekend. The gal and I have been tossing the idea of part-time liveaboard life around for a couple of years now and just missed selling our houses (2) before the “down turn”. I actually gave serious thought to inquiring about your old boat, CSY 33 as I recall, and that led me to your website. Have been “tuning in” to your postings
    periodically and enjoy it very much. We would also like to start out in San Carlos with a multihull and I had inquired about the Gemini you purchased. Anyway, just wanted to say hello. I know Tucson quite well, so if you need suggestions for hikes just drop me a note.
    Cheers, Ron Earhart

  • big cheese

    Thanks Ron,

    Sometimes life appears to be pretty black and white for some folks. At some point I can promise that life will get complicated and out of control!

    Yeah- the economy really threw a wrench in things for us too. Hang in there and PREPARE. The day will come.

    We’re anxious to get down to San Carlos. With luck we’ll be able to head south in February.

    Keep in touch.

    Thanks

    JC

  • Ceal Potts

    I was curious about what your reply to that comment might be. Good on you for spelling it out. I, too, have commented before on your blog and I think we also inquired about your CSY. Because of that, I tend to check your blog regularly for updates and words of wisdom. :-)

    I know we don’t know you or your family, but reading about it makes it feel like we could be friends. If you and your family travel to any events in the Ventura/Santa Barbara region, you are welcome to a couple of nights and dinners at our home. And, if there’s wind, a sail out toward the Channel Islands!

    Thanks!
    Ceal and Kevin

  • Bill

    Good post JC. My wife and I (both in our mid 20s) have been contemplating reducing our lifestyle and living aboard for a while. Reading blogs like yours hold me to our conviction.

    Too often we worry what other people think about our decisions and feel like we have to keep up with our peers. Well after spending the past couple of years in “regular” 40 hour a week jobs, we are ready to start living for experiences instead of things. We’ve seen how fast life can shoot by when you are in the rat race and are ready to slow things down. Thanks for the inspiration!

    -Bill

  • Jay Pea

    Give em’ hell JC!

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I suppose, making things public on a blog is to hear the many flavors of folks that are out there but…those poor kids are my Goddaughters and they are the richest kids I know!

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    “Da Godfather”

  • big cheese

    Thank You.

    We are debating heading to Cali for a few shows. I appreciate the offer and I will certainly keep you’re info handy.

    Thanks for the kind words and kind offer.

    JC

  • big cheese

    Ayyye-

    I just got back from Quartzsite- the world’s largest Swap meet! Tent town for 4 months!

    The God children are happy, healthy, and growing fast! Dad’s looking a bit haggered, but we are making some positive headway! I’ll elaborate after I get over how much my little girls have grown!