It’s been almost one year since I first joined the ranks of the unemployed. When my job was “eliminated” (the carefully contrived, thinly disguised, excuse to oust me by a bullying boss of the worst kind; the crazy kind) my first reaction was one of panic – no salary, no health benefits, no 401K, no Cream de La Mer anymore. But then the panic slowly abated as the realization hit me – no more long commute, no dysfunctional coworkers, no 9-5 grind in corporate hell – and made me think that maybe, just maybe, I could somehow make lemonade out of this grove-full of lemons handed to me.
And so I began to make up for time lost. In between job hunting I spent more time with my family, I reconnected with friends, I exercised, I read more, I enrolled in some classes, I began Chasing Hubert, and, in general, I started living again. Now, with a new career on the horizon, I look back and recognize that I should have been bold enough to make the change on my own and sooner rather than allowing myself to remain stuck in a rut.
Although it’s been a challenging year it’s also been an enlightening one. I haven’t learned who Hubert is yet but I have learned some pretty worthwhile lessons – the following is my top ten list of wisdom I’ve divined during my year of living freely, frugally, and fearlessly.
1- Change is inevitable so embrace change, don’t fear it. Without change life would resemble the movie “Groundhog Day”. Boring people get stuck in routines.
2 – Never lose your sense of humor, you can always find something to laugh about. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it.
3 – You really can survive without the expensive shoes, the designer duds, the fancy car. Stuff doesn’t make you happy, experiences do.
4 – Exercising is a great way to avoid the doctor when you lack health benefits and it’s also a great way to get your aggressions out without getting into trouble.
5 – No matter how bad things seem they always look better in the morning so hang in there because things will change (see #1).
6 – It’s never too late to re-invent yourself. Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was in her 80s.
7 – Don’t let your job define you. Don’t get so caught up in your career that you forget the other ingredients in your life.
8 – Live in the moment. Life is short so worrying about what’s down the road keeps you from enjoying today.
9 – Money and jobs can disappear but true friends don’t leave when the chips are down.
10 – Never lose sight of what’s important to you and never give up!