Cliff Diving, Anyone?

December 20, 2010

That’s sort of what this has felt like. Cliff Diving.

Charlie and I are in the process of selling our house. We’re in escrow. You know how it is- it’s not over until it’s over. But, it’s looking like a go. People keep asking us why. It’s complicated. On paper, the decision doesn’t make sense. Buying high and selling low isn’t what you’re supposed to do.

We’re putting the puzzle together without the box lid this time.

We’ve been heading in this direction for quite some time. When we came home from L’Abri two years ago, we had this odd experience of walking into our house and not really feeling connected to it. It felt really big after having lived in a one bedroom/one bath private space for two months, or a hotel room, or a tent. And expensive. It felt really, really expensive.

Charlie’s vocation is a piece of the puzzle. Charlie has fancy degrees. Up to this point, he’s made well-planned career moves. Strategic moves to round out his resume. Moves that had him moving up the corporate ladder. Moving up the ladder means more money, but it also means more time away from family. He’s also been struggling for the last year with GI issues, which are exacerbated by stress. We want a different path. This desire for a different path is one of the big reasons why we’re selling our house.

Charlie used a great illustration last night. He said “It’s like we’ve been on the 5 freeway, and we’ve gotten off. We’re in the middle of a field rolling over rows of corn. We’re not sure of our destination, but we’re pretty sure that it’s going to be good.”

So, why are we selling our house when we don’t have a plan? I guess the best explanation is that it’s a first step. Shedding our expensive house opens up all kinds of options for us. Because we’ll no longer have the huge mortgage, Charlie doesn’t have to make so much money. It’s freeing.

There’s a lot that we don’t know right now. But, we also have some things that we do know.

We do know that we want out of the Silicon Valley grind.
We do know that we want to reduce our expenses.
We do know that we want a way to make money that adds something to human kind- redemptive work.
We do know that we want Charlie to have time with our kids while they’re still little.
We do know that people are more important than stuff, or careers, or status.

So, this is a first step. On paper, it doesn’t make sense. But, it makes sense to our souls. After the initial freak out over the financial loss, we’re ecstatic. And we can’t wait to see what comes next.

A caveat on cliff diving. While it may feel to us like we’re cliff diving, the reality is that we aren’t. It’s still a safe, albeit unconventional move. Between us, we have four degrees and lots of marketable experiences and skills. We’re not going to starve, and we’re not going to be homeless. So, mom and dad, try not to worry :-).

Image by Doug Mcneall via flickr used under a Creative Commons


6 Responses to “Cliff Diving, Anyone?”

  1. lauren Says:

    congratulations, this is so exciting! i sold my san francisco house for the same reason 3 years ago. unfortunately i’m still working on phase two (the escape from SV high tech). i’m shooting for february for that.

    i’ll be pulling for you.

  2. Robin Johnson Simpson Says:

    Thanks Lauren! We’re excited. Keep us posted on your next move. We’re still trying to figure that piece out, as well.

  3. Christine Says:

    What an exciting new chapter you are embarking on! Wishing you the best as you make steps toward achieving the vision you have for your family. Rooting for you form the cyber side lines.

  4. Denise Says:

    Hurrah! and Kudos! I’ve left house money on the table, too. It was far more important to move my life forward. I don’t regret the choice at all. And I didn’t even have so many of the values pieces in mind as you do.

    I bet that soaring, free feeling is going to happen for you again and again. I send you all my very best wishes.

  5. Andy Says:

    Tennessee is a lot less expensive than California…hint hint. Congrats on the sale of your house. The truth about cliff diving is that it really isn’t diving into the unknown…they time the dive so that they always land in the crest of a wave(deep water), i.e. it’s safe. Launching into the unknown is both exciting and scary. Yours and Charlie’s educations provide you with some deep water to dive into so, I know that you’ll both do great at that next great adventure.

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