“Hey diddly dee a gym owner’s life for me” – sang to the tune of the song in Pinocchio – “An Actor’s Life For Me”.
I used to use this as a ‘wind up’ to a few of the cheeky members I had in my gym in the 90’s.
They would say I was the richest man they knew.
So I use to sing the above and finish with “not much money but I’m happy”.
It use to wind them up as they thought that I had buckets of money. But actually I was telling the truth, all they saw was the money coming in, they never saw it going out.
You know from my past articles that I had a shit load going out. I was pulling in thousands but also paying out nearly as much.
I covered my head and was happy with my life choice for so long.
Then I started to feel trapped by my own success and doing.
I was playing the numbers game, lots in lots out.
Basically running in a hamster wheel generating money but working so much I never lived other than work. Everyone else benefited from my money ball, but not us as a family.
Everyone took a piece, as happens in business – after many years I realised this side of life was not making me happy.
This may have come about with wisdom of years, Louise being ill and passing, or maybe just totally burned out; probably a mix of it all.
Something needed to change and only I could do that. So I set about it step by step as if setting out on the longest journey. Step by step eliminating debt, step by step eliminating ‘things’ I did not need that added to energy needed to be produced by me in that hamster wheel. Step by step I downsized outgoings, rental, mortgage, loans, car payments – everything.
By one – deciding what I wanted life to be like for myself and my kids.
And two – just like anything else I planned it out week by week, month by month, year by year.
Just as in building business – I dissected and downsized.
I had to see my goal.
More time for life, more time for holidays, and actually living.
I had to also be able to see a base standard of living and debt free life.
And just like any other goal in life I went for it.
First came more work while subsequently reducing overheads so I could use the money to pay off past debt. This took three years.
Next came a further reduction in working hours as the money ball, once huge was now tiny and need very little attention.
This led to money being available for holidays and just living each day, devoting time to what I had missed by my own doing.
An Easy Life
Is not what everyone wants many want the houses the nice cars and the high life.
And that’s awesome – you need to live life your way.
But it’s not for me – I lived a high-ish lifestyle for me, and found it was not my thing.
I thought it was, but the stress of constantly earning to feed the machine made me sad.
I’m not cut out for that, some thrive on it and feel alive, me? It drains me of my energy.
I admire people at both ends of the spectrum, those who have successful businesses and quality things they own. But I lean towards the man and woman who for my mind, is free.
That to me is more impressive, maybe it’s because it’s my craving, it’s my need.
Maybe it’s because I worked far too much and neglected the real area of life – family and time.
All I know is – time – freedom – and to have no worries. So I admire those more with those areas in their lives.
One of my favourite books is The Choice by Og Mandino. I can relate to so much in the book. If you are of like mind as me – you must read it. It’s the story of a man that gives up the corporate life after he realises he never sees his family. He writes a book that becomes successful and it frees his life.
They more to a converted light house and spend real time together. They have nothing but have everything!
There is more to the book – but this was my take away message.
For the last 8 years or so I have directed my life and those close to that ‘successful’ lifestyle as I see it. And at last I feel I am there. I can and will refine more – but the basic principles are in place now.
Today And Beyond
I have now cut work even further because of the success of my book Old But Strong. My work is now writing – believe it or not it gives ‘us’ as a family all we need.
I have very few outgoings and that was my plan all along, reduce and eliminate debt, good and bad, so the ‘earning need’ is low. This creates freedom of time. I earn all I need for the basics and for the kids – simple as that. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it is mine.
For enjoyment – and as an add on to holiday spend – I am drawing again.
Commissions run from 100 to 150 pounds, so I don’t need many of those a month for the holiday fund.
I missed drawing – I lost it for years when I worked so much. I have now rekindled the love and simplicity of it, I am producing work along with writing and I’m really happy in what I do.
In turn I’m available for the kids almost always. Time – quality time is all I look for each day. Doing instead of having is life for me/us and I encourage the kids to live and love each day and do – do – do stuff and be happy – real happy.
We are not here long enough to work all the time and not actually live life.
Love to ya all Ian x