Ending, a new beginning

Paul and I are starting to think about retirement. Over the last several months, we received several generous offers for our business. Which, after much contemplation, we declined.

We were thinking of working for another 5 to 7 years, selling our business, and retiring. Then we had a day where we had absolutely nothing to do for 3 whole hours. We were bored. We just about went stir crazy. I was thinking of throwing food on the floor so I had something to clean…or braving into the dark realms of my teenagers’ rooms with a vacuum cleaner..

Then we asked each other how we would handle being retired with days to fill with nothing. So we decided that we would most likely work forever and just slowly cut back our hours until we were ready to sell…not a bad plan..

Then something happened…we had an auction as a fundraiser for our church. We put a 3 hour sunset sailboat ride on the auction block. It went for $400. After that, we had another bidder come up to us and ask if we would take them for a 3 hour ride if they offered $400 to the church. Really?? Seriously??

Then the idea started to trickle back into my brain…Let’s retire after the kids leave and start another business.

When our start up business was in its infancy, we could never leave it. For the first couple of years, Paul was a one man show. That meant the day our last baby was born, Paul had to leave the hospital and go to work.

In the beginning years, Paul had to have major surgery which required a week hospital stay. He was supposed to take at least a month off of work. He called clients from his hospital bed. Right after he got home, I drove him to the office everyday. I helped him walk up and down the steps one at a time wincing in pain. Then I came back and picked him up at the end of the day.

He went to the office with strep. Some nights he worked until 10 PM.

Finally his hard work paid off and he was able to hire an employee. After the first employee left and the kids were old enough for school, I joined him. Then we hired a few more people. We really didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t even have an employee handbook.

This past week we had an employee oversleep her 1 PM shift. I’ve had to come back early from vacation to cover for people. Sometimes having employees is like parenting. They are great people, but managing creates a lot of stress and frustration in my life. It requires disciplining, hand holding, encouraging, instructing, and being the one who makes difficult decisions. That’s what you get when your name is one the door.

Maybe when I am done parenting, I would like to be done managing people too.

So it got me to thinking about retirement again. Paul and I always talked about starting a new business doing sailboat chartering. We could sell our business, pay off our debt, and start a new company. Apparently there is a market for it. Then we could get back to working together alone again.

Once the kids leave home, it is still on the table. We would buy a bigger sailboat. Paul would get his captain license. I could do all of the scheduling. I would take pictures and write about the experiences of the people sailing with us and make a scrapbook for them of their adventures. Paul is an excellent chef…he would do the cooking, I would do the cleaning. On days of bad weather, Paul and I are amateur actors. He also plays guitar while I sing. We like to laugh and tell stories. We like to listen and learn about the lives of others.

It wouldn’t be a big money making venture, but it would be fun.

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