Living like the McCashes
We were tired of Keeping up with the Joneses, here is our story of how we learned and are still learning to Live like the McCashes.
Our story begins like so many others here in Canada, it may even sound familiar to your own life. Thankfully it doesn't stem from any tragic event, but just living a "normal" life.
3 years ago my husband and I were working the Monday to Friday 9-5 grind, amongst the rat race as some like to call it. We were making great money, and we had everything we ever dreamed of in life, the house, the cars, the "stuff", our kids wanting for nothing. Everything on the outside looked picture perfect, we were living the "All Canadian Dream". Behind the scenes though was a much different story.
At this time in our lives we were lucky enough to have saved up to go on a trip of a lifetime for our 10th anniversary. We headed to Italy and spend 12 magical days experiencing the culture, the food, the language and most of all the lifestyle...so different from our own and extremely eye opening. That trip literally changed our lives.
We returned home knowing that something needed to change because the stress in our lives was straining our health, our family and our marriage. At this time, that something was my husbands high paying, high stress, corporate job, that he absolutely despised. A few months after our return, he quit...yippee, with nothing to go to...shit! Over the next few months things got better. Our health and happiness got better, our outlook on life got better and I saw my husband smile again, enjoy our children again and return to the man I loved once again. It was wonderful to see.
A few months after that my husband was employed again and we returned to our routine, an all too familiar routine I now refer to as our "Keeping up the the Joneses'" phase.
Let me ask you this, "Who are the Joneses, and why do they get to set the standards for how the rest of us live our lives?"
Let me take you back a few years, to when I was growing up and explain a little about who I was then.
I grew up in a happy, loving home, where I was always encouraged to follow my dreams, but for some reason I felt the need to always fit in, go with the flow and make sure people liked me. I went to the right schools, picked the right job and did everything I could to make others happy...I was a people pleaser. By making others happy I thought it would make me happy, wasn't that how it was suppose to work? By doing what society told me to do to be successful, I would be successful, right? WRONG! As I got older I began to realize that making everyone else happy was in fact doing the opposite. I was miserable! I was stressed! I lost me.
From a young age I knew I was different, but I didn't have the confidence to actually BE different. Until finally one day I woke up in my mid 30's and decided it was time to start making changes, going against the norm, follow my heart and see where that would take me and my family. It was time to make ME happy, start taking care of ME and truly being ME.
My husband and I sat down and together we looked at who we were and where we were in life and who we wanted to become and where we wanted to go; as individuals, as a couple, as a family and as entrepreneurs. We started setting goals and making lists of what made us truly happy, and the list was quite short: family time, travel, experiencing life and making memories that would last a lifetime. No where on that list was any of the possessions we had spent the last 15 years accumulating, or working our asses off so that we could spend the weekends drinking our troubles away and recuperating before moving onto the next week...crazy, eh?
We knew we were tired of working for other people and making their dreams come true. We were smart enough and ambitious enough to do it for ourselves. So we began to do more of what we loved, we became our own bosses, started travelling and showing our two young boys that there was more to life than what our small town of Hespeler had to offer.
Over the last 18 months we have put plans into action to allow us to finally live life the way we want.
- I went back to school
- We began our own online business
- I quit my job last year to be home with the kids and run our business
- We sold most of our possessions, including our home and have stored the rest
- My husband recently quit his job
I am happy to say that starting in September we are taking a year off to reevaluate and reclaim our lives and travel around the world with our 2 sons. We are beginning this journey in Cozumel Mexico, where my parents have travelled to for almost 20 years and recently retired to. There is a sense of familiarity there, as we have been there before and it will give us a chance to find ourselves again, our family, our health and work on making our business a success.
After 3 months we will come home for Christmas, then venture off to New Zealand and Australia to see how the other side of the world lives. Then we will finish our adventure in Europe, and travel back to Italy, where this life changing transformation began.
Along the way we plan to document our travels and who knows maybe even write a book.
Many people ask if we are crazy or scared to leave everything and everyone we know. Of course there have been moments of fear, stress and waking in the middle of the night thinking "what are we doing?", I would be lying if I said there weren't. Over the last few months though, the periods of fear have switched from "what are we doing?" to "what would have happened if we didn't?". Where was our life going if we had just stayed on the same path, how would we have ended up? That's a very scary thought.
What I have learned along the way
I have spent too many years putting on a show for others, trying to prove how successful we are, how much money we make, how much stuff we have. What I now see is that even with less money, less stuff, and less success as gauged by others I can still be happy, and in fact am happier, healthier and more in love with myself, my family and my life than ever before.
Instead of focusing on money, stuff and success, we have begun to focus on health, happiness and balance. Do we still have stress, financial obligations and responsibility? Of course, we are raising 2 preteen sons. We have just chosen to stop Keeping up with the Joneses and start Living like the McCashes!! So far it feels amazing!!!
We have lost a few friends along the way, those who can't seem to understand what we are doing, why we are doing it or don't even want to try. Projecting their fear onto us. On the other side though we have people tell us regularly how brave we are, how amazing it sounds and how they wish they could do it...I'm here to tell everyone, YOU CAN!!!
Top 5 Regrets of the Dying
A few months ago I read an inspirational book, that helped put it all into perspective for me. The "Top 5 Regrets of the Dying" by Bronnie Ware. Bronnie spent many years working as a palliative care giver in Australia, to some very wealthy and "successful" people. As she lovingly cared for them in their dying moments they began to confide their deepest regrets to her. Bronnie noticed a theme among them and shared them in this beautifully written book. This book actually confirmed what one of my biggest fears in life had been, if I die tomorrow or in 50 years I don't want to be laying on my death bed with regrets, especially when I can do something to change them now.
Here are the top 5 regrets, maybe a few will resonate with you:
I want to live life being true to me, realizing my highest potential, and having begun this process over the last 18 months it has given me more confidence than I could have ever imagined and opened more doors than I thought possible. I want to show my boys that life can be anything they want if they just have the courage to DREAM BIG and not let fear or society tell them how to live. If I can encourage and inspire just one person to follow their dreams and live their best life, than I will have been successful in my quest. By being truly happy and at peace with where I am at in life now, I can take joy in making others healthier and happier. You may not need to sell all your belongings and travel around the world to do this, but whatever it is remember :
"You are never to old to set another goal or dream another dream!" ~ C.S. Lewis
Movie Trailer - Keeping up with the Joneses