For more than a hundred years, people have used the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words.” While the origin of the phrase isn’t entirely clear—it was likely an advertising slogan—the saying itself has staying power, because it’s true. Even a simple picture can tell a story. Professional photographers understand this concept and create pictures that—through composition, focus, framing, and many other techniques—capture a moment or experience… all in a single frame.
Prior to the digital age, photography was an interest of mine. I eventually got caught up in other pursuits—including work, rental properties, and debt snowballs—so my photography hobby waned. However, I still enjoy snapping a picture on occasion. Being on the other side of the camera is fun, too, and in one case has really got me to thinking.
It all started a few weeks ago, just as Dianne and I boarded a cruise ship to celebrate my 55th birthday…
There Are at Least a Thousand Words to this Story
This was an important milestone for me that has been in the works for years. Folks who have been reading this blog will certainly begin to get a sense of our journey over the past couple of years. We have been striving to reach debt freedom and FIRE.
I think it might be interesting to break this picture down into multiple components, in order to get a better and more personal glimpse of our journey.
The Picture’s Original Purpose
My intention was to send the picture to my two co-workers, thanking them for covering for me and letting them know that I had named each drink in their honor. I shall now proceed to consume those said drinks and start our vacation.
The back story is that my wife and I had spent at least two weeks debating about whether we should buy the all-inclusive drink package for $49 a day plus tips. I would buy it and we would “game the system” ordering drinks that I would bring to her. I had these thoughts of the cruise line’s “big data analytics” beginning to flag our account due to a pattern. Why is it that Bryan orders a whiskey cocktail and a red wine every other time? That sure seems like a weird drink combination. I’m hard-wired to make sure I get my ROH and money’s worth with any deal. We didn’t buy the drink package and, in fact, these were the only margaritas we had on the trip.
My First Reaction to the Picture
The first thing I thought when I saw the photo: “Damn, when the hell did I get so fat?” I have to go on a diet and get into better shape. I bet I am at the heaviest weight I have ever been. I am afraid to step on our electronic BMI scale, fearing the display would scroll, “You’re fat now get off of me already.”
We have committed to ourselves that healthy eating, exercise, and losing weight will be our number one priority this year. As I mentioned previously, it is hard to do more than three things well at the same time, however this will be one of them. I have responded to the stresses of our finances and downsizing by putting comfort food in my mouth, which has remained slathered as a fat layer on my body due to lack of exercise.
My Next Reactions…
I am happily married!
We will be celebrating our eighth wedding anniversary this year. I am happy and blessed that I found a person like Dianne. She and I share so many of the same dreams and goals. That is a great place to be in a marriage!
I have always liked this shirt on her—it matches her blue eyes.
She is smiling because she can’t believe the awesome room we scored for the cruise.
We’re on a Cruise!
I enjoy slow travel and this certainly qualifies. Like the turtle that carries his shell with him, we had to carry our things to and from Mexico for a week. All of this travel at a whopping speed ranging from about 15 to 25 miles per hour.
It has been nearly one year to the day since we were on our last cruise. I have the urge to travel and want to change our cruising experiences to twice a year. In the next article, I will go into more depth about this particular cruise experience. Suffice it to say, it was our best yet for various reasons soon to be shared.
My Wife Loves Her Earrings!
We bought her tanzanite earrings a year ago in Belize at the cruise line’s private island. Dianne loves them and wears them most of the time.
As a surprise on this cruise, we went into the jewelry store together and I bought her a nice necklace and pendant. The sales associate asked, “Is this for a special occasion?” I replied, “Well yes, it’s my birthday!” It really is better to give than to receive.That purchase created a memorable experience for both of us.
About 20 Feet Above Was the Jumbo-tron
I am a fair-weather Denver Broncos fan. I admit I was a diehard fan for years when I lived in Colorado. The entire state essentially shut down when the Broncos won their first Super Bowl.
The ship had a gigantic video display directly above us, broadcasting the Super Bowl. I watched about two-thirds of the game. I was hesitant at first because I did not want to be depressed again, especially if the team lost like last time – in an epic fashion. I have to tell you this was a great game to watch, even from a part-time fan perspective. It also was the most football I have watched all year.
A Contrasting Glimpse into Our Personal Finances
The frugal me: This is the very last picture of me wearing that shirt. It ended up in the trash days later since the collar finally wore through—matching the other two holes in various places. My clothes cannot be given to Goodwill because they are so worn that they would only work as rags. I am guessing I bought this shirt 20 years ago for $15. The color began fading a decade ago, and I still wore it hundreds more times. My lifetime cost for the shirt is probably a couple pennies per wear. (Note this cost.)
The thoughtful and planning me: Over a month ago, we became completely debt free, including our passive income rental properties. This is my first cruise from which I came home to zero debt. What a journey that has been, fraught with our share of challenges!
We booked and paid for this cruise six months ago. We received a shipboard credit from our travel agent and the cruise line by taking advantage of a couple offers that I will mention in the next article.
Me spending money like a drunken sailor: On the other end of the spending spectrum, look at the new watch on my left wrist. (Evidently, they’re called “timepieces” when you spend this much; my last watch was $100). It was a joint birthday present from my wife and me, to me. It is a bucket list item that I have desired for 24 years.
I decided months back that I would stop trying to talk myself out of buying it and just do it. My fuzzy math tells me that I will get down to a couple pennies per use (each occurrence is when I check to see the time). Hey, it only cost 400 times more than my first car. I plan to leave this to my son-in-law as a legacy in our family. Our downsizing and investments have put us into a position where this is now a rounding error in relation to our net worth.
I will forever remember this birthday. We created lasting memories on this trip by spending money on both things and experiences.
Completing the Explanation of My More-than-a-thousand-words Picture on a Positive Note
I’ll conclude by sharing the things I feel are blessings in my life. While I could use at least a thousand words, I’ll keep it to the most important:
- I have a beautiful, wonderful wife.
- No hair loss for me; my barber says that I am one of the lucky few.
- We came back from the vacation well rested!
- Our new downsized home looked like a mansion compared to our cruise cabin room.
- Spring has sprung in Sedona! The temperature is reaching the mid 70s each day.
Thanks for reading along as I’ve described the significance of this photograph. This is something that came to me on a hike today as I was struggling with writer’s block about what would be interesting to discuss with our readers.
I hope you have been enjoying our journey as we share aspects of our confusing, paradoxical, yet enjoyable life. Thanks for reading.
Have you ever really looked at picture in this way before? Are we over-thinking things here at Just One More Year?
Image copyright : Constantin Stanciu (Follow)