Lessons from my father – Vol. 2

I’ve had many a sleepless night lately and I as I lie awake, trying to fall back asleep it never fails me – I begin to worry. I worry about my to do list at work,  the fact that I will need to buy a new car soon and what will I choose. I worry that I haven’t done everything on my to do list. The list goes on and on. For some reason, problems always seem larger and more difficult to solve during those sleepless nights.

After a recent sleepless night, I awoke the next morning with two distinct “lessons from my father” that were applicable to my current situation. They brought me some peace and perhaps sharing them with you will help to bring you peace during troublesome times in your life.

Worrying is like a rockin’ chair,it’ll give you something to do in the meantime, but you ain’t gonna get nowhere doin’ it.

Yes, it’s improper English, but you get the drift, right? Basically, the point is that worrying is pointless. The humorous part of this advice is that my father (of all people) was a tremendous worry wart (gee, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, eh?). While it may be logical and easy to understand the theory, many times putting that theory into practice is where the real challenge lies. I’d venture to say this was the case with my father – and with me as well.

After a night of fitful sleep and incessant worrying, I usually reason that I will do what I can to knock some items off of my ever growing “to do” list – wake up tomorrow to rinse and repeat. That’s all I can do – slowly continue moving forward. I can’t tackle all of the big problems at once and sooner or later, things will begin to fall into place and path will reveal itself. Yes, I’m a bit of a hippie – thanks for noticing :)

The other piece of advice he’d frequently tell me is:

“Money is a renewable resource”

For many of my readers who knew my father will understand this one. He made a comfortable living and he certainly bought things that he wanted. As a child, we lived a comfortable life, I didn’t want for much and even after my parent’s divorce, my father always provided well for us. In some respects, my father was frugal. He chose to drive a Cadillac instead of a BMW or Mercedes. I asked him once why all of the other kid’s parents at school drove nice cars and why couldn’t we afford them. He corrected me by saying he could afford to drive those cars, but he chose not to. Yes, a Cadillac is not an inexpensive car, but he chose to spend his money on collecting strange things – like antique cars, slot machines and motor scooters instead of driving expensive imported cars. He found his balance between luxury, comfort and cost and he prioritized his spending.

The first time he told me that money was a renewable resource, I was in my college years. I think he realized at the time that money wasn’t going to buy happiness for him. He owned his home, a large shop and 40 acres of land. He had a busy law practice with a great business partner. I don’t think he feared running out of money, but saw it as something that if he worked hard at, he could always generate an income.

These lessons are especially close to my heart now as I see my current job wind down in the next month. I have decided to take some time away from work and then pursue my own business – IT consulting. It is the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Maybe it’s a mistake, but I’ve concluded that unless I make a solid attempt at going out on my own, I will always regret not taking the chance and believing that I can be successful at running my own business. My main goal is to successfully generate an income without spending hours in traffic per day commuting to/from an office in the Atlanta area. In the end, I hope that this business venture will allow me and my husband to consider moving elsewhere in hopes of further simplifying our lives. I’d also love to give my husband the gift of taking some time off of work as well – once I am settled in my new venture.

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