Happiness or money?

I know unhappily married couples who’ve stayed together because they don’t want to divvy up their assets and start over again financially later in life.

While the love is gone, their coffers are full and they’ve made their peace with that.

I understand the temptation to choose the easier life. Starting over financially is bloody hard.

The month before my ex left, I stopped working because our mortgage was finally so low that we no longer needed two incomes to pay our bills.

That’s not to say money wasn’t an issue between us. He thought I was too caught up in material things.

My obsession with getting an outdoor area makeover with swimming pool incensed him.

He infamously admonished me by intoning that “happiness is not to be found in a new barbecue”.

I was amused to hear recently that the phrase has entered the vernacular of one of my readers after my original blog post about it.

I still don’t think wanting a new barbecue was distastefully acquisitive of me, considering our old one looked like THIS and had to be thrown away when we sold the family home because it was so riddled with rust …

Anyways, my ex chose having a rich emotional life over staying in our barren, slightly well-heeled marriage.

And these days I struggle to pay a mortgage four times the size of the one we had at the end of our marriage, but on a single wage.

I’ve also blown my financial buffer on braces and adenoids and gas leaks and groceries.

However, I have a rich emotional life.

And I can see now why it was so important to my ex. It is such a lovely thing, I wouldn’t trade it for a million dollars.

Although, I’d quite like a rich emotional life AND a million dollars.

Debt sucks.

Worrying about money isn’t how I was expecting to spend my 50s, after decades of working hard to make sure my future was secure.

Ah well, the sea is free, though bloody cold at the moment. DD and I froze our arses off at Palm Beach on Saturday, despite the balmy 24C temperature out of the water.

We also made ourselves deeply jealous by tracking down the house from the movie Palm Beach and sulking that it wasn’t ours.

Then we retreated to his deck with a glass of wine in the sun and remind ourselves that our life together is pretty sweet.

We followed it up with another – slightly less frosty – swim on Sunday to wash away my emotional funk, then met up with friends for dinner.

I hugged DD goodnight afterwards and drove home to my money pit, where I found the eldest making a giant Frankenstein hand out of chicken wire and paper mache on the breakfast bar.

I’m hoping there hasn’t been any permanent damage to the laminex.

Now another working week begins, kicking off with an orthodontic visit for the youngest at 9am.

It’s going to be a big week for me – lots of post Australian Drinks Awards stuff to plough through … and a Fleetwood Mac concert to attend!

There’s something to look forward to! Hope you have something fun planned too.

Song of the day: Johnny Cash “Sixteen tons”



2 thoughts on “Happiness or money?

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  1. I’ve always been single and was slow to start saving – I worked overseas as a volunteer for a few years in my mid-late 20s before settling down into adulthood. But then I worked hard saved, bought a flat. Sold and upgraded. Etcetera. In my early 40s I had a nice (big) apartment and nice car and medium-seniorish government job.

    Long story short, but I tried to get pregnant and it didn’t happen. And my dad died. I was suddenly 44 and looking down the barrel of 20yrs of the same life… centred around commutes to work and long days.

    The opportunity came to take a redundancy so I did. I did the seachange thing and moved. I misjudged though how hard it would be to find a job in my new location and it’s been the biggest challenge of the past 7yrs. I’ve had some work off and on but the financial stress hangs around my neck like the proverbial albatross. (Is it an albatross? #whatevs)

    I continue to hover between being absolutely sure I need a decent full time job again so I can be financially secure (even though I KNOW it would mean I’d want to do some upgrades to my house – my equivalent to the new barbeque – thereby adding to any debt); and wanting to earn enough to just get by.

    My desire to be happy with freedom to live a balanced and creative life continues to battle with my desire for financial security!

    1. Deborah, that sounds bloody tough. I hope you find the balance – and job – that suits your needs. I keep trying to find new ways to skin the financial cat, as winning the lottery doesn’t seem to be a potential option!

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