Friday, April 22, 2016
Blogging from A to Z: R is for Rebaselining
During the month of April last year, I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge - one alphabet-themed post per day (except Sundays). I had such a good time with it that I'm doing it again this year. I'm loosely organized on the theme of downsizing, minimalism, and small-home living that I've learned in 14 years of living on a small boat. I'm starting with A is for Anchoring Out, Anger-ing Out, and ending with Z is for Zout and Zwarte Peper (Dutch for salt and black pepper). Click on the A to Z logo on the lower left sidebar for links to many other bloggers participating in the challenge.
"I'm going to be offline next week," my friend Jorge told me. "I'm going on vacation and I'm so jazzed -- we're going to be on a liveaboard sailboat, we'll sail to a different island every day and we can just jump off the stern to go scuba or snorkeling."
"But Jorge," I had to chuckle, "you've just described my everyday life! When I go on vacation, I want to live on land, in a fancy resort, with a big shower, and a car."
In business management, rebaselining refers to adjusting project status when a project is delayed or external conditions have changed so much that the original timeline is no longer feasible. (definition from here) Adjusting expectations when external conditions change is also a feature of long-time living aboard. Our life afloat is rich in luxury for the spirit, not so much for luxury of the body.
It's actually been kind of cool, as we've developed a new appreciation for ordinary things. Our shower is the size of a phone booth and fresh water very limited so we do water-saving "Navy showers" -- turn the water on, wet your body, turn the water off, soap up, turn the water on, rinse off. In fact on the Galeon at sea, showers were with sea water, and each crew member was rationed one gallon of fresh water in a plastic jug for final rinse off. So now, a long shower in a big shower stall, with sit-down space and all the hot water you want, is my version of a spa day. And the odd thing is, it gives me just as much pleasure as a spa would have when we lived on land ... because in each case you appreciate whatever is more luxurious than your baseline. Adjust the baseline, and it takes such little, ordinary things to make a big impact. We have a small freezer aboard, but in order to keep it cold enough to keep ice cream we would use an inordinate amount of power. So instead of being something we can grab whenever we want, ice cream becomes a special, infrequent treat to savor when we're in a new port. Same is true of fast internet, washing machine, walk-in closet, all sorts of mod cons. Amazingly, doing without these things on a regular basis has increased our happiness -- because such small things now make us happy.