semi-retiring, work life balance, lifestyle block living


November 2015

Letting Go

The son in the bosun's chair

Last night the man and I went on a wee adventure – we stayed on our boat moored in the marina. Odd, I can hear you saying, that is hardly sailing.  And you would be right. However, there was a valid reason behind it; we needed to charge the yacht’s batteries and this was going to take oodles of time, as they were spectacularly flat. Staying overnight was, therefore, the sensible thing to do.

It was nice to be aboard again – it has been a number of months since I have visited, and in the interim, the man has made a bit more progress getting her ready for the market. The middle cabin which was converted to the double berth last year is well on the way to being finished and, if I do say so myself, is looking very, very classy.

The double berth

Now this is all well and good, except it raises a few issues. You see the more the boat is upgraded, the more we consider keeping it!  Part of us thinks: why shouldn’t we enjoy the benefit of the more luxurious beast rather than someone else?

This is not a new feeling; we do seem to be people who do the things we always had intended to do, when we decide to sell whatever it is. And yes, this always makes it a struggle to let go.

In the particular case of selling the boat, the man and I have also had an orchestrated delegation to contend with: the children love going away on the yacht, and the grandchild too and they have made it crystal clear that they are not happy for us to sell it.

Now we are the first to admit that taking the family out for the day or longer is a great thing to do. The man and I derive so much pleasure from having the kids on the boat and watching them thrive in this environment. It is the stuff of rich memories for all of us and simply cannot be measured by mere dollar value.  In a perfect world, we would therefore like to continue our yachting with them.  Monopoly, anyone?

The son, daughter in law and grandson off exploring in Te Kaitoa’s inflatable

However, there are questions that need answering here. The first one is: would keeping the boat mean saying goodbye to semi -retiring in the foreseeable future? We aren’t sure: perhaps if we employ some  lateral thinking, we would be able to sort out a way to keep the boat and semi-retire?  Indeed, there are options: we could move onto the boat, give up work entirely, rent the house and sail off. *  Maybe? Maybe not?

The second question is: does the boat actually meet the family’s needs? It is a big, serious boat that is capable of going offshore. Yes, it fits everyone on, but maybe something smaller would be a better match for us, and more doable?

Lastly, if we do keep it, we need to make the best use of it. No point in it sitting in the marina getting a weedy bottom!

Yes, some serious thinking is in order. In the fullness of time, our wants and needs will align  of course,  and  we will choose the best way forward for us.

*This option always becomes very attractive after a slightly off day at work!

Goodbye weekend


It is almost eight o’clock on Sunday night, so the weekend is fast coming to its conclusion and before we know it, it’ll be Monday morning again and back to work.  As usual the two days off has whizzed by far too quickly. Don’t get me wrong, the man and I enjoyed it, despite the fact that it unfolded in an ‘organic’ way i.e. it just happened and we rolled with it.

Now this rather lackadaisical approach to how we use our weekends is OK once in a while, but becomes a bit of a concern if it becomes the norm. And become the norm it has again – yes, we improved for a while, but there has been slippage and we are often finding that after completing the household chores, we are not making the best use of the time left.  This is despite having lots of things that we will tell you that we would really, truly like to do over the two days off. The man and I will instead find ourselves defaulting to making plans at the eleventh hour, which without too much trouble degenerates into doing stuff that just fills in time.

I am not sure why this is: both the man and I are pretty organised at work, so we can do the planning bit when we need to. Certainly there are old habits coming into play here, but maybe it is more than this? Perhaps it is because while we are at work, we get busy and we don’t think about getting our weekend sorted and then it sort of creeps up on us and catches us by surprise?

Whatever the cause, the man and I need to address it (again), if we are going to get the most out of our precious leisure time. We need to take a proactive, not reactive approach to Saturday and Sunday (note the management speak here – thank you to my present and past employers for sending me on courses where I learned these terms).

The weekend will still fly by no doubt, but by remembering to put a tad more thought into the forward planning side, we will hopefully be doing more of the things we say we want to do. Needless to say, this new approach to time management will work splendidly well until the vagaries of life get in the way!  Sigh.

Hello Summer!


Today summer looks like it is here. This is not the first time it has arrived: on several other occasions over the last month or so it has showed its face, only to retreat the very next day. This time, however, I am convinced it is here to stay. Why? There is no particular reason, rather I just feel that it should do the decent thing and hang around now until at least April. Yes, I know in this part of the world, summer isn’t officially expected until 1 December, but in this case turning up early will be definitely viewed by the general populace as a brilliant idea, I think. We are, after all, more than ready for something new!

So what’s so great about summer? Firstly, unlike spring which is notoriously fickle weather wise, we know where we stand. In the morning, we dress for one season only, rather than all four. And dress, we do, in lighter, brighter attire with our limbs on display and toes peeping shyly out of sandals or jandals.

Summer brings with it an upturn in people making the most of the wonderful weather to get into shape after a winter of seriously stodgy meals. Walkers and runners are seen pounding the streets with fancy gadgets measuring pulse rates strapped on,  the gyms are overflowing with people working hard to get back the body they last saw when they were young and taut, fake tan is being sold by the bucketful, and strange diets that often are both scientifically dubious and bordering on sadistic are adopted. There is logic at play here: we have to look good in that lighter, brighter attire! New hair style anyone?

Summer is also the time of the outdoor meals, be it firing up the barbeque in the backyard, heading to the local park for a picnic tea, or to the beach for a dinner of fish and chips. More often than not, friends will be invited along and a simple meal will morph into a relaxed social occasion with great food, a couple of drinks and excellent conversation.

Now there are all sorts of other amazing things about summer in this part of the world e.g. swimming, camping, Christmas and New Year, but it also brings with it nights that are too hot to sleep, mosquitos and sandflies that like dining on homo sapiens, sunburn and food poisoning, if a person is not careful, and other challenges. Like everything, there is no such thing as perfect, but despite this, I think  we are more than ready for the new season to arrive.

I also know that by Autumn, I, for one, will be looking forward to the cooler weather, the glorious colours of the autumnal trees, the heavier clothes, different food and the opportunity to curl up by the fire with a book. A change can be so refreshing!

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