Once a year Capt. Mark and I go off to some nice place away from home, boat, and friends to plot out the entire year…just like a novel.
We are the hero and heroine who must overcome the obstacles…ideas that are too big and cash flow that’s too small. But we slog on, relentlessly tackling topic after topic until we’ve exhausted our brains and our supply of wine.
Goals—his, hers, and ours—are sometimes dreams on a computer screen. But when we review the goals from the previous year, we’re sometimes surprised. We did them! We did the Great Loop in our boat. Mark took a motorcycle class. I lost 20 pounds (Not.) Some of my goals are just not attainable. Not for someone who loves chocolate as much as I do.
We do this every year on our wedding anniversary. Funny way to celebrate I guess, but it works for us in an interesting way. We talk nonstop for three days. Ever tried to talk to your spouse about important stuff for three days running? It’s exhausting. But you learn a lot about patience, listening, and what’s really important to the other person.
This year’s agenda included: analysis of last year’s budget; development of the coming year’s budget; places to go by boat in the Bay Area; road trips; our adult children; should we buy a new car; the need to do estate planning (yup, old age is creeping up).
The best part was the venue for this. We rented a place in Sea Ranch on the northern California coast, complete with a white water view of the Pacific. No good sunsets this year, but the wind-whipped froth on the ocean was mesmerizing. The wind gusted to 30 miles per hour and we were tucked up and cozy, watching from floor to ceiling windows.
Despite the wind, we walked on the trails and watched harbor seals sleeping on the beach. The sign on the cliff said it was birthing season and seals were not to be disturbed. We waved and moved on. The deer in the fields by the house didn’t seem to mind us. They never stopped munching, even as we passed by.
Too soon came the morning of the third day. We summarized the previous two days (Capt. Mark made copious notes…he is an engineer); we packed up; we washed the dishes; we headed out the door.
In three months we’ll come back to review our progress. It will be my birthday and I’ve opted out of cooking, so we’ll stay in another of our favorite places, Mendocino, just up the coast. It will be just as peaceful, just as enlightening, but it will be an inn with a restaurant.
We’ll still bring snacks and lots of good wine.
But I might as well scratch off that weight loss goal.