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Rags to Riches

Typically when you hear this you think of people that went from having nothing to being wealthy and having everything. My story is quite different. I mentioned a lot of this in my first blog. I started my adulting in graphic design. I worked my way up the ladder to having my own business and clients. I was happy doing my own thing. Then the economy started to drop. Most of my clients dwindled, except for one. That one really wanted to hire me on full time, which I said to myself, I'd never do again. After declining many times, it became obvious it makes the most sense. So back to the corporate world, making money for someone else. But I'm not gonna lie, they paid me pretty well (as far as graphic design goes). I had great insurance, a 401K and stability. I ended up doing work for this company for 16 years. I lived alone in a 4000 sq ft house with a 22,000 gallon salt water pool, 3 car garage. I had my own little gym, a home office, huge kitchen, outside kitchen and a theater room. It was on 4 acres on a lake. I had wildlife in my yard every night and the sun set over the lake out my back window. It was awesome. I had

lots of toys. At one time or another I had a BMW roadster, a lifted monster truck, a boat, an RV, a dirt bike, a Harley and a custom chopper (above), and a couple customized lifted jeeps. I even had a powered paraglider. Think about it, I could easily navigate the roads, the woods, the waterways and the skies. Paradise right? It was pretty awesome. Along the way I started doing more and more photography, on my own and for the company. I started not liking graphic design so much and wanted to do more photography, but it was hard to really do with a 40+ hr/wk job and a huge house to take care of. I started to hate my job...the work, the commute, the hours, the deadlines and so on. It was so hard to travel, get things done like car work, or doctor's appointments. It was really taking a toll on me.

Then I met my person. She told me about how she used to make tons of money in real estate, but hated it. She was more into health, nutrition, enlightenment and yoga. She liked improving people's lives. She quit real estate and became a yoga instructor. She makes a lot less money, but she's much happier. A light went off. I can do that. I moved in with her, listed my house and sold pretty much everything I owned (I kept a couple toys :D). Once my house sold I quit my job and have dedicated my future to being out in nature and capturing it with photography. It's been about a year at the time of this blog and I don't regret any of it. Think about this change. I went from all of that above to living sharing a 1200 sq ft 1934 bungalow in a not so good neighborhood with a very small yard. I still have my Jeeps and my Harely, but everything else is gone. We don't have a dishwasher or a microwave. I kept one tv, but hardly ever turn it on. Gotta catch a movie and a football game now and then.

I'm not making near as much money, but I don't need near as much either. When you sell a huge house like that and all that other stuff, it saves you a lot more than a huge mortgage. I don't have to pay a landscaper any more. The insurance payments for all those vehicles and the house being gone saves a ton. The registrations for all those vehicles alone right on my birthday every year was stressful. I don't have to worry about maintaining the pool and the vehicles, the huge electric and water bills. I no longer have cable or Netflix.

I love what I do every day. I'm either traveling, out in nature taking pictures or indoors working on my photos and marketing plan. I have freedom to do what I want when I want. My stress levels have disappeared. I also kept my RV because I hope to some day soon travel the country and capturing it all. I posted this picture on facebook 8 years ago, not thinking much about it. Today I feel I'm living it to a tee. The moral of this story is basically what this simple sign says. Be happy. Only you have control of that. If you're stressed out, have no time on your hands, unhealthy, hate your job, take a look at your life. Are you doing it right? Too many things in your life can make your actual life poorer. Riches don't have to come in the form of money. I've learned simplicity is often the best wealth in life. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

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