Back when we were flash with cash, buying things was a matter of getting in the car or going online and making the purchase. No thought, no planning, no anticipation – I wanted it, I bought it. Now don’t get me wrong, that WAS a lot of fun and there’s a lot to be said for being rewarded for your hard work.
You know there’s a but coming, don’t you?
In 2008 our world fell apart. The financial crisis hit and within months it seemed that people in the US stopped buying, several really large investments evaporated into thin air and we were left reeling. I didn’t believe it would last that long so I did a really stupid thing. I used my superannuation to pay our staff for over a year. I just knew we were inches away from recovery but that never happened. My super was gone and we had to let all the staff go anyway.
So we sold our beautiful house with my gorgeous garden, my orchard, my veggie garden, my chooks and everything else for far less than it cost to build and we moved to something much smaller. Our income is substantially (hugely) less than we were earning before and here’s where the but comes in… we’re not any less happy.
John is still the same wonderful man he was when we met when neither of us had a pot to piss in and I suspect I’m still pretty okay to him too. We still have the same wonderful friends, our family still loves us and we have our health.
For us, life has been the journey to learning that it’s much better to dash over to Belly Good for my favourite Rainbow Beef having John’s 100% attention than to travel around the world first class. Honestly, it was just as much fun. Okay maybe the food wasn’t as good as the $350 dinner in Osaka where we had a private chef slicing and frying garlic chips but I got more out of a heartfelt conversation last night.
My goals have changed.
I still work really hard to make ends meet and my joy now comes not from planning a big holiday or getting something schmick for the house but helping someone else begin to achieve their goals. I’ve always been drawn to people who need me and I’m so grateful that John feels the same way I do about helping. Yes, we’d probably be farther ahead in our recovery if we focused totally on ourselves but I think we’ve had a lot of emotional healing to go through. Losing millions hurts. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. It affects your feeling of self worth, destroys your self-confidence and there’s a fair amount of grief that goes in there too.
We will be okay if we never get on top again. It’s taken a long time to be able to say that. Being happy together is our priority. We’ll probably never retire because we love working but maybe we won’t have to work such long hours. Thanks for listening to my story.