Fighting back tears, I tried to look casual as I handed a few items back to the cashier. They added up to just over $10.
“How the HELL could this happen?“ I thought to myself as I rushed out of the supermarket.
I pulled up at my daughter’s school and checked the receipt, hands still trembling. Everything looked correct. Damn it! I’d been so careful to add up as I went along.
Feeling sorry for myself, I sat & sobbed for a while.
As I wiped the mascara off my face in the rear view mirror, I stared into the eyes of the pathetic woman I’d become.
Only 18 months earlier I’d been living a comfortable, financially carefree life & spending money at a pretty impressive rate – using retail therapy to mask my spiritual pain.
Then my marriage ended – or rather I ended it. That didn’t go down so well and now here I was, crying over $10! I’d spent the last 18 months like that – stressed to the eyeballs over money, watching the legal bills rack up, fearful over every single dollar and spending most of the day (& night) doing sums in my head.
“But you had money, Miriam & you weren’t happy,” I thought to myself.
And suddenly I realised I’d done this to myself!
I’d rejected material comfort and money to prove a point.
In my career & marriage, I’d always tried to fit someone else’s mould and suppressed parts of myself that didn’t match. I worried what other people might think. (As it turns out, they don’t really give a shit!)
When my marriage ended, I rebelled & denounced all materialism as ‘evil’. I lived on an income which was less than my weekly rent – somehow.
Life became super simple. It had to be. We had no money & little furniture. There were no outings, holidays or other luxuries. I eventually bought second-hand furniture from auction houses and made myself a coffee table from wooden pallets (I still have it – it rocks!) We borrowed DVDs from the local library, played tennis at the park, walked & rode our bikes by the beach and just…hung out.
In many ways it was one of the happiest times in my life. But the money thing was killing me.
In that ‘game changer’ moment I realised I did deserve money & comfort, nice clothes & shoes, being able to take my kids to the movies and on holidays. I realised this was NOT going to take away from who I really am.
I’d had a chance to simplify life, discover my true values and learn that – as I’d say to my kids – the best things in life are free. However, there are some pretty cool things in life that are NOT free and I decided I’d like to have them too!
That game changer moment held the seed of awareness I’d been missing.
Within a few weeks, everything started to change. It all just suddenly…flowed.