Each year on January 1st for the past 15 years, or so, I have updated a spreadsheet tracking our savings for the little sailing adventure gig we have planned. January 1st is a big day in our house. It begins with a hearty breakfast followed by an annual event that has never been missed in our 100 years of marriage. I honestly don’t remember how long we have actually been married, but it’s a darn long time. This ritual we practice is so significant; the world as we know it would cease to exist if we did not partake in our annual sacrament. What is it each year on this special day we must do that is so very important? We watch the Rose Bowl Parade. We have no interest in sports or the teams playing in the Rose Bowl but for as long as I have known Cindy, she has loved this parade. One year I surprised her with a trip to Pasadena and a front row seat to the parade. I scored a lot of points that year. Oh, and on a side note, the floats smell fabulous as they pass by. If you ever get a chance to go to this parade, it is quite simply magnificent. Cindy has made me a fan. Meanwhile, back at the spreadsheets; in the afternoon on this day, I spent a few hours looking at the actual amount of money we saved for the year and then made projections for the next year. Included at the end of the sheet is our target date and a “magic number” we need for our savings to hit in order go sailing. From this we could determine if we were going to hit our goal. This all sounds very nerdy but, I assure you the spreadsheet is quite simplistic. However, something odd happened this year. I began the rather robotic task of reviewing the last year and changing my projections to actual amounts for the previous year. I would feel good about the previous year if we exceeded the projection amount and pout the rest of the day if we missed. 2008 was a particularly hard year to swallow as like many others in the world we watched our net worth substantially shrink. Ouch! So, this January 1st the practice had just become habitual. I have been doing this for years. And then like I said, the oddity. It dawned on me I had run out of columns for projections of future years. In other words, there was no more time for the money to grow. Just go sailing. I stared at the spreadsheet and found it kind of hard to believe the time to go was finally here. No more projections. The goal was achieved. I know what you are probably thinking as you read this: Mark, you stupid idiot – you bought a boat – of course it’s time to go. Well, there is that. It’s a little hard to explain this momentary epiphany. But, the numbers have a way of telling the truth. I stared at the sheet for a little while. I am not embarrassed to admit my face bore a childlike smile. I pulled Cindy to the computer screen and said, “Look, we ran out of columns. This is the year. Let’s go sailing”.
Now looking ahead into 2013; this is a big year for us. Remember our very simple 3-step plan of 1) save a lot of money 2) buy a boat and 3) go sailing? Well this is rapidly becoming a reality. We can check off step one and two. Accomplished! We have a few little things to do before step three. Little tiny things like: sell the house, nothing major. Piece of cake!