I live in a wealthy neighborhood in Manhattan. But I’m by no means rich. I don’t own a place – I rent. My child attends a public school – a really good school but it’s free.
Today I was speaking with my daughter’s classmate’s mom. She was talking about how they spend summers at their summer home in Cape Cod and about how she wants to sign her daughter up for golf and tennis lessons in the summer. These are kindergarten kids that we’re talking about here. She wasn’t being a show -off or anything. It was just matter-of-fact because that’s what we as parents do – plan activities for our kids to give them the best tools for their lives. But given that this is Manhattan, of course these activities can get very expensive.
I rent – I can’t afford to buy my own place yet as I have hardly any savings leftover from the divorce. My daughter and I live in a “junior one bedroom” which is technically a studio apartment with a wall put up in the middle to make it look like a one bedroom apartment. My daughter goes to an after school program because I can’t afford New York City nannies. I work full time during the day in the office and when I come home, I start my second job as a mom. I could definitely use more sleep. So life is not perfect but I’m living well.
Because I’m living life according to my own terms.
Living well doesn’t mean you need to live in a fancy home and lead a luxury lifestyle. Living well means you live an authentic life according to what you want and not by somebody else’s expectations. It means that even though you may not have everything, you are content with what you have.
And this, my friends, is my goal for you this year. I want you to find the courage to get out of your bad situation and start living well, living authentically and doing life according to your own terms.
How do you do that?
1) Have a vision even if that vision scares you.
Maybe you are in a bad relationship and you really want to leave the relationship but you are scared of being alone. Don’t dwell on the negative. Focus on the positive – leaving a bad relationship now gives you an opportunity to be in a better one later on. Envision that and work towards it.
2) Decide what you can live without.
You really won’t be able to have everything. So decide what you can cull out of your life. For example, I didn’t need to have a huge house with a big backyard. Huge houses scare me. I’d rather be in the center of where everything is happening because it makes me feel less lonely and also increase the chances of me meeting new people.
3) Set milestones.
Rome wasn’t built in a day so you can’t realistically expect your life to turn around immediately either. Set some goals that extend out a couple of years. For example, your goal this year could be to get over a bad relationship and focus on healing. And next year your goal could be to get comfortable being single. And the year after to open yourself up to new relationships.
4) Back it up.
In case life doesn’t work out the way you want it to, or another curveball gets thrown your way, what are your alternatives? Could you delay your plan another year? Could you rope in some help from family?
You won’t know if it’ll work until you actually do it. Overcome the mental fear. Put the plan in motion and adjust accordingly. Believe in yourself.