Whilst Stumbling the other day, I came across this quote..
I’m sure I’m not the first person to reflect that he is indeed a wise man! These are easy traps to fall into in today’s world.
Before Boo’s arrival, I was all about my work. I was good at it, I was respected and I enjoyed it. I climbed a ladder relatively quickly, and I was getting near to the top of it. I earned good money and drove a nice company car. I didn’t have to think about whether I could afford anything, I rarely knew how much was in my back account to the nearest few hundred, and we spent time shopping, eating out and planning fabulous holidays. In the little free time that we actually spent together, that is.
Then along came Boo. My job just didn’t seem that important any more, so I decided to give it up, and though I now drive a not-so-impressive car, have no real expendable income and can tell you how much is in my bank account to the nearest £1, I’m happier. I do wonder what my health and stress levels would be like if I still spent all those hours in that job, with long commutes and then trying to devote time to my family, too. Sure, we’d have a fair bit more money, but at what real price?
Boo made me re-evaluate our lives, and made me stop and think about happiness. And so I thank her for it.
Little Man’s arrival, or more accurately, him turning 1, has been another moment to question things. We don’t plan to have any more children. I won’t need to be taking any more maternity leave, or be practically attached to a child 24/7. So, this could be the time for a change again.
I do reflect back, that when Boo was 10 months old (a couple of weeks after I’d finished breastfeeding her) I started my own business, which I’m fortunate to still be enjoying and am still seeing it grow. When Little Man turned 10 months old (a couple of weeks after I’d finished breastfeeding him) I started this blog. Both are making me happy and challenging me. Right now.
I don’t over-think the future, as if I’d worried too much about the future, and not about the present, I’d have been clinging on to that old career and the great pension scheme with all my might. Why obsess about what ‘might’ make me happy in 20 years time, instead of enjoying the children that definitely do make me happy right now? I do ponder the future, we do save, we do have various insurances and plans in place, but I don’t let it rule our decisions about now.
When I was little, my dad started his own business. I admire him for it, and suspect it’s gone a long way in influencing my work ethic and my desire to work for myself. But, the flip-side was that he was rarely around when I was young. He was so busy working hard for us to have a better future, he missed the present and pretty much our entire childhood. I don’t want that. And the irony? Just as life was getting comfortable, and my brother and I were in our late teens, he left. Maybe living for the moment would have worked better there?
I’ve lost two good friends already in this world, one to a traffic accident and another to cervical cancer. I know that life is short, and that for some, an early end can come and claim them. Why obsess about something I may do at 60, when I may not reach 40? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I worry more than the next person about my own mortality, and I certainly try not to dwell on it, but with these tragedies comes perspective. I don’t want to graft and miss out on now, for a future that may never even come.
What do I want for our future? Well, I know I want to continue to be here for the children, I want us to have more money to spend on little treats, I want us to continue having the great amount of family time that we do have, but most importantly, I want us to be happy. Not at some distant point in the future, but now and every day. What makes us happy? Well, I believe it’s quality time spent with each other, as well as having our own interests and challenges to keep us enthusiastic about our days.
So, once in a while, I mind-map what we want and how we can achieve it. That’s how I like to get my thoughts out and get them into some sort of order. I might mind-map totally random stuff one day, and then pick it up and expand on it a week later, then draw a list from it a week on from that, and so on. It helps me to focus. It’s a simple method, but it keeps happiness as the main goal, and suggests priorities and ideas to help us be there and get there. I aim to enjoy now, and put plans in place so that we can keep on enjoying it.
Do you live like this? How do you prioritise and make plans?
I’ll leave you with this thought..