This is the most valuable experience of my life and the most expensive. My father taught me that when selling an expensive product you must highlight how valuable it is in the long run–not what it costs. This was actually one of his final lessons to me.
Another way to look at it is Cost Per Use. I encouraged my son to consider buying the Doc Marten boots over the gym shoes at the same cost as in the long run the cost per use was made the Doc Marten’s a more valuable investment.
People often ask me if I’m worried about money and what this year off of work is costing me. I tell them I’m taking a year off worrying about money–the first year since I was sixteen and working at Barnaby’s Pizza. Or maybe even earlier as I was a super babysitter since 7th grade. I’ve decided that this year is an investment in my personal and spiritual growth. In my personal resume instead of my professional curriculum vitae.
As the conversations progress, I realize they are the ones concerned about money and often enough money for retirement. They are making sacrifices every day to try and ensure there is enough money for retirement. Wise in so many ways, but ignores the realities and experiences life has to offer using alternative approaches to travel, real estate and passive income.
I once had a headhunter tell me that my career journey made me one of the most interesting candidates he had met. That everything I had overcome made me more marketable. I was a problem solver. I can think on my feet. And hopefully, I help others do that also.
This past year I’ve made investments in the following areas, all of which will pay off in dividends for the rest of my life.
- Travel and experiences. I’ve not gotten to everywhere I want to go, but I’ve made some progress and am excited about a trip to Spain planned with my dear friend Melanie in January.
- Family. I’ve chosen to live both with, and near, my adult children and their children in an effort to get to know them as the amazing adults they have become. To live with my grandchildren to experience the joys of raising children again–vicariously, the best way possible! Grandparenting is amazing.
- Education. I”m planning on investing in my own formal education for the first time since completing my Non-Profit Management Certification eight years ago.
- Spirituality. I’ve spent a lot of time the past two months trying to learn more about what I believe in. Why I believe it and what else is there to try and understand.
- Planning. I’ve developed a template for a strategic plan for my life based on my skills as a strategic planner for organizations. I finally realized that what works in business is applicable to our personal lives and strategy ensures that I make progress in how I want to live my life moving forward.
- Getting to know me, myself and I–id, ego and est. Having children at 23 years old–and five of them–didn’t allow for a lot of time for introspection. Ann Morrow Lindberg addresses this so well in her book Gifts from the Sea. This is the time for self-reflection, and I spent so much time filling my voids with “meaningful” activity avoiding this practice.
I’m finally getting clarity and breakthroughs, after 10 months of slogging through. But I could not do this alone. I’ve been blessed with a tribe of seekers living both near and far that have graced me with their own journeys. I’m not in this alone and that is the most important investment of all. In honesty and authenticity with others and responding to their authenticity. By both sharing and listening I’ve grown, and I”m so grateful to all of you.