It all started when Angelo, our eldest, turned 10. I couldn’t grasp the fact he is 10 and just a few years away from becoming a teenager.
The night of his birthday, I looked at all the photos we’ve taken of him. Unlike the days of old, digital photos don’t fade. Angelo was born at the time where Kodak is facing its demise and digital photography has taken shape. All our photos of Angelo looked as if it was just taken yesterday and yet now he is almost as tall as his mother. I am definitely not the macho type, and it turns out I become deeply emotional when it involves my kids.
I worked hard and I had dreams of becoming big in my field of work. Me and Jo did well in our careers until a bad economy hit the country in 2007. Young with a mortgage and child, I lay witness to many of our closest friends lose every material possession they have. Businesses were closing left and right, and it leaves anybody to wonder when their company will shutter.
It hit me, everything we possess, even our careers are temporary. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, outside forces can have a significant effect in your plans and the life you live.
We continued working hard and kept our expenses low. We planned long term so we can weather risks if bad things happen. But the thing with long term planning is we look so far ahead that we miss what is important NOW. Angelo turning 10 brought us back to NOW. There is no pause button to stop our kids from growing. They will not wait for us to settle our goals and work out our plans. They’ll continue to grow with or without our participation.
Don’t get me wrong, long term planning is important, but taking a time out and spending it with family is really possible. Nobody can guarantee us a long life, and I don’t want to wait for anything bad to happen before I start focussing on what’s important NOW.
A few days after Angelo’s tenth birthday, I broke the idea of taking a pause for a year with my wife Jo and her eyes glistened. She’s a hopeless optimist, and I was not surprised she agreed right at that moment. We started discussing destinations, date of departure and broad stroke ideas. When we started talking about budget, Jo said at the dinner table, “Money is renewable, but time is not.” That’s it, the plan was sealed.
Traveling the world is in our to-do list anyway so why not do it now. Think of how a terminally ill person would spend the remaining days of their life. Being terminally ill can be lucky because it puts you to the thought of finally spending your life the way you want it to be. How about for many of the people who did not see it coming? I want a long life, but if I die a few years after this adventure, I could say to myself I lived a great life. I won’t have any regrets.
This travel is necessary, and the time we spend together is priceless. Live life purposefully and spend it wisely.