Last Thursday, I turned 30. It felt like any other day, had a lovely dinner to celebrate the occasion with David. In the car on the way back, I was thinking of what I could blog about to commemorate my entry into the 4th decade of my life. I could only think of one word: Blessed.
Here’s the backstory…
Four years ago, when I first joined my current boss, I wasn’t so clear headed. I was clouded with the thought of making as much money as I can. Don’t get me wrong—I agree that money is important. After all we need money to pay for food and commitments (and a little bit of guilt free shopping!). It’s the greed of money that is dangerous.
(A bit of history: My current boss runs a pretty small outfit, there’s 15 of us managing 7 – 8 events annually, and the reporting system in this office is very flat–just me, the boss and one assistant helping me out. We travel in small teams and my teammates are very dedicated, responsible people. In a nutshell, I work for a really small events management company, with not much opportunity for career progression (hence the flat structure). The office is near home, which cuts the travel time, and the pay I was getting for the job I’m doing is actually quite good.)
After a few months on the job, I was actively job hunting as I had felt a bit of regret joining this tiny events management company. I was stumped that my career seems to be going in a regression–first a multinational, then a medium sized international firm, and now I’m in this little walk up office in Subang Business Centre! I remember getting excited over meeting another potential employer for an interview, just on the basis of the dollar figure. I didn’t consider the other factors like travel time to work, or even crazy working hours (it was a fairly senior position). All I could think about was the money I was going to get. I was so hungry and motivated by money. I did get the job offer, but I turned it down after considering how much time I had to take travelling, and that I may not be ready to take on the responsibilities required of me for that senior position.
Even after declining the offer, I kept on thinking how it would have been like if I did take the job, and if my life would have been changed with the extra money I got.
I also remember at that time, we were preparing to get married; David had just started his own business and we were constantly worried about money. We argued a lot about money—and they were all petty arguments over how money was to be spent on the wedding and on furnishing our new apartment. Soon after the wedding, David temporarily retired his own business as got a job in a leading web agency. He was making a decent amount of money—but we were spending less time with each other because he was constantly busy with work, even on weekends!
I found it so tiring, to keep thinking about money all the time. And I thought to myself; is the “tiredness” worth it if money was all I ever wanted. My mind was messing with me as I kept thinking about all the things I could have if I had a lot of money. I kept comparing myself to my peers, and what kind of status I wanted to project, just to seem like I “fit” in.
My mind-set really changed when David quit from the agency and went back to working for himself in August 2009. At that time we also just found out that I was expecting.
I finally came to understand that I’ve been chasing for something that is not a priority in my life.
We simply cannot have a number of priorities in life. A priority means the ONE thing that’s most important to you and my priority is the time spent growing the relationship with my family. Of course there’s nothing wrong with “making a lot of money” as a priority! But consider this: If we get caught up in the rat race trying to make more money for the family, that priority is the job/money. What I’m saying is that we must be able to define the priority and not use the excuse of “improving/enriching the quality of life” as an excuse for putting “making money” the most important in our lives. We need to stop and understand what it means to live a contented life. We need to be able to stop and say “I’m grateful for what I have, and I’m happy with what I have. I am blessed.”
I’m gonna say it. Making more money, for me, is not a priority.
On my 30th birthday, I found that I’ve grown deeper in love with my husband as we travel together in our journey of living a simple & contented life, and having the time to enjoy and grow in our relationship as husband and wife, as a son(in-law) and daughter(in-law), and as a mother and father. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not slobs or living off old money (not that we have access to any, LOL!). We still work to earn money for our family, and when we find opportunities to make more money, we catch it (of course we won’t let good opportunities pass us!). The only difference is, we are satisfied with what we have and we’re happy with the work we do. We don’t see the need to keep growing our debt, for the sake of “upgrading our outlook and status”.
“Live simply”. Photo credit to _yupa_ on Flickr
I’m very blessed. God has been very good to me and my family. I thank God for blessing us with Zachary, blessing me with a very loving husband and a best friend, and blessing me with a supportive family. After 4 years with my current boss, I’m still happy to stay on and work for him, to continue and enjoy doing the work I do. I thank God for the peace that I have in Him, and giving me the wisdom to understand what it means to live simply.
Remember; if you are greedy, you’ll never have enough.
“Live simply so others may simply live.”― Mother Teresa