After Several Months, We Finally Made a Point to Go Stand in the Ocean
Despite living in Southern California for several months, and being only a short distance from the beach, Aaron and I had not, yet, taken the time to go stand in the ocean. (As a matter of fact, the first, and only, time we had even gone to beach since moving here was during a surprise visit from my parents. We drove them through Newport Beach and some of the neighboring cities – Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Huntington Beach – because they wanted to see the area around us. At one point, we stopped in Laguna Beach, got out, sat on park benches, looked at the waves, talked for awhile, and sipped Coca-Colas. They caught us up on some of the things happening back in Missouri and went over their plans for the next few years.)
It’s not that we didn’t want to make time for recreation – we very much did. Rather, we figured it would be better to devote ourselves to getting everything spun-up on the West Coast as quickly as possible, doing as much of the heavy lifting as we could handle upfront so it could be done and behind us. To make this happen, we turned our productivity into a game of sorts, challenging ourselves to hit certain achievements by specific deadlines. Tracking our days in a spreadsheet comes in particularly handy. For example, I’d have to pull it up to double check but I believe that as of today, it was:
- 178 days ago when we were sitting at our desks in Missouri and decided to fly to California to decide whether or not we wanted to live there or Chicago to complete gestational surrogacy. We made a decision to opt for the former within a few days of arriving, as I later explained when I walked you through how we weighed the pros and cons of choosing a new home based upon our unique opportunity costs and trade-offs.
- 130 days ago when we officially took possession of our apartment in Newport Beach.; and
- 78 days ago when we, and our asset management firm, officially made California our new home.
The feeling of accomplishment we have is enormous. During that brief window of time, we completely ripped apart our lives and business in order to rebuild them so that we can be where we want to be in one year, five years, ten years, and fifty years. There is a shared vision for what our family, and the firm, look like in the future. We have pursued it with a laser-like focus that, at times, required us to override our emotions and push through even when we wanted to sleep or stop. We were relentless. We were exacting. In the end, it has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We still have a lot to do but we can now feel ourselves settling into more of a routine. It took a lot to get the momentum started but now the snowball is rolling down the hill, gathering more snow.
That means we are starting to have a return to normalcy; to be able to take a few hours during the evening or on a weekend to see a movie or eat at a restaurant without the need to go back to our desks for a second or third shift that ends before the sun rises (it is not lost on me that I am writing this to you at 2:27 a.m., PST. Still, we’ve made progress.) It’s a nice feeling. Yes, there is still probably another six months, at least, during which we have to make significant sacrifices in our personal schedule, but when all is said and done, there is no doubt it is, and was, worth it. All of it. The time, the expense, the stress. Hands down. No question. We’d do it again in a heartbeat.
At this point, we must force ourselves to make deliberate choices. On Saturday, October 6th, despite the temptation to keep working after what many people would consider a full day at our desks, we decided we had to make ourselves do it. We put on beach shorts, grabbed our sandals, and threw our reading material into a bag – Aaron opted for a Kindle and I chose an actual physical paper annual report – before heading to the Corona del Mar State Beach. That particular beach is essentially down the street from where we live and we hadn’t, yet, been able to explore it. We weren’t entirely sure what to expect. After all, the idea of being able to head down to the water is a foreign one given that we grew in the land of corn fields and cattle.
It was surreal. We live here now. We kept looking at each other asking why it took us so long to take this step. At one point, we wandered up onto some rocks between two different parts of the beach. This is a brief glimpse of what we saw. As I’ve said about so many things since the move, it doesn’t do it justice. I wish you all could have experienced what it felt like – the sunlight, the breeze, the sound of the water. As it grew darker, there were fire pits so you had that wonderful scent of burning firewood. Older people were driving remote controlled cars. Groups of high school and college students were hanging out, in many cases eating pizza or playing volleyball. There was a church group baptizing people in the ocean. There were little kids running through the waves as they crashed onto the sand. Men and women were walking their dogs along the coastline. It was life and wonderful. We ended up finding a spot, reading, then walking out to the water, where we let it run over our legs.