A global pandemic provides no better time to stand back and take stock of your values and needs. During the jigsaw puzzles and gin swilling I’ve reassessed mine and learnt to appreciate what I have.
I’m one of those people who loves quotes. I always think I’d love to come up with some great ones of my own. Quotes that will stand the test of time and be used to help people in a hundred or a thousand years like Socrates, Aurelius or the lady who yelled out ‘NOT.HAPPY.JAN!!!!’ in the old Yellow Pages ad on TV.
So as I sit here on a cold, Autumn Sunday afternoon, next to our homemade fire drum, wrapped in a big scarf I wanted to share a quote which has resonated with me so much recently.
“The goal is not to get rich. The goal is to live rich.”
I came across it during one of my mindless scrolling episodes on Pinterest. It was located in a shining little pocket of love amongst the perfect hairstyles you can’t recreate yourself and the home workouts presented by stick insects you’re never going to do.
It called to me and it’s stuck with me ever since.
I searched for an author but couldn’t narrow it down to someone as exalted as Aristotle or a Kardashian…wait …what?
How does this quote apply to me?
Well let me put down my red wine, adjust my scarf a little and tell you!
I HAVE READJUSTED MY WORKING HOURS.
It’s taken me six years to establish my personal training business to a point of being able to work when it suits me. I worked years of early mornings, evenings, Saturdays and everything in between. I missed precious family time, school events and down time to accommodate clients preferred training times.
And that’s fine! It’s how you start in the industry and it’s how you build up a client base and reputation. It’s hard work and a huge commitment which, when it’s your own business, never leaves space in your mind for much else.
But having time in quarantine and a workload of pretty much nothingness and to be forced in to realising what matters to me, I’ve readjusted my sails!
I’m still working the same number of hours as a personal trainer but those hours have now been shifted to allow for more ‘me time’. The fact that my clients, surprisingly to me, happily accepted the changes and moved THEIR schedule to fit in training with me still made the transition easier.
My four or five weeks of painful deliberation was perhaps unnecessary! I didn’t want to upset anyone or lose face for being difficult.
So I’m incredibly grateful for the flexibility and support of my clients.
We will meet again soon-post coronavirus!
You will hear me say ‘nearly there’ and ‘ten seconds’ before you can shove that next Netflix snack in your mouth!
For being able to call clients ‘friends’ and work when I want to I AM RICH.
Extra time during my working week now allows me to spend more time volunteering. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with Therapeutic Dogs Services, and my most beautiful border collie Archie.
Together we visit patients in both mental health and palliative care sectors of the health system. With his official red bandana, one ear up and one still deciding, he spreads his unconditional love to those who need it.
He brings nothing but happiness to EVERYONE who meets him. Doctors, nurses, security staff, cleaning staff, patients and their families all benefit from Archie just being himself.
We have worked in palliative care wards and to be able to offer Archie as a welcome distraction from such dire realities, grieving, and acceptance of what the future holds is an absolute honour for me.
To be accepted into a room full of family as they spend their last precious days together is so special and dear to me. It brings me such joy to know Archie made a difference.
We are regulars in the mental health ward at the Royal Adelaide Hospital where societal ignorance towards mental illness and lack of government funding makes for a pretty low morale in the department.
Archie swaggers in and it is all OK. Even for ten minutes out of the day.
Many times we end up sitting in the corridors surrounded by staff patting and playing with Archie.
It has been said by doctors that what Archie can do with a patient in two minutes can take them two days to do as a doctor.
For the opportunity to see faces light up and smile I AM RICH.
LIFE WITH A HORSE.
When I was growing up most of my friends would spend their extra curricular time at ballet, dance, instrumental lessons, language lessons or club sports.
Not me. I rode horses.
I did it the expensive and competitive way too. Each weekend I would be competing at a show, riding in a hunt (no, there were no real foxes), at riding club or a cross country event. I loved it. I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up ANY other way and it was something I was actually really good at.
Alas, when I discovered boys, discos and ‘intercol’ sports my riding fell by the wayside and I gave it up. I always said to myself that when I was an adult I would take it all up again.
So about a year ago I figured I was adulting pretty well and I bought a horse!
From experience I would always suggest getting an expert to check a horse before purchase to see if there are any underlying issues- physical or emotional which might hinder your journey from there on in.
Me? No. I bought one off Gumtree!
COMPLETELY Gung ho of me but looking back now, I think I got really lucky.
‘Big Desi’ as I call him is a 16.3 hand 16 year old exracehorse. He was left in a scarce paddock for four years with no job to do, no exercise and no sense of who he was any more. We had a very shaky start.
Where I had no fear as a child, up the front of the hunting pack, I was now a radiographer who knows what injuries are caused by horses, motor bikes and bunk beds!
At one stage I was ready to sell him and quit. It was soul crushing to see the whites of his eyes as he reared and tore away from his post and it left me despondent to know I couldn’t even get a saddle on him. Something I simply took for granted as a kid.
