July 25 – East Coast – Mau Mau Island – another disappearing place I visit, and how to change your default from work to life
Orion creates the Battle of Mau Mau Island. You make a boat out of junk, you put on a costume, you bring it out, and you get towed out to a flotilla of other junk boats, and various sailboats that people now live on and abandoned boats that are more frequent than you may imagine as slip fees are rather high…
The day is full of wrestling, stealing flags and people generally having a great time being around each other.
It’s one of my favorite events of the year. We make our own island, we eat, drink, play, work our asses off (boats are hard, and junk boats are no exception), look like heroes and monsters and vagabonds, and then it all disappears. There was no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, and the only proof there may be a big bruise that shows through your sun burn, and some very junk you will send back into the ether where you found it.
I was talking to my friend who also does/n’t believe in different planes and higher and lower levels of understanding, about giving alternate realities for people to explore. I think I sort of broke the code with this: For those of us who need to re-imagine ourselves, the best workshop is alternate realities. It lets us put ourselves up on the lift and muck around with the parts.
Andrew probably has a thing or two to say about that…
The flotilla stayed the night, to continue the event the next. But, I left just after sunset. We left on a skiff, that was running out of gas, looking for the other skiff that was adrift as it already had run out of gas, as well as to pick someone up somewhere, the only thing we knew for sure was she had a dog with here. Orion was piloting the boat. I was joined by several ladies dress as cannibals, going back to their car, but parked at another drop site from ours. We had no lights, but that of a cell phone of someone sitting at the front of the boat, holding an ex-girlfriend of mine who’s eyes were all daggers for me. We had just dropped off a load of other people and picked up three more, who were far past sober. The confusion in that landing was immense. So, I suggested that we all start yelling commands at the same time at the top of our lungs, since that is what we were sort of doing anyhow. It was cathartic. And hysterical.
Sitting in the boat, moving at outboard speeds, the person holding the till drunk, the boat with no lights, the riders with either implied and hopeful murder for me / / / the waves in the moonlight seemed so beautiful to me in the dark. It’s hard to express the love I had at that moment for all of it. This is going to be a cherished memory for years. This was a hijacked version of Charon’s boat ride, not taking me to the land of the dead, but letting me know I was truly alive and grateful for it. It was the balance point that sat between the past of a great day of sunshine and camaraderie and salt and cold and naked and profane to a future of cheeseburgers and fries and a warm dry bed.
I hope you get to have such beauty in your life.
Tod linked to these great photos of the event: https://instagram.com/explore/tags/battleformaumau/
– For long long distances of highway driving, books on tape is my favorite way to go. For me the trance state of books on tape and highway driving match very well!
– I can’t recommend the Garmin GPS enough! Not only does it give smart directions, I love that my cell phone messages don’t pop up while I am navigating!
– I didn’t bring a boat, as I was part of Team Spider. I did bring turkey legs to share:
There is a reason why they call it a joint of meat. Take a hit, and pass it…
– A friends roommate has heard about me, and told me she is trying to figure out her career. I gave her my standard advice for people who don’t want to have a life where work is the default mode:
> Know your number –
What is the lowest income level you can be happy and comfortable at? Including paying all of your bills, saving, putting some away for retirement? Pick that number, and stick with it for as long as you can, and live like that is all you make even if you make more.
The trap you avoid by doing this is always wanting more. And more has no end. It is just a spiral up and up and up, and there is NEVER enough. Most people want as much as they can get. And those people will never be satisfied.
The trick then is to be happy with a certain number, and LIVE WELL at that number.
And when you do make more than your number? You use that money to buy yourself more free time. Maybe you splurge a bit, within you means. (You let yourself get that magazine subscription, not the diamond tennis bracelet.)
It means saying you can’t get stuff, but that’s okay, because you get to not work to ENJOY WHAT YOU HAVE.
Oh yeah. Don’t get into consumer debt. Pay all of that off ASAP. And pay off your credit cards once a month. Better yet, at the end of every week.
> How to save money –
Set up a checking account and two savings accounts, one for short term savings, the other for long term savings.
When you get money, always put it into your short term savings account. Then, give yourself an allowance in to your checking to last you to the next pay period. You can blow that on whatever you want: clothes, food, parties, stuff. But once it is gone, no more.
You leave the rest in your short term savings. This is where you keep your rent money, utility money, student loan money and what ever money you are saving. You can dip in if you have to. But, really try not to. Because you have a savings goal! And you want to get to that goal as quick as you can!
Once you hit your savings goal, you move the money in to long term savings. This account you never take the money out of. That is, until you want to buy a house, or start a business or retire. It’s a long term thing. So, how do you make this savings fun? Think about all of the DUMB THINGS YOU WANTED AND DIDN’T BUY. As you see your accounts rise, it’s like watching a video game score rise. But, that number? That number actually lets you control your life.
> You have two “bank accounts” – dollars and dinners
I take a lot of time off, and have a lot of great experiences, and meet a lot of people. But it isn’t frivolous.
I think everyone has two bank accounts: one denominated in dollars, one denominated in dinners. The “dollars” account is the one you keep in a bank. The “dinners” is the number of people who would buy you dinner when you are down on your luck. When I take time off, I am actively working on the dinners account – I try to help build my community and my friends, so that we all are stronger.
> The reason to work is to make money.
People will tell you to do what you love. To follow your passion. And they are not wrong. But another way to look at is do what gets you the most money the fastest, so you can make a bunch, and then go and do the stuff you love without getting someone to pay you to do it. That may mean doing something you don’t really like for short periods of time to finance your thing. Boring private sector jobs can pay well. If you can swing them, they can get you money. The trick then is not to see them as the only thing in your life. I freelance to make this happen for me.
I love talking about this stuff. If you ever want to discuss life planning, let me know…
– I like that I practice a sort of woo: it starts off on the “head in the clouds way”, but ends up in business plans and financial models.
– Sleeping in the rest stop is something I never did before, but I had to driving home. After a power nap, I was good to go!