Budget and dreaming are words that feel out of place together in the same sentence, but indeed if you’re going to make a big project come true, you’d better be able to pay for it. More to the point, you’d better want to pay for it. And keep wanting to pay for it until it’s done.
One of the things that happened within months of buying the villa is that we suddenly found ourselves having to move back to Canada. We’d bought the place assuming we were going to continue living in Milan, but alas the working world didn’t cooperate. As a result, all kinds of new priorities entered our lives – buying a house in Toronto (we’d been renting as expats in Milan), a car (that had come from the company before), living fully in this country, and traveling back and forth to the old one. We’re not crazy spenders or lavish livers, but we can rack up a bill or two doing the things we love.
And our focus shifted. Every time I was back at the villa I thought wow this place is magical and so worth the effort and money. Months later and back in Canada, the memory of that feeling would become dim and I’d think things like it would make much more sense to spend the money on fixing up the back deck in Toronto than on electrical channels in the villa. Being so far away made a huge difference to the perceived reward of doing something, when the gratification of money spent in Canada was so immediately satisfying. That was a killer.
Advice: set up a budget that allows money to be put aside specifically for the project. Make sure it always goes there, and only gets spent there. We have an account in Italy and this actually did help – once the money had gone over, there was no means to spend it here.
Budgeting is very personal and relates to your own priorities. I’m not going to tell you where you should spend your money, only that you have to decide for yourself and stick to it with a firm resolve. For more ideas on budgeting, there’s a good book available that, although a bit extreme in its application, gives tons of good pointers: Dream Save Do: Stop Dreaming and Start Living: Betsy Talbot,Warren Talbot: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
Thanks Shelagh – we’ve had several set backs/side steps and still moving forwards. Love the sound of the book you’ve recommended and have just downloaded it – as positive and optimistic as I am I’m always a realist so this sounds like it will help with the balance of both.
‘Still moving forwards’ sounds so simple, but it’s such a determined act and is no doubt key to your continued progress. As is your balancing act! You’ve got some great advice yourself, so please continue to contribute.
This is a fabulous, really valuable post Shelagh. You are so generous to be sharing ideas and insights like this. I’m one who’s sacrificed so much already for Italy – financially but emotionally too. This resonates with me on so many levels. Grazie!!!!!!
It’s a very interesting thing, this ‘seamy underbelly’ of great fantasies. I was really struck by the degree to which people want to hear about what it REALLY takes, not just the fabulous movie version of things. Romance is wonderful, dreams are one of life’s greatest gifts, but in order to enjoy either there is a whole lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.
I’m enjoying writing about this side of things. It’s fascinating, what a compelling experience an apparent ‘failure to complete’ can become. Thanks for your support, as always.
With you all the way Shelagh…mmmmm you’re inspiring me to write more about my own failures. I’ve said for a while ‘vulnerability is the new black’. You’re right thought, people want to know the real story. Like the love affair that didn’t last but should have…. How people put their lives together afterwards, in the shadow of a shattered dream or a destiny unfulfulled. You’ve got me thinking now! But whatever you do, please keep writing! 😉