Your money or your life!

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My blog has been neglected of late. Although we now only have 2.5 months until the big move to Tavira, we are so busy with the everyday matters of running a business, living in a hectic city and the general day-to-day crap that London, and life, throws at you.

Work is the main problem. Given that it is a recession, I should really be grateful that business is going well, but I could actually do with it being quieter so that we can actually make some progress towards preparing for our move! In addition, it has been a “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right” kind of week where I have encountered so many “not my job, not my problem” types that I despair for the UK’s collective work-ethic!

I also feel rather duplicitous. The reason being that the people I am working with don’t know that very soon I am going to be telling them that I am selling out and moving to the sunshine. I know business is business but I have built up long term relationships with these clients and actually quite like some of them! I am hoping very much that after they are all told in the coming weeks of my plans, I will start feeling a bit more like I have “given my notice.” If nothing else I won’t have to be scared of accidentally blurting out something about Portugal!


So I am plodding on, being efficient, and having to pretend that I care while I work 15 hour days and weekends. The main comfort being that this IS the final charge to the finish line and then I can start to build my new life with work/life balance always being a priority.

What makes me so happy about the move is that where I am at the moment is at the start of a process I witness the middle and end of in many of my business associates.

Typically, these people are middle aged entrepreneur-types who have been sucessful with their businesses and have all the usual trappings of an affluent lifestyle. I can see us moving along the same path. We have a nice house in a good area, a decent car, a fridge full of overpriced food from Waitrose and an expensive weekend-break habit.

Then there are the downsides; you don’t get to spend a lot of time in the nice house because you are always at work and when you are in the nice car you are invariably stressed and late for work. Then, the Waitrose food goes out of date because you didn’t get home until 10pm so had a crappy takeaway or didn’t eat at all, and you spend every weekend break either on your Blackberry or on a gridlocked motorway.

What disturbs me most is that there seems to be a direct link between how much money these people have and how unhappy they seem. Given this evidence I am glad I am opting out of this materialistic lifestyle. When you would happily give away all of the gadgets and luxuries just to have some peace and time, then something needs to change!

This brings me on to a lovely story my mother told me. I don’t know it’s origin, and I think she adapted it to fit our sitution, but it goes something like this.

Some wealthy tourists were on a beach in Portugal. They saw a local Portugese man sitting next to his fishing boat, reading a book. They went and asked the fisherman if he would be willing to take them fishing.

The man said no straight away. He said that he went out very early in the morning, that on some days he would go out again later in the morning, but that every afternoon, he would sit on the beach and read a book.

The tourists were surprised and tried to persuade the man, telling him money was no object. The man again said no. He said that he went out very early in the morning, that on some days he would go out again later in the morning, but that every afternoon, he would sit on the beach and read a book.

The tourists were slightly disappointed, and said they were surprised he would turn down good money for a fishing trip. The fisherman explained his logic thus:

“I have said that I only fish in the morning, and in the afternoon I sit on the beach and read my book. I could take you fishing and then I may as well take the next people who ask me. Before long I may build up a reputation and make excellent money from taking people fishing. It could become so popular that I could buy another boat, and pay someone to run even more fishing trips – maybe even three or four boats. I would be very busy and make lots of money……and then maybe once or twice a year I could take a week off, and sit on the beach and read my book.”

I think many people in London would benefit from the fisherman’s wisdom.

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