Runaway Money

Growing up I saw how my mother didn’t get the opportunity to gain valuable skills because she was female. I saw how she got cheated out of her rightful divorce settlement by my father. None of it was her fault and yet it has been difficult to provide for her retirement.

I was naturally a very independent child and wanted to make sure I earned enough money to support myself no matter what. I was lucky enough to get an education and to create skills that I can use to generate income. I couldn’t wait to graduate and start earning a salary. I wanted to remain financially independent from my spouse, just in case. Maybe he’ll trade me in for a younger model and another family when I hit 45.

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This background caused me to be fairly wary of being fully dependent on my husband financially. I maintained my ‘runaway money’ in a savings account that was enough to buy me a plane ticket or to disappear with my kids should the need arise. I don’t like feeling trapped and I wanted to make sure I didn’t end up stranded and needing someone else to support me.

And now here I am without a trade or income and fully dependent on my husband. Early in our marriage he’d refer to ‘our money’ and I’d refer to ‘my money’. I was terrified of being dependent on someone who could take advantage of me. And now I’m dependent on someone who is generous and supportive. He has been exceedingly patient in waiting for me to recover and he has not placed additional stress on me to earn.

Luckily we are both savers so we will bounce back from this temporary set-back. And at least we had enough money to cover this rainy day. There are many people who don’t even have a month’s salary saved, let alone income for a few years of recovery. So we’ve done well to weather this storm. And I can’t wait to be fully entrenched in my new career, creating things that help people and making a difference in the world.

My book is taking much longer than planned to edit and release. But I have to hope that it’s going to be much improved than how it was a month ago. I’m embarking on my speaking opportunities and it feels like I’m putting in the legwork that will lead to something meaningful in time. It feels like fun and an adventure, not work. This makes me feel that I’m on the right track.

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At times it’s really daunting knowing that I have to start a new career, from scratch. It’s scary because I can’t go backwards to the safe, known professions I’ve held. I have to go forwards into the unknown, trusting that I can pull off this new profession. It’s also scary because new ventures don’t explode into success overnight – they take time. Which means more eating into savings. And I’m not so comfortable with that.

But I have to give it a try. And I’m glad I’ve been forced to accept the lesson of leaning on my husband and of sharing our money. I’m building a life and a job that I don’t want to run away from. And I’m trusting that it will all be okay in the end. Whatever I experience and learn on the way is part of my journey and my growth into the person I’ll be when I die. Let’s hope she’s filled with happy memories and with minimal regret.

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Kathy
I am a champion for living your passion. Writing is my passion, my destiny and my calling. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and a wife and live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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