Nov 082017

24/7, 365 days a year. That appears to be the new regime’s expectation.
It doesn’t leave much time or energy to further life’s important goals.
It’s an important factor that needs to be considered in the “stay and suck it up” or “leave” debate.

Aug 272017

There are so many parts to the future life I dream of, so many things to do, to experience, to enjoy. Think sailing, snorkelling, hiking, 4×4, adventure touring on the motorcycle, mountain biking, boat projects, renovating and flipping, aquaponics, self-sufficiency, ….the list goes on and on.

One of my failings is certainly too many irons in too many fires. I have the 4×4 and now want to put on a RTT. Yet, I know for sure that there’s no time in the present life to actually use and enjoy the investment. Then I speculate that I should trade the 4×4 for the van. Yet, the 4×4 is paid for and the dream of the van is perhaps more a dream than could be made a reality in the present life circumstances.

I have the bike to do the tour and yet I’m too busy [thinking of] building the Shack and working the plan. I keep the ZR7 for fear that it’s not worth selling and then I disappear into a retro-scrambler project that sucks time and resources into yet another direction.

I dream and theorise of cutting back, simplifying. Of reducing life to just a few essential avenues of happiness and endeavour. Yet that’s all it seems to remain, a dream.

I think it was Lloyd Khan who said “Self sufficiency is never reached. It’s not the end goal but the process.” Or at least it was something along those lines.

I find myself constantly battling the gap between the intellect and action. Discovering and binge-reading “San Juan Sufficiency” today has me intellectually agreeing with the lifestyle, the ambition. I have the greatest of respect for those, unlike me, who’ve kicked the cubicle habit and struck out for a life well lived. I want to immediately step out and do something siomilar. Let’s buy those solar panels for the Shack. Let’s upgrade the boat, lets do this….let’s do that…!

Time is not on our side. One perhaps has 30,000 days on this planet if all goes well. So far, I’ve “used up” almost 18,000 of those days, days that can never be recovered, never be re-lived. Gone forever.

Not all of those 18,000 days have been miserable. There have been times when I’ve been happy [I think]. Not that I can remember those times at the moment. Right now life seems miserable and constraining. Depressing even. I’m in the biggest funk in living memory and it’s wasting my remaining allotment of days.

But I am, I think, a coward. I buy into quit-your-job-and-live free scene, the self-sufficiency ethos, the frugal lifestyle, the live on a boat and grow your own vegetables ethos. And yet, I seem unable to take even the smallest steps in cleaning out my current life to progress in that direction. I read of the struggles these people [SJS, AOH] face in earning enough money to fund their [not-so-] simple lives and I wonder if I have the courage?

What I do know is I have slipped into possibly the worst state of lethargy and demotivation I have yet experienced. No matter how hard I try, I much I try to convince myself that I must, I just cannot bring myself to actually dig in and get some decent work done in the corporate sphere. It all seems so pointless. Yes, yes. I hear the argument that “It’s not pointless, it brings ihome the bacon”. I hear, I agree and then I remain in my slump, my downward spiral. It’s not enough. Not enough to just rake in some money to fund this current life, the future life, the lives of my children. Most definitely not enough any more.

Many aspects of my current life and plan parallel “San Juan Sufficiency”. I maintain and keep the boat as an escape pod, a place to live cheaply and well if and when this world goes to pot. I keep the land base asd a place to work on projects for the boat, garden, raise table-tilapia’s in an aquaponics farm, harvets rainwater and chop my own wood for the winter stove.

At least that’s the longer-term hope and dream. Right now, all I’ve managed is to add complexity and cost to life, maintaining multiple homes, multiple vehicles, multiple cameras and more….! Why is it so hard to break this damn cycle of depression? Surely it’s as easy as selling up 253, quitting SE and making the move?

Mmmm! Yes. Theoretically that’s all, it takes. Practically there’s something unknown holding me back.

I read of SJS buying an island property and homesteading. I wish I could feel safe doing that here in sunny SA, free from the fear of being robbed blind. I wish I could find a place like the San Juans and feel that this place is worth my full investment of all my mental and financial resources. I wish I could break free of the fear of the future South Africa?

And so I try. I have plans A, B, C, ……Zee. And I’m working them all. But perhaps that is part of my problem. Perhaps it’s spreading me too thin and as a result I feel I’m not achieving any thing particularly noteworthy in any area.

Too many irons in too many fires! What do you really want?

Nov 192016

At the outset of our research, we suspected that organisational life would be full of stupidities. But we were genuinely surprised that otherwise smart people would go along with collective stupidity, and be rewarded for doing so. Mindlessly following rules and regulations – even if they were completely counterproductive – meant that professionals would be left alone. Using empty leadership talk would get ambitious people promoted into positions of responsibility. Copying other well-known organisations meant a firm could be seen as ‘world-class’. Launching branding initiatives meant that executives could focus on the easier work of manipulating surface images and avoid the much messier realities of organisational life. Following deep-seated corporate cultures often meant employees could be seen as committed organisational citizens while overlooking festering problems.

Sounds mighty, mighty familiar !

Apr 072016

You have been called to this press conference because we have some (bad) news to share.

Never fear, because we (the N-1 management) have everything under control and we definitely have a plan. Yes for sure we do, we have a plan (we think; otherwise our collective a$$ is toast)! So, because we are all so sure our plan is solid, the bad news is not so bad after all. Agreed!?

