T(Take-Off) -21 months

Tom & I committed to going full time around December 2013.  I know this because we had a 37 month time line. Knowing that nothing in life is set in stone, I left the job I had at that time and looked for a new one, knowing I would have to be less than honest if they asked the “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question. Luckily it wasn’t asked as I applied for a city government job. Probably because they assume you’ll stay at least five years to qualify for vestment. And although that was a good incentive, I still went into the job knowing my retirement savings would not be matched.

When the job atmosphere soured, Tom and I thought – just stick it out a couple of more years. Although, during a low point, I put my resume out there even though I wasn’t committed to starting work for a company I only planned on being with temporarily. But of course, fate stepped in and I found myself with a couple of job offers – right at the time it was becoming obvious I couldn’t stick it out where I was. The timeline was now at 29 months. Less than two and a half years seemed a lot less that over 3 years, so I was faced with a moral dilemma: to confess my intentions or pretend I was in for the long haul.

As it turned out, I liked one company – Company A – way more than the other – Company B, but decided I’d have to tell them I was only looking for short term. After all, I told myself, I had a job. I actually could stay there if I had to. And being open about it seemed like the right thing to do, although Tom strongly disagreed. I kept waiting for the right opening to tell the employer at Company A during the negotiations. Turns out Company B was more aggressive, and I told them my short term intentions thinking they would back out of their offer. But that employer said it didn’t matter. By then I was sure I wanted to go with Company A, and my current working conditions worsened, so I never created the opportunity to tell them I was short time. I got hired. I felt guilty.

After being there just a couple of months, I fessed up. I like to think they were all devastated. But like I told them, it wasn’t set in stone, and I would have everything in order and help hire and train my replacement when the time came. They may not have felt better, but I did, and now I could talk about our future plans with my fellow co-workers.

Tom thought it was a mistake. Was he right? Maybe.

It certainly made me vulnerable. Now that the company is looking to fill another position, they know that I am planning on leaving – the current time line is 21 months. As a company they should keep this in mind while hiring. But if they hire someone that can train into my position now, I may not be ready to leave when they are ready to replace me. As always, I have complete faith that it will all work out, but it does bring up a point to consider: What can happen if you announce your plans too soon?

We have planned our departure around Tom’s youngest going off to college. Based on her exceptional independent character, we have made these assumptions: That she won’t need us to keep a home base for her, and if she does want to come back home, there’s always her mom’s house. Of course we have not kept our plans secret from her. Recently, she suffered a bout of anxiety. While of course we would never “leave” her if she needed us, and have told her that, it still makes us wonder if our plans added to her anxiety. Would she be less anxious if we had kept our intentions to ourselves?

My brother just took a job out of state. He has lived in the same town as both our parents and they depend on him for many things. Everyone in my family knows of my intentions, but now they have the added burden of knowing there will be no kids left close by once I go. Would it be less stressful for them if I had kept our intentions private?

We have neighbors that decided to move out of state for a better job offer. When some people they knew heard about this, they offered to buy their house. How lucky – our neighbors didn’t even have to put their house on the market and it was already in escrowt Unfortunately, the job offer fell through and they ended up having to rent their home from the new buyers who waited impatiently for them to find a new dwelling. Wouldn’t it have been better for them if they had kept their intentions to themselves until it was a sure thing?

We have a store. We try not to discuss our intentions with any of our customers or vendors. They say that announcing the sale of a business is the worst thing you can do for business. So this is one area where I feel like we’re misleading people. But as Tom always says whenever anyone asks, “Everything is for sale. Even my wife.” While this joke has kept us from flat out lying when someone asked us point blank if we were selling the store, I wish we could be more up-front about it. Tom has said that when the time is right, we’ll know it.

This just brings me to the point that there are a lot of loose ends to untangle before you can up-root your life. Some people are less entangled than others, but everyone has their ties to untwist. Whether it’s property to sell, jobs to quit, or family to desert, it can all take its toll. And timing can be everything.

We have read many stories of people who just decided to up and go and were on the road in no time. For us, we felt like it would take us three years to get everything wrapped up. And so far I’m happy with the decisions we’ve made about who we’ve told and who we haven’t.

We still don’t have a crystal ball (that works!) and there are still many variables. I look at my life for the past several years and at any point, if you had told me then where I would have been two or three years down the road, I wouldn’t have believed it. Change happens. Life happens.

Yet we make our plans like we’re in control non-the-less!

Happy Trails to you,

Peace & Love, Joy