The Timeline…

“Are we there yet?”

You know that season when the children are way too small to understand time and distance, yet big enough to ask the question of whether or not we are there yet… over and over and over? It’s a standard adult/parent joke because it is such a constant across cultures and countries. The never-ending nag from the back seat.

And yet, how often do we do that ourselves? In our own journeys whether it be in career steps, life goals, or healing processes (whether physical, spiritual or emotional). We often ask those a few steps ahead if we are there yet. We are impatient, but perhaps for good reason? We want the good stuff to be here and now.

As we well and truly have launched ourselves into our second half of adulthood, without nagging by any means, the most common question at the moment is “Are you there yet?”

“Send us the photos of Malta!”

“Do you have a house yet?”

“Where are you?”

I have absolutely no idea of when we will “there” yet, but in the meantime, here is the basic timeline for the rest of this year:

July & August:

The biggest thing we missed while on the corporate treadmill was the children. An average of less than 2 weeks a year simply didn’t cut it. A lot of people have asked us why we don’t just move to be with them now and the answer is long and for another day, but the first thing we need to do is to be with them. To sink into some real, relaxed time with them (without him being on the phone and checking his emails and messages all the time), and to just be for a while. This immediate season also happens to include the imminent birth of grandchild number four! Due next week, on my birthday, and named after me, this little one is easily as much anticipated as her cousins all were… So expect pics and notes and learnings to all come from Australia during these two months.

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September:

At the end of August, we will arrive in Malta with a suitcase each (and his bicycle). We will only really know if I packed well enough in June when we open these suitcases and live out of them in an Airbnb for a month. We plan to land having already scoured the rental and buyers market from afar, and God willing, we will find somewhere to call our home, a little nest, or our Base Camp pretty quickly, an address to send to the shipping company who currently has all our earthly belongings on board a ship on an ocean somewhere. Expect our posts to come from all over Malta for the month of September.

October:

By the end of that month, we should have found our Base Camp, signed all the papers, and will need to wait for settlement (and who knows how long that will take). But the Kombi should be well and truly ready and waiting for us in the UK, so we’ll hopefully buy a cheap local plane ticket to London, pick up the van, spend a week or so tweaking her, testing her, and loading up the stuff we sent ahead of time. Things like bedding, a set of plastic crockery and cutlery and so on. Then we have the rest of the month to make our way from the UK to Malta.

It sounds like a long journey but Google tells us it’s only a few days. We plan on taking the slower route however and we will work out the details closer to the time. It will be her maiden voyage so we hope it will be special in lots of ways, and there will be a few work opportunities along the way too, so there is no hurry. We will have wifi, solar panels, and a very comfy bed, so we are really excited about this month on the road.

Expect posts from the UK, France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy for the month of October!

November:

Presumably Base Camp will be ready sometime in early November so we need to be back in Malta by then to collect the container of belongings we packed up at the end of June. It will be the first time we have residence of any country or a semi-permanent home in over four months and it will be good to unpack and settle in. But it won’t be for long!

He leaves for a few weeks in Israel late November. A trip which came out of nowhere and one he would not have been able to do while he was still working. Our youngest son Ben is a Pastor in Perth and will be making the trip as part of his studies. A gap came up that fits in with Doug’s studies as well, so there is major excitement around here for the father and son study buddies and roommate team.  A perfect bonding opportunity and a time to reset some of the things that were missed out on in previous years.

December:

The boys will return home mid-December. Ben to Perth and Doug of course to Malta where hopefully I will have made some headway into making Base Camp into a special nest. One of the things we said we would never do again is travel without each other… well that failed on day one when we each flew to Perth on a different day. But I guess some rules were never going to work anyway…

He will only be home a few days and we will head off to Australia again for the Christmas season. More exciting news coming up there, but you’ll have to wait for that!

I feel like we’ll blink and it’ll be the end of the year already….

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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@JPeaSmith

Redeeming Rhythms

One of the very first steps to our second half is all about “redeeming our rhythms”. Most people look at me blankly when I tell them this and you’re going to hear about them a lot, so maybe I should explain…

Redemption: The action of regaining or gaining possession. Or, the action of saving or being saved from something.

Redemption is a rather old-fashioned word, but I love it. It is about claiming, reclaiming, ownership, and in a very positive way, taking back control. We plan to regain possession of our time, to set aside many traditional constraints, but also to reign in and save ourselves from the ways in which life could disappear.

For us, this Second Half concept is extremely intentional. It would be so easy, the moment we “retired”, to just go with the flow and follow where life leads us. There is a lot that is wonderful about that, but unless we are purposeful, we could easily find ourselves a couple of years down the track, feeling quite lost. We don’t want to be collecting seashells, we want to build purpose and meaning, and unless we prepare well, that won’t happen on its own.

Many of the rhythms of life are chosen for us, by our work and family commitments, our sleep patterns and our health, and even our social lives and the people we hang out with. Life feels out of control for many of us exactly for this reason, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

On the other hand, by retiring, when many of these rhythms are stripped away, we can do the opposite and float away aimlessly. Through the decades we have had so many problems with the lack of balance in Doug’s life and they have come at great cost to all of us (including him), and we want to change this, but not go the other way.

He has started studying, we love to travel, and there is much healing work to be done. We want to see more of the children and grandchildren, and we need to “find ourselves” (though I struggle with the term). We thoroughly enjoyed publishing my first book and part of the great mission of our Second Half is to tell our story and to publish it. It’s a redemption story itself, so watch this space! I have been writing full time for the last couple of years but that has all been put aside the last six months as the packing up of our lives has unfolded. We are both busting to get back into it, to publish the first three books over the next year or so. And in case you didn’t know, he’s an amazing publisher.

The two days since “retirement” we have been completely discombobulated with jet lag, exhaustion, emotion and excitement, illness, stress, and more, and so for both us, we are keen to begin the process of redeeming those rhythms ASAP.

Structuring in Quiet Time, exercise, writing time… setting the odd deadline and expressing and sorting through our goals. Neither of us grew up in worlds where we were allowed to express our needs, so we also have ways in which we are learning to do this. It’s harder than you think when you don’t know how to do it…

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith