Friday, September 30, 2011

Finding better circumstances

Every few years our needs and circumstances change, sometimes significantly. A place that was once wonderful for us can become a place that inhibits our growth and happiness. For example, we use to dream about the serenity of living in a pristine mountain area, hours from the nearest city. When we eventually lived in such a place we discovered that we liked shopping and socializing more than watching herds of white tail deer graze in our front lawn. Our desire to find ever better circumstances has kept us moving from one place to another throughout our adult life.

Sometimes we seek better circumstances due to an internal change like a desire for a job change, and sometimes due to an external change like an unpleasant change in the neighborhood. Every time we move it helps us to redefine our current needs and find new circumstances that support us better. Every place we live we discover something new about ourselves and those discoveries have led to a better life.

When we look to improve our circumstances, we try to find a place that is more consistent with the people we have become instead of the people we use to be. We look for synergy in our needs and desires because we have found that many beneficial things gained in a change add up to more than their individual benefits would. In the past we have moved or made changes to our circumstances to get lower housing prices, increase our income, and find a better fit with the social consciousness of a community. Our move to Hawaii allowed us to improve our access to fresh food, get more sunlight, be able to do year-round exercise, and to decrease our costs.

Over time we have created a process to improve our circumstances. First, we list the urgent needs leading to our motivation to make a change. We also list things we already have that we don’t want to lose, to make sure we don’t jump from one situation to a worse situation. That provides us a list of “must haves” and “nice to haves” in our search for a better circumstance. Next we review our assumptions to see if anything has changed or uncover an unexpected opportunity that might exist. Finally, we define what we are willing to do to change our circumstances. From there we start looking, for a new location, job, city, country or whatever change or set of changes we are looking to make. We keep track of everything we find, try to narrow down our options, research, research, research, and then double check all our findings.

We used this process when moving from Hilo to Kona on the Island of Hawaii. We wanted to move to get away from loud college students that moved in next door. We also had less urgent desires of more sunshine and less yard work. We didn’t want to lose being on the island or our close access to fresh caught fish, Hawaii grass-fed beef, and produce from Hilo’s amazing farmer’s markets. We assumed that Kona was unaffordable based on our research in 2006 and 2007, yet we discovered rents had plunged on the west side and upscale condos with awesome facilities were available at half the rent they used to be. We were willing to move from a house to a condo, give up having a garage, add more steps to the front door, pay for moving our furniture, and sign a long term lease. We surveyed the areas we liked along Ali’i drive and narrowed our options to a few complexes. We found that the potential of moving there was synergistic with many of our other desires like being close to a beach and snorkeling, having a pool and gym, being in a secure parking lot and having more shopping choices with substantially cheaper prices. We made a list of our “must haves”, like a washer and dryer and “nice to haves”, like an ocean view. Then we watched the classified ads and sure enough the perfect place appeared and we signed a lease without hesitation.

The declining economic situation in the US has us again working on our list to find better circumstances and reconsider our assumptions about the future of our finances, employability, and cost of living. We plan to preserve our positive circumstances and take advantage of any unexpected possibilities brought about by the huge changes the country is currently going through.


signalfire said...

Aloha from the Continent! I've been reading your blog for about a year now ever since my first visit to the Big Island, and I've thoroughly enjoyed it!

Congratulations on your new shelter, may it bring you new experiences and new joys!

Mahalo for the wisdom of your thoughts over the past months.


Felix said...

It is good to reevaluate our situation, but it also stops us from enjoying ourselves to the fullest. The Big Island is a place for frolicking. Too many people come here and spend there time looking back. I came here because I want to be active. I love being around people who are also active and who have a great attitude. This is something I could not get in the mainland. I love being in the water and also working in the backyard all year long. God has put in us the ability to survive and that is why we are always looking for the next best thing. Our problem is, when we find it, we need to turn this ability off. The Big Isle is the next best thing. Actually, many people are happy sitting home watching Fox news and complaining about the future with their friends. This has become normal to them and when they get to the Big Island they become lost. This place makes you face yourself and if you are happy with yourself this is the place for you. If on the other hand your not, you WILL NOT be happy here. This truly is a place for strong, self assured people.

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