We went to a retirement party on Friday evening. It was for a man my husband and I both worked with back in our bad old corporate days. Being back at that office revived a lot of memories for both of us. Some good (like meeting each other) but mostly bad (like 13 hour days, intense pressure from clients and corporate management, a long commute…) We were struck by the contrast between our lives then and our life now. My husband quit that job in 2002, and I left in 2003. The next few years were very difficult financially. Some months we barely made enough money to pay the mortgage, and everything else went on the credit card. I wouldn’t want to go through it again, and I’m glad that we’ve gotten ourselves back on reasonably solid ground as far as money goes, and that our business is doing well. But I’d do it all over again rather than still be working at my corporate job.
We got caught up on the last five years of office news – who quit, who got promoted, etc. There were a few colleagues I worked with as a manager who have been promoted several times since I left. I have no doubt that had I stayed, I would be earning a lot more money than I am today. But being at the office literally gave me shivers, and there is no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice. The freedom, flexibility, and overall happiness that we have is worth more than any salary I could be making at my old job. We get to snuggle with our baby in the mornings instead of jumping out of bed before dawn to be at the office by 7. We get to eat lunch together and have our baby with us during the day. We have dinner together, and go for a bike ride or walk as a family afterwards. We aren’t rich money wise, but we have enough to pay our mortgage and our day to day expenses and save for the future at the same time.
We drive old cars. We wear second hand clothes. We use homemade cloth diapers. We watch movies once they come out on DVD and we can borrow them from the library. We go for bike rides for entertainment. We go out to eat about once a month, sometimes less than that. We look for creative ways to save money, and it works. We’re able to live very well on less money than either one of us would be making if we had stayed at our corporate job. And we can’t even begin to describe how much happier we are with the life we have now. Simplifying and cutting back on expenses in order to be able to work for ourselves has paid off in so many ways. And I definitely wouldn’t trade my current life for the fat paycheck at the corporate job. There are some things that money really can’t buy, and those are the things I have now.
In other news, Stephanie at Focus Organic has put together a great Carnival Of all Things Eco. Check it out for some great ideas on frugal, green living.