I have a post-it note on my microwave that reads, practice gratitude daily!! 🙂 (yes it even has the little smiley face). It is one of the first things I read when I start my day and often I read it several times a day. It is a constant reminder of how fortunate I am at this time in my life. Despite working in a job I’m not overly excited about, everything else is going well. I have good health, a network of friends that I’m working on becoming closer with, deeper family ties, financial security, and the gift of merely existing. Life is good.
Most of what I’m enjoying today is the result of some heavy financial lifting I did a few years ago. I’ve been thinking of how grateful I am to my former self and thought I would write him a letter letting him know how much I appreciate what he did and how the choices he made have allowed me to get closer and closer to my conception of the good life. What you read below is that letter.
Dear Mike of 2010,
Almost two and half years have passed since we last met. Back then you had this bold strategy of how you were going to leverage your new-found six-figure income into molding a better future for yourself. Paying off all of your debt, learning about investments, and building up a sizeable nest egg were the talk of the day. Honestly it sounded like pretty heady stuff back then and as ashamed as I am now to admit it I really didn’t believe you would make the changes you needed to accomplish the goals you had set. However you proved me wrong and from where I sit today I just want to say thank you for the changes you made and bold direction you took our life. You did well my friend…
Deciding not to spend your money back then on material items was such a huge change for you I almost didn’t realize it was the same man I had known for so many years! Remember the conversation we had at the mall in Saudi about all the new furniture you were going to get and the new car you “needed”? That is the Michael I knew and you can see why it was such a surprise to see you not buy the furniture and opt instead for that ’60s vintage rental furniture we kept for two years! Not only that you decided against the car and utilized the buses, taxis, or just walking to where you needed to go. You continued the trend of not owning a T.V. (which I still don’t by the way) and refrained from having a cell phone ( ok, I broke down and purchased one when I arrived back home, sorry). What is amazing is that you made these changes at a time when several months out of the year you were brining home five figures a month!! That is awesome man! I could not be more proud of what you did.
Life is going well for me theses days. There are several opportunities that are available now that never would have been an option if you had not made the choices you did. That is really why I’m writing, just to say thank you and let you know how deeply appreciative I am of the effort you put in back then. I know changing a lot of your behaviors was not easy and you did sacrifice a little to make it all work out but work out it did.
You would be happy to know I’ve followed in your foot steps. This year I finally sold that old truck and realized some impressive savings in fuel consumption in the first month with out it. I’ve manage to keep other expenses down as well, things like food, electricity, and cell phone plans that act as a drain on wealth building due to the cumulative effect those reoccurring expenses have on ones cash flow. I’m also hoping to close my first real estate investment towards the end of the month. It’s an exciting time my friend and I’m really hoping to give the Michael who enters his forties in a couple of years the financial peace you have given me today.
Thank you again for all you did.