“Are you having some sort of midlife crisis?” – asked my doctor.
“Aren’t you too young to retire? You’ll be bored. You’ll want to go back to work.” – said by a multitude of well-meaning people.
“Aren’t you concerned about pirates?” – pondered the worriers.
“I’m so excited for you and proud of you. You are actually achieving your dream.” – said by those who know us best.
“How does it feel?” – asked almost everyone.
That’s a good question really, how DOES it feel? Well, to answer that question we have to rewind back about a month. As I write this we are cruising the Broughtons, in British Columbia and we are super behind on the blog. We’ll catch up in short order here (well when we have cell service/adequate WiFi). Back to the story.
On June 12, I went to work at my company, Red Propeller, for the last time. No one, including me, knew quite how to act or what to say. But my business partner Jim, being the amazing man that he is, brought mimosas for breakfast. That helped. I felt excited but sad. Complicated. I left my company that I founded and a big part of my own identity. Time to work on a new identity. New chapter, new me.
In that vein, I updated my LinkedIn profile and title to be: “Co-Captain at Red Propeller Marine, LLC.” I now receive LinkedIn notifications about salary ranges for captain roles. Thanks LinkedIn!
For the next couple of weeks we executed what Kevin and I called the “Farewell Tour.” Note here that our daughter feels we stole this title from her. Could be. She’s good, that one. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Kirsten! We went to all of our favorite restaurants, had dinner with good friends, visited our old house (just a drive-by), and chatted up all of our dock buddies. In the meantime, we worked on readying the boat and talked about what we would miss the most. People we love. The mountains, water and cool air of the Pacific Northwest. And really, simply, just Seattle – all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly. It is home. Always will be, no matter how far we roam.
I also took a quick trip across the country to Boston to help our daughter Kirsten get settled in her new apartment and to see my parents, brother, sister-in-law, nieces and family. My parents are going to move out of the home I grew up in at the end of the summer – another form of “leaving.”
What was hard during these weeks were the questions and statements like this one: “We might not ever see you again.” Other than the fact that we’ll be back in Seattle for a couple of weeks in September, this could potentially be true. At least maybe in person… certainly we’ll see everyone on social media. But this is where “how do you feel” becomes uncomfortable. Over the past few weeks I came to understand that it is harder to be the one who stays than the one who leaves. We’re excited, we’re heading out, starting to live our dream and for many of our friends, life will be status quo for a bit with kid, business and family commitments. How does one leave with grace? By saying see you down the road…
So, how DOES it feel? It feels exciting! And sometimes overwhelming. And full of happiness. At this point, it feels a lot like we are on vacation, really. But now and then it hits us. Mostly when we ask each other, “what day is it?” Or when a certain song comes on the radio and I burst into tears with the realization that truly, we have changed our entire life. Not in a sad way, but more in a mix of anticipation, excitement, happiness, and a healthy dose of apprehension. We did it. We untied the lines, pointed our bow north and left Seattle. After years and years of dreaming and then another year of actual planning, we’re off! We are so fortunate.
Photo from the deck after leaving Shilshole Marina on my last day of work for a weekend getaway to Bainbridge Island.