A common question when I made the decision to give up teaching was “…but won’t you miss the money?” There have been several questions along the way; “Are you sure this is what you want?” “ What will you do instead?” “Is it really that bad?” but that one question “…but won’t you miss the money?” is one that resounded in my head a lot; will I miss the money I thought? Is money really that important to me?
In a world where money is such a prominent part of life, in a world where everything has a cost and where money gets you places, it’s hard to put money to the back of priorities, it’s hard to not think about how much easier life would be with a lot of money! I know I have touched on the importance of money in life in a previous blog, ‘The best things in life are free, so why does money matter so much?’ but I have really been thinking about this a lot since the big change and it needs to be touched upon again! I think sometimes, you really have to step back and think, what is really more important to you; money or happiness?
So, if you’re familiar with this blog, you’ll know that I want to be happy, I am striving to be happier all the time and everything I do, I want to do it being happy. So, when it comes to my career, I want to do the same! I WANT TO BE HAPPY! My decision to leave teaching was because you only get one life, you only get one shot at this and you only get one chance to get it right. Now, I could have gone on in my job and been unhappy but I didn’t want to die (sorry, morbid) knowing that I had wasted a huge part of my life being unhappy! Again, a morbid thought, but I could die tomorrow and I don’t want to die feeling like I hadn’t experienced everything I wanted to experience and been the happiest I could be! There was one point after making my decision to leave that I KNEW it was definitely the best thing for me. In May this year, I had a car accident. It wasn’t nice; in fact, it was possibly one of the scariest moments of my life. A lorry drove into the side of my car and dragged me (in the middle lane) a fair way down the M4. I still have flashbacks now and one of the flashbacks is of how all I could do, right in that moment was sit there and repeat “I’m in a crash, I’m in a crash.” My initial thought was “what if I die?” Now, I am INCREDIBLY lucky (and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember how lucky) I am still here to tell the tale and for that, I will always be grateful (and for the LOVELY lady who stopped her car to help me). Now this crash scared me then and it still frightens me now but, it did something for me that was positive, and that was that it made me realise how short life COULD be. If the worst had happened that day, would it have REALLY mattered how much money I had in my account? Will people remember me for being the “one with all the money” or would they remember me because I was always happy, good to be around and smiling and not only that, would I want to go knowing I had hundreds of pounds in my bank or knowing that every single second I had on this earth, I made the most of it and lived life to the full! Some people may decide that money is important to them, but to me, I want to know I lived every single second and made it worth living!!
Don’t get me wrong, since leaving teaching, money has been tight and I am not saying that you don’t need any money at all. The sad reality is, you do! You can’t survive without it but does it matter how much? Do we really need a lot? Does it actually make us happy? I am still looking for full time work and without Dan, we wouldn’t be able to rent our house, pay our bills or eat; it’s not easy, I’m not saying that! What I am saying is that I wanted to take a chance on maybe not earning as much so that I could have a chance at happiness and fortunately for me, Dan wanted this too. It is NOT fun living with someone who is unhappy (which unfortunately Dan had to experience when I was teaching but he was amazing and supportive) and I’m not sure either of us could have gone on that way and lived a peaceful, fulfilled life so we both knew I had to get out.
My position is different to some and I get that, I don’t have kids (yet! Hahaha sorry Dan) and I don’t have a mortgage so my financial strains aren’t the same as everyone’s but I do know people who do have kids and do have a mortgage and made the same leap I am (perhaps they planned it better and had something to go to) and they’ve done it! Taking a cut in your pay for happiness is surely worth doing.
Above I mentioned kids and like I said, I don’t have any yet but one day I want to and this was a BIG factor in my decision to leave too! I could stayed and continued to earn a good wage just for my future kids but I couldn’t help but think that I’d be starting a life with that child dreading my return to work, in an unhappy career and in what was for me, a stressful environment. I didn’t want to put any potential children in that position; that wouldn’t be fair on them or the family. When the time finally does come, I want to be a happy mum, I want to laugh and smile and sing in the kitchen! I want to teach my children the value of money but I also want to teach them the value of happiness too and I won’t be able to do that by coming home and marking books and crying because I’m dreading the next day! They may have to compromise on how many iPhones they have or they may not have the same amount of presents at Christmas as others but they will have me and a me that has a smile on my face not a frown. So what if they have hand me downs? They’ll still rock them! So what if they don’t have expensive toys? They’ll still love them and learn from them but having me unhappy may have a detrimental effect on them and that’s a risk I’m not willing to take.
Right now, I’m sitting here writing my blog and I have never been so happy! I’ll be honest it is tough, not being able to get what I want when I want it but then that’s a luxury I’ve never appreciated until now so I think I’m a richer person for it!
I also think you adjust to your means. If I did have a well-paid job that allowed me luxuries, I’m pretty sure that as a human being, I’d always be looking for more.
You can buy a lot of things these days, holidays, cars, phones and even likes on Facebook (haha) but two things you can’t and never will be able to buy are love and happiness. I can’t pay people to love me, they will only do that if they want to love me and I’m not sure many people could love me if I was unhappy all the time and I can’t buy my happiness, it is something I have to make sure I have! It is in that sense, priceless!
So, in this argument of ‘money vs happiness’ for me, happiness wins hands down, what about for you?
Be happy readers!