My friend is 42-years old. She and her husband both work full-time. They have no children and they don't want any children. They recently paid off their beautiful home and are now preparing to purchase a second home in Central America. She is counting the days to her retirement that she has carefully planned and is prepared to execute in exactly 13 years.
My friend is abundantly happy with her life, which makes me abundantly happy for her.
As a couple, Charlie and I are not even close to achieving our maximum earning potential.
Sometimes, we fantasize about what it would be like to have a few significant figures more than we do in our bank account. But then we think about what we'd have to give up to get there...
We used to live a life with international vacations and convertible sports cars. Now, one of us works full-time, the other one stays home full-time and consults on a very part-time basis. We are DIYers. There is no home improvement job we haven't been willing to tackle because the alternative of bringing in professionals would cost the equivalent of a lot of Stride-Rite shoes.
Whereas in our pre-child years we would eat out at restaurants six nights a week, we very rarely eat out anymore. We haven't been to a movie in a theater in over eight months. More recently, we've begun to cut coupons because after seeing a television show where someone bought $5,70.00 worth of groceries for $290.00, we felt like excessive idiots for constantly paying full price for everything. Additionally, we're starting to hit off-season sales. Despite the fact that there are several inches of snow on the ground, I recently purchased brand new bathing suits for the children.
For 90% off.
Henry has been waking up and wandering in to our bedroom every night ... or rather, every morning at approximately 1:30 AM. When he wandered in last night, I didn't realize that he had whipped off his Pull-Up before he climbed in with me. Although, it did come to my attention at approximately 4:50 AM when I woke up dripping wet.
Three of our four children are sick with colds. And tonight, mere seconds before I walked in the door from a long day at work, William threw up. Charlie was in the middle of preparing dinner and had a frenzied look on his face. I dropped my computer bag, stripped off my coat, rolled up my sleeves and spent the next hour pouring warm water over my pale little boy as he sat in the bath. When he was thoroughly pruned, I took him out and put him in his pajamas. My husband rummaged through the garage until he located the rocking chair I used every single day when our children were babies. Once I had sufficiently wrapped my six-year-old in a blanket, I rocked him until he fell asleep.
As I rocked William, Carolyn crawled in to bed and talked to me about anything and everything. Just the sound of her sweet little voice was music to my ears. Charlie grabbed the camera and took a few pictures. I'm laughing in these shots because I had just asked my daughter what she thought would be a good gift for a birthday party we're planning to attend this weekend. The birthday girl, who is the daughter of my co-worker, will be three-years-old.
Very thoughtfully, Carolyn replied, "I think we should get her a real live puppy!"
Yes. I'm sure my daughter's co-worker would love that.
(My co-worker, probably not so much.)
I'm laughing because although one of our children disrupted our precious sleep by soaking our bed early this morning, and another of our children has a stomach bug that will most likely sweep through the entire family, and 13 years from now Charlie and I will hopefully be putting our four children through college so it's highly unlikely we'll be able to retire or buy a second home ANYWHERE ... I wouldn't trade my life for any other life in the world.
And the knowledge of that one simple fact makes me abundantly happy.