Give me some latitude and let me share my thoughts on this
Are you more comfortable in a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops (assuming you need to have something on your feet in the first place)? Do you own more beer koozies than coats? What about hair? You okay with a hat, or pulling it back into a ponytail? If you are shaking your head in agreement you are my people. Let’s talk about our lifestyle for a moment shall we?
The other day I went shopping at the outlets; my annual pre-summer cloths buying trip. On my list was a new pair of flip-flops and a few shorts. That’s it. I dress casually every day living on the Gulf Coast. Like most of you I do have ‘normal’ cloths. They are just pushed into the back of my closet. The problem is I don’t like ‘normal’ cloths. Many of my t-shirts are free giveaways from rum and beer companies. Now that’s fashion and value.
Don’t think for a minute that I am being unmindful of reality here. I own multiple custom tailored suits and shirts, required by my previous career running ‘sophisticated’ companies. I earned a top-shelf MBA, society expected me to go down that path. I even have my own Hickey Freeman custom tuxedo, WTF, seriously? There are shoes for my feet hand made in Italy. You don’t want to know how much I wasted on those. Not only are cloths like this expensive, they are damn uncomfortable. What is so civilized about spending $250 on a tie to wrap around your neck so you can’t breath? I’d rather see a woman in a bikini rather than fancy lingerie or high heels any day. You agree with me don’t you?
It’s all a huge waste of money and resources in order to fit into the ‘normal’ life. My wardrobe upgrade cost me around $300 the other day. A new suit, shirt, tie combo for one day in the rat race (good ones) will cost you well over $1,000. So I get a whole summer out of $300 or one day out of $1,000. No wonder you have to make so much money to live the ‘normal’ life.
My issue isn’t with making money. I’d take a few million over being poor any day. Why do you think I write this dribble and hope you read it? The difference is I’ll buy a big ass sailboat and stock it with rum, not a bigger house in the newest McNeighborhood. Same with you right? We don’t want to keep up with the Joneses; we want to sail away from them.
There are countless people caught up in the ‘normal’ life that would love to live the island life but they think they can’t afford it; you might be one of them. What I think is you can’t afford not to. If you like the ‘normal’ life, you probably haven’t read this far and I don’t get you anyway. Otherwise, give me some latitude and let me share my thoughts on this.
A few years back I almost left Florida (again) for a job in Silicon Valley. My kids were going to attend Palo Alto high so I had to live in Palo Alto (expensive). The jobs I was considering were your typical high-tech leadership roles. Sounds dreamy right?
After returning to the Gulf Coast and looking at the numbers, I realized I could make very little and live a much richer life. Not just financially either. With no traffic, I don’t waste my life in a car or on gas. That’s more time to make rum drinks and tell lies to my friends at the Tiki Bar. I’m home for my family and I get to keep my kids away from being programmed into the ‘normal’ life, at least for now. And who says there is not such thing as a free dinner? I catch mine in Gulf all the time.
If you don’t have to waste so much of your life making money to buy stupid shit and wasting your time getting to your place of work imagine where you would be. In the islands of course. It’s no wonder why those of us who live this life have extra time to enjoy a sunset, sleep off a rum soaked night and have more meaningful relationships with friends and loved ones.
The protestant work ethic of our fore fathers ostracizes those who are considered lazy or slovenly. I happen to agree with that concept. What I don’t like is that ‘normal’ society somehow thinks that just because we have dress t-shirts and a perpetual tan that we don’t work hard. We do. We just don’t have all the friction in or island lifestyle giving us more fun time and less stress.
Some might think those of us who live the salty life are uncultured, coastal rednecks if you will. First I’d defend any redneck, there are more rednecks than cultured folk anyhow. Second people who live along the coast and in the islands are some of the most travelled and cultured people in history. It is the brave sailor who sets a course across the ocean to worlds unknown or unfamiliar. Cities by the sea are made up of huge cross sections of people from far away lands. Each of us is cut from a similar mold. I know many people who have never ventured out of their frozen land locked hometown.
I think it’s just jealousy, or stupidity. I think we get it and they don’t. I think if you like the cold weather and $1,000 suits come down and visit. We will give you a glimpse of the good life as a tourist and send your sunburned ass on your way. We’ll welcome you with open arms every time. Thank you very much.
You hear my philosophy of fun, my daiquiri doctrine don’t you? I’m not too far off base here am I? If you hear my siren song, sell the house, pack up the family and head somewhere south. If we run into each other the first rum is on me. I’ll even tell you some cool places to buy t-shirts and flip-flops.