Beach Thoughts

Jones Island, White Oak RiverThere comes a time in most people’s lives when if they are lucky, they try to do what they want to do instead of what they have to do.  In saying that I am taking in the realities of 2011.

Often for people today doing what they want to do might not be playing golf everyday, it might be working at a job they enjoy instead of one they dread each morning. It also might mean working at a job that pays less but allows them to live in an area or spot that they love.

Maybe they are willing to give up vacations and fancy meals out to be near family or in place where family and friends love to visit.

Back in 2006, I got to the point that I was tired of living in the world of technology where your value is often in an inverse relationship to your age.  The higher your age the less you are valued.  In many tech companies, if you are over fifty-five, no matter how good you are at your job, there is a perception that it is impossible for you to stay on top of the technology.

I know a number of older people who care nothing for computers, but I also know some very technologically literate older people.  However, those of us old folks who live and breath technology are not going to change the minds of the young who already know everything so my solution was to move on to a new career or perhaps more realistically a new portfolio of jobs.

While I work at real estate, it certainly has not been a career that can support my family in what continues to be a depressed market.  So I have turned to other things to supplement our income including writing, technology consulting, and soon software services sales.  And I have chosen to do all of these things in an area that nourishes my spirit.

I love the water, and as I continue to work hard at real estate and to develop alternate sources of income, I have made a conscious effort to do my jobs in a way that lets me enjoy where I live and the people around me.

My wife is strategically involved in my real estate work, and we often work as a team with her being an active listener with clients. It is a lot more fun that way than it was at Apple when she wasn’t part of my job.

I make an effort to concentrate on clients who love the water and want to be near it.  That lets me leverage my knowledge and love of the water. I also market heavily over the Internet.  That lets me utilize my technology skills and often gives me reach to customers who might not find the area. I live to take pictures so I use those pictures to sell my talents and the listings of my clients.

I often end up with clients who love to fish and boat.  Those two things happen to be my two favorite things.  Also it is not unusual that I end up with computer literate clients since they usually find me on the Internet.

None of us are ever completely in charge of our lives, but in those areas where I have a choice, I have chosen those things that make me the happiest not the wealthiest.

If I pushed hard, I might well be able to get another high level sales job in technology.  It would involve a lot of stress, plenty of travel, and a lot of reinventing the wheel.  I might make a boatload of money, but I might also end up dead from the stress.  I have chosen another road.

On top of enjoying our lives here, there is plenty of time for family.  I get to enjoy my granddaughter, our children, and our extended family and friends.  Watching my children master the challenges of life and learn how to be good to others in their lives is a much worthier goal that obessing over how high Apple’s stock price will go.

There are afternoons here on the Southern Outer Banks where my office is either my skiff when I am fishing or my kayak when I am kayaking.  Sometimes I am standing in the surf fishing when I get a phone call.  It is not very hard to lose the stress, or tell someone you will get back to them later when a soft wind is blowing in your face, the warm Carolina sun is on your back, and a fish is pulling on the end of your line.

Life is too short to be miserable. I would rather smile a little and drive an older vehicle.  My life certainly isn’t worry free, but it is free of the kind of stress that comes from working in a technology company that is likely also a snake-pit of employees trying to out maneuver each other to the top.

When I stand on my dock each morning and survey Raymond’s Gut which leads out to the White Oak River, I don’t have to worry about irritating Steve Jobs or one of his empty suit vice presidents.  I can stand on the dock and know that I have treated everyone like I would like to be treated. Once you have reached that point, it is pretty easy to let the cards fall where they may.

If things get tough, a walk along the beach or a ride down the river will usually cure it.  If enjoying life can be considered a benefit, I have all the benefits that I need, and I never have trouble falling asleep at night.