The Antithesis of Productivity
I've been spinning out a bit lately. I think part of my deep reflective (but less-than productive) state this week was triggered by the Times article. It was fun to read, and we were excited to get emails and phone calls from lots of random friends (many we haven't heard form in a while) that stumbled upon the article. We even have a few happy hours setup this week to meet new friends in portland as a result of them being willing to reach out to us after the article, which is fantastic!
Sadly, it also set my brain back into motion, which is never entirely a good thing. I realized last week when the article hit that we missed a large opportunity in terms of potential business/money/income. Our inability to define exactly what it is we want to do with our lives essentially meant that the article came and went without us gaining (at least financially) from it. This isn't really a problem per se, but it set my mental wheels spinning nonetheless. We should really have (had) a web presence or portal to send people to when this type of opportunity comes along. A place where people can see our furniture designs and order something if it fits their needs. A link to AirBnB if they wanted to rent our our place for the winter. A place where someone could see our other design projects and connect with us about helping them design/build their own ADU, restaurant or bar, etc. It may not be what we do forever, but it is where our energy and time is spent now, and we should have at least been ready for the possibility of a paid project or two from it... Regardless of what the future holds, there's no reason we shouldn't have an access point for people to find us. Right now. Opportunity missed.
I'm not upset or beating myself up. No question we've been plenty busy and the article was written while we were out of the country and we had only about a weeks notice...but it did trigger a realization of a need. A need to come up with a company name that we can market ourselves under (something a bit more personable to those we don't know than "danger"). I've spun out for days trying to find a name and url that fits our mindset, our designs and our goals. So far...no luck. Turns out it's inherently difficult to name a business when you aren't yet sure what exactly you plan to do.
That spinning sent me inevitably back to thinking about our finances. I wish, as the Times article eluded, that our ADU covers all our living expenses...but sadly that's far from true. All the ADU does is allow us to live free of mortgage or rent. Granted that's is a HUGE part of the battle, but far from allowing us to live day to day. The phone and utilities, gas, food and drink, groceries, insurance and travel expenses... these are the part of this whole equation we still have to solve.
We are lucky enough to be spending time doing what we love (and we are impossibly happy), but other than a few small orders for stools we haven't been able to connect the dots on how to survive and keep doing it long term.
I've been pretty good since we left at not allowing myself to go down the road of worrying about the "what-ifs" or where we will be in "x" months when the savings runs out...but this was one of those weeks where i spent ample time concerned with just that. We have already spent the savings we nested away for our trip, we have already spent Jen's 401k (on the garage remodel) and now we are discussing plans that will essentially burn through mine. Not exactly a model for sustainable living. Not exactly the financial freedom we're seeking.
We do live a very inexpensive life, and it is mind-boggling to think what we used to spend every month just a few years ago. We probably live off 1/5 what we used to each month back then. Sadly, even a cheap existence without any income still means money is flying out the window. I have to make a decision about whether to give up our work/building space at ADX or to find enough jobs to pay for it. We have to find a way to sell the teardrop camper we design and built last year, and we have to decide what's next and it would be great if we could do that fairly quickly.
I'm still working on the finishing touches at the garage, still trying to perfect our little zen box of a home...but my mind keeps wandering to what project lies next and exactly how we will find it. My brain can't seem to solve the equation, but I also haven't been able to stop it from spending most of every day trying.
Then i pause to look around, and i see and hear about friends and neighbors and others who are battling with illness. Those who are miserable at their job. Those who cannot help but feel trapped in their day to day existence. And in an instant, i feel completely ridiculous for even having this "stress". Seriously. Who cares if our money will be gone next year? Who cares if we still haven't figured our that lingering question about whats next for us or how we'll afford it? Worse case scenario...we go find a job- just like we used to, and just like society told us to. We're happy (and we're healthy) today- and we may not even be here tomorrow...so who cares.
I need to remind myself to think like jen. As i type this post, she's actually sitting on the patio talking to a longtime friend and every time i pause typing to listen i cant help but chuckle at how differently she describes the very same dilemmas. "Its all gonna work out" she tells them. "The universe will tell us what to do and we'll figure out how to make money eventually". Argh!
The ridiculously absurdly simple genius of her brain...if only we were all so lucky!