1. This Extraordinary Life Together
Updated: Oct 24, 2019
The first steps are the hardest. Where to begin telling a story when life does not present simple entries and exits into a long unbroken thread of living? The mind does not stop spooling, growing, changing, events come like mountains, are determined, climaxed, resolved and then the protagonist (or antagonist - we do not judge a subjects worthiness on goodness) continues to the next.
And so I sit with words in motion in my head, wild without the crafting into written form for six long months, a whole bale of tangled threads coiled inside me, each one unsorted, untold: tangled in my mind and inseparable from the fabric of my life, each one worthy of itself and integral to the whole.
This is a story about property, isn’t it? Or wealth, or financial freedom? So shouldn’t I start with the beginning of the property journey and how our lives have been changed by our educated investments? Shouldn’t I share detail on how much positive cash flow has been created and how much equity has been built to demonstrate our successes?
Well yes. And no. Because the numbers are not that important. Not really.
This is really a story about the side effects of wealth, that is, the lifestyle design that is the result of financial freedom. After all, what does one do with ones life when unburdened from the need to work a job? All those hours you would dedicate to making ends meet, building a career, working for money are suddenly unnecessary. And so all those pure ideals of your youth cram back into your mind and you start to wonder what your purpose in life is, what you want to be when you grow up. I find myself dreaming about how my ideas will change the world, with how I can make a difference.
Being financially free is like being a teenager again, but a teenager with means, and influence and life experience. It is intoxicating and intimidating.
Isabella and I and our last Perth summer
Be. Do. Have.
If you could have anything at all, what would you have? Or better yet, if you could BE whoever you wanted, who would you create yourself to BE, and what would you DO in your life?
The possibilities are limited only by your own mind.
I peel myself off the ceiling of the cafe where already my brain is spinning with excitement and possibility as I survey the landscape of my current day to day life. Coffee cooling rapidly on the table beside by computer, I have forgotten to drink it again in my passion for the words spilling from my brain and into my fingertips. No job. No lifestyle sacrifices. No compromising my attention to a young family. No pressure to be or do anything I don’t wholly want. Just daily balanced choices.
If not with property then where do I start the story today, the one that will build the foundations of the coming years, when I do not know what the coming years will hold? Is it the new life growing each day inside me, the second ‘surprise’ life that determined her own time of arrival. Yes her. We know, because I wanted to begin to get to know her before she arrives, to build a picture, to begin to share her story even before she arrives on the distinguished date of 29th February 2020, a leap year.
But perhaps it is not time to start with her. Maybe I tell stories of the gorgeous toddler that Isabella grows into daily. That today she wears knickers at day ‘school’ as she insists on calling her 2-day-a-week adventures at daycare, finally having decided that she wished to shed the nappies of her babyhood. She’s been capable of knowing her body since February when we had her fully toilet trained for about 4 weeks, and has since refused to use the toilet for reasons of her own.
Maybe I begin with our location, Raglan, in the winter rains of this windswept surf pummelled black beached town on the remote west coast of New Zealand. How we arrived here from Perth in February and instantly knew that this would become our town, our story. How most days I can hear Steve's deep resonant voice from the office: conversation rising and falling regarding New Zealand agriculture and technology as he works from home.
Wild West Coast sunset, Raglan, NZ
Or maybe I could start with myself, my mind becoming unfettered from the dogma of societal living, how I examine structural norms critically to find their validity, freeing myself from the need to behave and belong in a society just because ‘it’s the way things are’. That we set out to achieve financial freedom two years ago, and that we find ourselves so nearly there and realise that actually we are on a journey of emotional and spiritual freedom, not a financial journey at all.
What happens when one become financially free?
One realises they do not need to go to work, conform to norms, fit into society and then one realised that the very fabric of society is flawed and disadvantageous to the minds that live within it and follow its rules blindly. One realises, with financial freedom, that one can become a problem solver, entrepreneur, creator of solutions because one is no longer bogged down in the rat race, just spending most waking hours on the problem of survival and security and belonging. What would the world create if all its great minds were put to solving the challenges of this planet’s existence rather than obsessing about surviving the small minded unsavoury personalities of a competitive workplace where the recompense for all of your time and all of your brain is just money.
Money, so unworthy a subject for which to prostrate your creative self. And yet I’ve done it, year in year out, fettered my creativity to the wheel of hard work, buried my impulses as rash and emotional and irrelevant to my workplace. All that hard work and all that personal suppression for someone else's end game.
And so I find that here I am, financial freedom in sight and suddenly the largest, most urgent question arises in my heart for expression. What is my Purpose? Why am I here? What global problem am I here to find the solution to, to the betterment of the universe?
I don’t know the answer to this question yet, but I think this is my work for the coming years.
I have clues. They are clues of which direction to look to understand the questions. Once I have the questions it is a simple process of then finding the answer. One clue is creativity. Another clue is in speaking to motivate, affect positive change in others, inspire and grow. Another is love. The love between Stephen and I is powerful and significant; like every domestic relationship we rush and then stumble, draw close and then independently make choices that does not best serve the other, we manage communication flaws and misunderstandings and waxing and waning desire. We have a normal relationship, but underneath that there is a thread of purity, of soul, of meant-to-be-ness that is surely a clue. To optimise this is to put us on the path to our purpose, both individually and as a team.
Stephen and Isabella gather pipis, Raglan
But thats enough for a start. For a story I didn’t know how to begin I have introduced a number of threads that as yet need unravelled from each other and from the recesses of my unorganised mind. Or maybe they will stay intertwined in imitation of an existence, unrecognisable in isolation or singleness of purpose, just that big, messy tangle of humanity.