Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Review? Renew? Extend? Cancel? Maintain?

Have you ever stopped to take account of the number of membership subscriptions, both paid and free that you have these days?

How many magazine and/or newspaper subscriptions do you have? Think about both the online world AND real world.

How many memberships do you and your family have? There’s the gym, golf, tennis, squash, yoga, sailing, dance, art gallery, museum, National Trust, the Zoo, theme parks, Brownies, Cubs, Scouts, Surf Life Saving Club, horse riding, the list is endless.

Now, consider your in box, and all the alerts you receive from various online shopping portals (depending on where you live) eBay, amazon, Marks and Spencers, Tesco, Nectar, Woolworths, Myers, David Jones, Harrods, House of Fraser, Costco, GAP, Pumpkin Patch, The White Company, Shutterfly, Stuck on You, the list goes on.

Then there is the various online FREE subscriptions that keep you up-to-the-minute-informed of your interests or news.

What about all the amazing travel sites to help with holidays, or special interest groups you like to be part of? Tripadvisor and restaurant sites?

Educational sites, like TEDtalks.

Then all the wonderful bloggers you follow (ms_havachat of course, along with others)

OMG, there’s Facebook, twitter, and other social sites, let alone Linkedin and other business sites you belong to.

Did you ever realize there was so much subscribing going on in your life?

I do simply because as we move countries one of the first things we do is google anything and everything related to our new area in order to feel connected and to learn about what’s on offer. In addition to that, we stay connected to where we’ve been.

Being connected and informed is a full time job these days.

The weeks immediately after our anniversary of arriving in a new country make me laugh as I start to unsubscribe from various websites, businesses and various memberships we thought we had to have when we arrived but realized we don’t need anymore. They served their purpose well in the first 12 months.

This anniversary we opted not to renew our membership with Marwell Park, gave up our Hampshire Culture All card, and our InTech pass, goodness knows how many online sites got cancelled (and wondering why I signed up in the first place). We have happily renewed membership with National Trust and English Heritage as there’s hundreds more places to experience.

How many subscriptions do you have? I know I NEVER had this many at ‘home’.

What else do we renew annually?

Various insurances need to be reassed every 12 months and renewed accordingly; new items in the home need to be added to house hold contents insurance, private health cover might need to be amended as we or the children get older, car leases, various business leases/contracts etc.

Most things in our lives need to be renewed, some less formally than others, but at the very minimum we give thought to the renewal, and one would hope some degree of conversation between the people involved in larger decisions.

The beauty of renewals is we have a choice.

Obviously, we have these conversations too but the one we have every 2-4 years is one that only expats have, and that’s the ‘do we stay or do we go’ conversation. A similar conversation for non expats with this frequency might very well be when one’s lease up on one’s home.

DH started contract negotiations last week, as his initial two-year contract is up in August (for some reason I had November in my mind, so you can imagine my surprise when he raised the subject with me last week).

UK Border Control will allow him to work in the UK for 5 consecutive years, then we’re outta here, unless of course we, or the company decide earlier that enough is enough and we leave earlier. DH never signs for less than two as it’s not worth moving for less, especially with MissM at school. So this time, as in Japan, we have 2 years signed, with one-year options to follow.

The conversation we have been having this past week or so needs to be as honest as possible so that everyone knows how everyone else feels about staying vs going so he knew what to say in the meeting.

Gosh,  I wish it was as easy as renewing an online subscription, or any of the above mentioned memberships.

It should be simple – stay, or move on, but it never is.

 With friendship

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