A simple coin toss changed our lives. The year my husband and I decided to semi-retire was a major life changing decision. We gave up a comfortable urban life style, not to mention two lucrative salaries. For 18-years I was the bread winner until I met and married my husband Pete who happens to be my best friend and the love of my life. Living in a large urban city we had a happy marriage, excellent jobs and all the material toys that go along with that type of lifestyle. Working long weekly hours we generally ate out at least three times a week. It was what people in our tax bracket did. The down side of this lifestyle – our health both physical and mental began to go down hill. Blood pressure, antacid and migraine headache medicines were a part of our nightly ritual. Not to mention sleepless nights. We were no longer healthy but more importantly we were no longer happy.
I remember well the straw that broke the camels back. It was the morning I arriving at work only to finding my voice mail box was completely full . . . with messages from ME! I was calling my office at 3am reminding myself to update and send budget reports or to schedule a meeting with the Dean. I vividly remember sitting at my desk staring at my physical and electronic inbox saying, “I’ve had it! I’ve got to get out of here!”
Later that evening at the dinner table I placed a shiny quarter beside my dinner plate. I began a monologue about how unhealthy our lives had become and how we were no longer enjoying what we were working so hard to achieve. Our lifestyle was debilitating and ruining our health. We were no longer human-beings we’d become human-doings! I pointed out that we hadn’t taken a vacation in years. More importantly I couldn’t remember the last time we relaxed – totally relaxed! I decided it was long overdue to make a lifestyle change. On January 1st 2007 we flipped a coin. Heads we would move west tails south. My husband was immediately onboard. The coin came up tails. We were moving south. Within four months we had our home placed on the market, had an über successful garage sale, [we] packed and drove the moving van and said farewell to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Scary YES, necessary . . . absolutely!
We relocated to a small rural town in Western North Carolina and live completely within our means. Our reevaluated lifestyle was paying off in more ways than we could have imagined. With a bit of luck and internet searching we found the perfect small farm with a functional barn and grow much of what we eat. Neither of us had jobs secured when we decided to take this leap of faith. I had to research the best way to sustain our new lifestyle and to survive our lower economic transition. The interesting outcome was a better lifestyle, less stressful careers and better health. We realized although our stress level had decreased so did our bank accounts. Necessity became the mother of invention for both of us. My husband works a lower paying full time and also works part-time as a certified Equestrian Sports Massage Therapist. I work an hourly part-time job well below my education and career experience, however, it’s one I thoroughly enjoy! Enjoying work . . . now that’s a feeling I haven’t experienced in quite a while. I must admit it was a bit disconcerting to see the difference in my paycheck. That’s when I decided to put my previous education and gardening experience to work. I decided to jump-start my dormant Associated Content account and started writing again. My love of creative writing also inspired me to publish my first novel.
Our determination to stay self reliant is a constant challenge however if you decide it’s time to transform your out-of-control, rat race existence into a peaceful self-sustained lifestyle – creativity, courage and the simple flip of a coin is the key.