Problem Solving and Aruba: Can Your Mindset Land You in a Tropical Paradise?

mehobbies & me time

When someone tells me I can't do something, I have a filter that changes their declaration into a double dog dare. I'm not talking about safety rules or laws. I’m referring to unwritten rules—the ones just waiting to be challenged.

The first example I remember occurred in high school when the AD told me I couldn't play varsity softball as a freshman. I plead my case. He insisted, "It's a rule. No freshman on varsity. Period." I supplied him with the school's athletic contract which clearly did not cite said rule, along with a list of boys— freshmen—who just happened to play for him on his varsity football team.

Guess who was the starting varsity softball pitcher that year?

That brings me to Aruba.

You need to know something about me. I am an optimistic, glass-half-full person in love with my home state of NH... nine months of the year.

I.Despise.Winter.

It is my kryptonite.

I distinctly remember being told you can't live in NH and flee winters without being wealthy or retired.

Well, ten years ago, we spent our savings on a house in Aruba with my in-laws. We were living in their basement apartment and only planned to stay a year while earning a down payment for a NH house. We stayed 3 years longer and made other sacrifices. We now have houses in Aruba and NH.

My desire to make it happen was deeply fueled by nay-sayers telling me "You can’t do that."

Instead of finding a "real" job while the kids were young, I took a telecommute position requiring only a laptop and internet. It provided flexibility, including the ability to work anywhere. I also started coaching softball to supplement our income.

People give a look when they first find out about Aruba—as if they instantly bump us up in some non-existing caste system. We are far from rich. In fact, we have been through multiple layoffs the last few years. We do what it takes to provide the lifestyle we want for our family. We live with minimal debt and try not to let money dictate our lives.

When my daughter started school, my mother told me, "You can't go taking her to Aruba every winter now. The school won't allow it."

You see where I'm going with this. Right?

I spoke with the Superintendent and teacher. We agreed she would benefit from the cultural experience. We formulated a plan to homeschool her during our two month stay. She transitioned back into the classroom upon return. It worked.

We gain so much while in Aruba, beyond warmer weather. There's exposure to other languages and culture. I volunteer my time to help build girls' softball skills and programs. Friends are now family. It's our second home.

We truly have the best of both worlds.

Whenever you are told you can't do something within your realm of possibility, I double dog dare you to answer back "Watch me!"

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Kim Grenon is a thirty-something freelance writer, social media  marketer, professional product reviewer, brand ambassador, high school  softball coach and  latte addict.  She lives with her husband, two young  kids and two dogs  on the Seacoast of NH and travels to Aruba each  winter.  She has been writing about their lives at Mommycosm since 2007  and recently launched a weekly, live web show called Mommycosm Reviews.   Follow her on Twitter @Mommycosm.

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