But I persisted!
It must be a Capricorn thing.
In the process of researching natural horsemanship and reteaching myself horse skills I met some of the kindest, compassionate and patient people I know like Daniel Tessari Horse Reflections ( http://www.dthr.com.au/) and others with horses at the agistment property.
It was with their unlimited guidance and attention that I began to form a bond with Big Desi and I realised he was holding in fear and anxiety in his now new home.
I gradually unlearnt my English riding ways with their stringent rules and often impatient expectance and entered in to the emotional realm of natural horsemanship. And Desi ‘gets it’. Because well- he’s a horse!
I remember the day when Desi was playing around with his feed bin in his teeth and my friend Pam said
“See? He finally feels safe to be himself again. You’ve given him that.” .
Heart melting all over the place.
So where are we now?
Well Big Desi continues to teach me.
He teaches me patience and gratitude. He makes me realise that life is NOT a competition and we can’t compare to anyone else. We’ve all got our own story to tell and our own past. It isn’t until we have respect and trust in each other that we can move on with more together.
I look after him and I know now that he looks after me. As a character he’s ‘pretty chill’ and that grounds me every time I see him. I need that.
For the respect and love of a 600kg beautiful animal and the knowledge I’m gaining from amazing people I AM RICH.
Oh global pandemic! You’ve given me more time to write.
I’ve never been much of a writer and probably never will be.
I did ALL the sciences at school then got into the medical field and now make a living (well, school lunch money)in the fitness industry.
So where does blogging fit in?
It’s a bit of an outlet for me and I always feel more comfortable writing as opposed to talking. There must be some sort of creative side to my brain because this is where it ends up. Spewed out here in my blog.
It’s kind of a new baby for me and one I hope that in the long run will allow me to sit in Italy and train my brain with when I’m old and grey(er). If someone gets something out of it I’m happy. To those who DO like to read my blogs I thank you. You’re powering my ego and giving me a reason to keep going.
For the ability to make a difference and therapeutically spew words out I AM RICH.
Without the support and love from family and true friends I wouldn’t be where I am today.
In this world of ‘too much’ it’s hard to simply ‘be’ let alone ‘be yourself’.
Too much information, too much to buy, too much to be, too much to expect, too much to compare to.
‘My people’ keep me authentic and safe to be me.
Quarantine gives us time to notice who really counts in our lives.
Who do we miss seeing? Who cares about us? Who encourages us and accepts us in the good times and bad?
I know now.
Whether you’re one of my oldest and dearest, a newer acquaintance , one of the guys who gets my coffee on a Friday morning or even in touch on my socials, I thank you for being there. I feel you.
Once this whole quarantine thing is over I can’t wait to meet you for a coffee. I can’t wait to have a sparkling red with you at a pub. I can’t wait to play more board games with you. I can’t wait to go dancing after dinner with you. I can’t wait to go on road trips and go camping and I can’t wait to see the joeys we raised find their way. I can’t wait to GET to Italy like we’d planned. I can’t wait to sit and listen when you need me. I can’t wait to hear about your world and let you know you’ll be OK and I’m there for you.
For the love, support and kindness of my people I AM RICH.
I’m not earning millions.
I’m not a CEO, a CFO or a CMO working 25 hours a day and missing family time.
I’m not an influencer selling their soul and character to the Devil.
I’m not a celebrity whose private life becomes public.
I’m not so career minded that I failed to smell the roses ,walk the dog or watch my kids at sport.
But I AM living rich.
I’m rich for the genuine and honest connections I have with the people and experiences I have around me.
I’m rich for the ability to work my own hours with clients I call ‘friend’ and for my health because of the industry I’m in.
I’m rich for the safe home I live in with a family who supports me and loves me. And for all the laughing fits at the dinner table. And the debates and conversations that can go on for hours.
I’m rich for the sports and kids events in my life. It’s a gift to know they’ll remember me watching from the sidelines and clapping for their performance.
I’m rich for the privilege of volunteering with my most beautiful dog. To be a brief and important part of someone’s challenges or last days in the world.
I’m rich to have the trust and love of a horse and to know the people so openly willingly to help and teach me.
I’m rich to know everything will be OK. I have my people. I have someone to listen, someone to talk to. Or not. I have friends I can be comfortable with and lean on and them on me. I feel cared for and heard and understood.
I feel connected to those around me and the experiences we encounter. Like dancing to 80s music, sleeping in a swag, playing games and running for the cruise ship in the rain. I laugh and I cry and I wish moments would last just a little bit longer before I have to feel something different. But they don’t. The ‘present’ is forever changing and we need to move along with it.
For all the worldly possessions, the fancy clothes and the flashy cars and boats and for all the titles and high society fakeness and name dropping and judgement, I’m at a loss. But I don’t mind. I’m rich and I’m living rich.
I wish you wealth, health and happiness wherever you are.