Because life is tough, and because we (well actually our N who we are powerless to oppose and who we depend upon for financial favours) moved all upstream margin upstream (well duh!) and out of the country, we unfortunately need to declare the local business results for 2015 a total failure. As a result, despite your own personal cost of living having risen by at least 235% in the last couple of years, despite your own personal pain, we are unable to assist by granting anything better than a 0% salary increase for 2016.

We think we may review that decision later in the year (which we most likely won’t) and by the way – it’s business as usual. No, wait, not business as usual! We expect you to ‘do more’ and trust that you are happy and motivated. By the way, we have organised a super (forced-interaction) corporate picnic tomorrow (which is totally compulsory by the way).

So be happy!

Really? Reminds me of the approach taken by the cANCer!

Sheeple who have succumbed to the Elastrator !!

Any questions?

May 252015

Planning and preparing for the future is destroying the present! It’s a difficult tightrope this “preparing for tomorrow”. It cannot be neglected, that’s for sure. But it’s so easy to let the future dominate the present, to rob it of the enjoyment it so richly deserves.

Take sailing for instance. There’s a storm in the future, a given event but without a definite timeline. I know it’s coming and so I prepare for it making sure the boat is in tip-top shape, the reefing lines run free and the gear is properly stowed. I practice, I prepare and then I go out and enjoy a sail. If the storm catches me out then I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Either that or I never venture off the dock for fear of what might happen? If the motor fails? What then? Well I’ll drift toward  a dock somewhere, drop an anchor, call for help, I’ll manage.

Yeah. Fear [maybe that is too strong a word] of the future is limiting our present. I don’t anchor out because I’m uncertain I can and am wary of the pain. Yet if I don’t practice my anchoring I’ll never get it right? Past pain and future fears – they’re limiting our present.

Jan 022015

Today is rubbish collection day in Kensington and the truck has arrived, accompanied by the usual shouting, whistles and barking neighbourhood canines.

Being the Christmas – New Year season, there’s the usual banging on gates and aggressive “communication” aimed at drawing me out into the street so that the dear old poor bin men can solicit some gifts.

Give me, give me. I am so poor and you are so rich, so give me!

Please don’t think I’m not charitable and oblivious to the actual disadvantaged and the poor because I’m not! I just make pointedly sure that my charities are actually needy and deserving. The fact that you have a paying job and yet demand me to give you something for sometimes doing it [as evidenced by all the filthy rubbish strewn street corners in Joburg]!?

Sorry. You and your fellow “Give Me’s” are knocking on the wrong gate.

Dec 172014

The Governors Cup starts in little over one week from now. I’m itching to be on board! “But you were so miserable last time” remarks Jenny. True, but there were reasons for that. I think that with the perfect crew (of one) and the perfect offshore cruiser (0B) things could be much more enjoyable.

The wind in this neck of the woods really humps though. It will take some getting used to. A 20kt breeze here carries a punch that is totally absent up on the Vaal. I seem to recall reading that its a product of the increased air density at sea level?

Anyhow, despite some of the history and obvious challenge I still have a hankering to try, to wet Ocean Blue’s tubby little hull in these chill Atlantic waters and to sail off over the distant horizon.

It may scare the heck out of me yet, but until I try that urge will always remain.

Nov 102013

I Think I know that people, looking into our lives from the outside, have the impression that we’re rolling in it.

That could not be further from the truth!

I’ll not deny that we’ve been fortunate(?) enough to have been employed always, to have earned a decent wage. No denying that. But, I know for a fact it’s not because of our connections, our “likeability” in the market place. It’s because of our work-ethic and ability. So yes, just to get things straight, we have earned well in life so far. We do live a very good life. But it’s not all roses and we work like dogs!

But, and here’s the big BUT ! We’ve not created the life we live today by being “mainstream” (oh yes, I can see the frowns now). Sure – we’ve used the mainstream tools of banks loans to assist in getting here, but we’ve never been mainstream in our acceptance of debt as the only way, of spending to the limit for the sake of the lifestyle. While we have lots of luxury and toys, none of those toys are uber-cool, cutting edge. We drive reliable but aging vehicles. Even the yacht, a perceived ‘proof-of-wealth’ item is a late 70’s out-of-style model.

No doubt, we’ve spent huge sums but on things that really matter to us. Houses and fittings for Sandy. Yachts for me. But none of that has been at the expense of savings and provision for tomorrow. None of that has been purely a spend. It’s always been “buy what other’s would consider unsalvageable” and put 1x money and 15x elbow-grease. To be honest, we’ve worked damn hard for the life we live.

This isn’t about boasting – heck, ain’t no one reading this blog. But it is about letting others know that it is very possible to live a very good life without fully buying in to the career-ladder-consumer religion that permeates the world we live in.

As my children start to finish up school, I’m loath to push them down the path I walked. I’ve not enjoyed the pressures of a corporate engineering career. The get a job, work hard, save for tomorrow ideology, while having paid the bills until now, has run it’s course in our lives. We are ready to relax a bit more now. On the other hand, work ethic is key, no matter what you work at. Without staying power nothing is going to be achieved in life. So, it is a challenge. How much pressure do I put on my son to finish school and get a job? How much is it me, wanting him to be self-sufficient? how much is it in his interest to become a wage-slave?

If I can provide them a safety net to allow them to find their niche in life, without focusing on the money but rather on the fulfillment, then I shall be happy with that legacy left them. And in the meantime, I’m quite happy to divert some of the funds previously reserved for study to the dream house by the beach … !