Archive | November 2012

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

I know with the Thanksgiving holiday in the US that we’re all supposed to be thankful for something in our lives. I think most people are thankful everyday for something, usually something that doesn’t matter. I mean most of us are thankful for our families and friends, sometimes. However, most of the time all we do is complain and think of the issues we have with these people. Even when we get together for Thanksgiving all we do is complain and make fun of the people that we are with that day. Really, most of us look forward to Black Friday just to get away from the people that we should be thankful for.

Black Friday gives us the chance to save money which seems more important that being with the people that you should be thankful for. Listen, life is full of challenges, so why do we put ourselves through the Black Friday challenge? Because we want to save money! That is the priority for most of us at this time of year. Not always for others, but for ourselves as well. I think we want to be generous but we also want a good deal for ourselves. So we should be thankful for what we can get at a good price. Let’s face it, when we’re watching a large flat screen TV we are thankful! It’s something that we don’t take for granted, unless it doesn’t work. So, are you more thankful for a large TV than half of your relatives? I think at some point we could all rank the TV higher than some relatives that we have had issues.

So think about it, what are you really thankful for? Let’s face it, not all relatives are the gems of the earth so let’s put it all into perspective and just accept who we are, and who we would like to be. We want to be thankful for the people we like and the things we like. Let’s not feel we need to be thankful for every crazy person we know out there.

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Rough year:

Let me ask you something, did you ever have a rough, I mean terrible year? Let me tell you, at the time you don’t know how you will get through it but eventually you learn to laugh at it. Let me tell you my story.

I was a director for a company that did well until the DOT-COM bubble burst. I thought we didn’t have any major issues, however, we had a guy that was actually filtering money off into another account and had to account for his losses, so they started cutting employees instead of their salaries or being held accountable, and I was one of them. Man, rough time, I had a 3 hour drive home from headquarters where they laid me off, (I was in the corporate office when they told me), to think about all of this. The good news is I was only out of work for about 3 weeks, the bad news is that I had to take a 30% cut in pay, and I had to lose the management position and get back in the trenches, and I had a ton of bills.

About 2 months later I was getting suspicious at home with my wife, something was strange.
You see I was traveling for years and working long hours and didn’t notice anything until now. Since I started working normal hours I notice my wife, (now ex-wife), was never around, days or evenings. She had a part-time job and she wasn’t bringing in any more money. This was strange, but I soon found out why. She was having an affair with her boss. That explained a lot. We had 2 kids and now that I could take care of the kids she was out, which she probably was before but I didn’t notice. We could afford a babysitter then. I guess I was never there, suddenly I was but that didn’t change anything. She liked it better when I was gone. Man, what a shock to me. Looking back I should have been taking care of my home life as well as work. It was like being hit with q brick in the stomach, I was really devastated. How could this happen? Well it turns out she fell out of love with me, pretty convenient.

I used to work all the time and now that I worked a 50 hours week I noticed everything that was wrong. I was actually thinking we could work it out, that’s how dense I was! She had no desire to work anything out with me, over 10 years of marriage didn’t matter! She just wanted to move on. I realize now I should have seen it coming, we were not really best friends, more like partners. The kids were devastated but they adjusted very well. They were amazing!

Now, just to sound a little bitter, I always say she made a business decision. I just took a huge pay cut. I could not afford the house we lived in and she left me for her boss. He was a really nice guy, he also lost his marriage, and it didn’t seem to faze him. My ex-wife seemed to have it all planned out, really impressive if you think about it. He made more money but it didn’t seem to set him back much. This was crazy to me, but at the time I was so naive that I just didn’t know any better. My ex had no problem taking as much as she could, so much disappeared. I got cleaned out and then some. I also paid over half of my take home of my salary for child support. This was a hit for me especially since her new boyfriend made literally 7 times what I did! Now, don’t get me wrong, this guy also had to get out of his marriage with 2 kids of his own. So I am sure he paid major bucks for that.

Now think about what you make, then think about someone making 7 times what you make, now you understand that my ex made a perfectly logical business decision. Looking back, I get it, he worked more than I did, that was her excuse for leaving me, but found time for her in all of that. They are still together and I wish them the best, now that the payments to her are almost done. She is still coming after me for money but my children should be out of college soon so the divorce agreement should end soon. I was always amazed at how she never had enough money and kept coming after me for more, it was really strange. I can’t believe how much I paid out. I am very fortunate though, I was able to sacrifice so much and keep a house. I just didn’t  do much for years, no vacations, no eating out unless it was for work, not much to do on the weekends except watch TV and work. Not much of a life but now that it’s almost over, I think maybe I can enjoy life again.

So there you have it, looking back it’s sort of funny. I think it was probably a good thing that we split up, she probably would have killed me in my sleep. I look back and now I realize she was trying to get rid of me, I just refused to see the signs. I think she was saying anything about me behind my back to make me look bad hoping people would think I was the cause of the whole thing. It seemed to work, as I look back she got all of the friends. As it turns out they got tired of her, so they all moved on. I can laugh about it now, but at the time it just seemed like the snowball rolling down the hill was getting bigger and bigger with me in it, unbelievable!

Simplify your life!

I often hear people that say they want to simplify their lives. Most people find a way to live a simple life but they don’t work at it. They take things out of their lives and make it simple. These people really don’t talk about it, they just do it. I know some people that work 3 jobs, they just seem to be able to do it without thinking about it. On the other hand I know some people that are so busy that they never seem to get a chance to breathe.

I know in my life it comes in waves. When the kids were young we ran everywhere trying to get them places so they could do things which as a parent you think it will make them a better person, sports or hobbies, whatever. It runs all of you ragged. I think that we wanted to give them something special. When I look back we had good times but often it is more about being somewhere at a certain time, not about what you are going there to do.

Now, I am past all of that as my kids are older and on their own. I so miss it sometimes but it made my life so simple. I have more free time which I don’t always make use of. If you want free time, just make the time and it helps if you know what you want to do in that free time. I guess if you have a plan it really isn’t free time. I look at it as doing what you want to, not free time but me time. This is something that we all need. So try to take time throughout the week and do something you want to do. I don’t mean just watching TV, but do something. I will let you watch a movie on TV if you know what you plan to watch, that is something that you want to do. Channel surfing is a waste of time. Watching sports is OK, that is something most people plan to so. It can be a big deal.

So my point is: have some fun, enjoy your week. We all go crazy trying to work or do something for others that it is easy to forget what we need to have some sanity in our lives. Just take the time and live a little by relaxing a little. We all need to relax and get our brains back to normal.

Have fun!