Our family skipped Christmas this year. I first realized that when I returned from Hawaii on January 6. White twinkle and icicle lights strung from guttering sparkled in the chilly evening air. Multi-colored mini bulbs wrapped around shrubs and trees glowed in snow covered yards.
Except at our home. Our flight had departed from Minneapolis on December 16th. Jody and I had decided to not put up any holiday lights. Not even an artificial Christmas tree. Decorations stayed stored in the garage rafters.
In Whalers Village on Maui, we had our picture taken in front of the Christmas tree and noticed the island-style holiday decorations adorning hotel fronts.
On Christmas day there weren’t any presents. Instead, each person was to buy a $20 gift in Hawaii for the steal, switch, gift exchange dice game.
Our Hawaii experience was the gift: surf lessons, visiting a cat sanctuary on the island of Lanai, glass blowing, ATV tour, whale watching, hang gliding, a luau, and most important, being together.
Absent was any questioning if there were going to be Christmas presents. Absent was the stress of gift buying. Absent for me was any depression or negative feelings from past memories of the holidays.
It was after our trip that I started reading Die With Zero, written by Bill Perkins.
The premise of the book is to maximize your life enjoyment rather than on maximizing your wealth. Focus on generating memorable life experiences. Live life to the fullest. Don’t wait until you’re too old to be able to enjoy doing things.
Jody and I have taken many vacation trips with Juan and Crystel. I’ve included activities that we haven’t done before. We invite their friends. We generate memories.
I was so taken by this book that I purchased one for Jody, Juan, and Crystel. This summer we are planning on returning to Guatemala. Crystel and I will do a month-long homestay and attend Spanish school. Jody, Juan and his girlfriend will join us for the 5th week. We will visit with both birth families. Juan will introduce his girlfriend to his birth mom. All of us will revisit the best of Guatemala. (We’ve vacationed in Guatemala five times).
Juan’s 21st birthday is in July. Crystel’s 21st birthday in September. Their gift will be our Guatemala experience.
Jody and I are planning to hike across Spain in the spring of 2024 (before I forget any Spanish). We’ll check in with the kids from time to time. We wouldn’t want them to worry. I view my age from 65-75 as being the healthiest for hiking, traveling, and seeing the country. If we don’t have the kid’s inheritance spent (the book says that optimal age for receiving inheritance is between ages 26-35) – Juan and Crystel will be at the prime age for receiving our inheritance when we finally start to slow down.
There are a lot of holidays to skip between now and then. Many adventures, experiences, and memories to generate.